Today, Councilmember Robert White, along with 10 of his Council colleagues, sent a letter to Mayor Bowser expressing concern with elevated lead levels in District of Columbia public playgrounds. The Councilmembers have asked the Mayor to accelerate the final report on lead testing results, ensure that the report is released publicly, ensure that Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) playgrounds are also tested, and develop a solution that ensures the District is using the safest and most durable materials for playgrounds.
Councilmember Robert White today said that oversight, transparency, and diversity on the WMATA board are needed in order to improve the relationship between Metro Transit Police and communities of color. White, Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, which has oversight over WMATA, and Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, held a joint hearing on Tuesday, November 12 th on how the Metro Transit Police Department’s (MTPD) policing practices impact communities of color. Councilmember White called for this oversight hearing following a June 22 nd incident where MTPD officers allegedly handcuffed and pinned down a 13-year-old DC student and tased a graduate student who attempted to intervene.
Many senior citizens fear the rising housing costs will make it almost impossible for them to stay in the District. Those on fixed incomes often do not have enough money to cover increasing costs of rent, medication, utilities, and groceries, so I introduced The Golden Girls Bill .
The month ahead will be busy and promising as Council committees prepare for hearings on two of my bills.
Just four months ago, we stood on the steps of the Wilson Building to announce the introduction of Restore the Vote Amendment , supported by all members of the DC Council, the Mayor, and the Attorney General.
Just four months ago, we stood on the steps of the Wilson Building to announce the introduction of Restore the Vote Amendment , supported by all members of the DC Council, the Mayor, and the Attorney General. The bill will re-establish the right to vote for District residents who are incarcerated with felonies.
Last week, my Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) colleagues and I passed a resolution committing to add 320,000 new housing units to the region by 2030, and making the majority of them affordable to low and moderate-income residents. We will work across jurisdictions and with nonprofits and the private sector to make this happen. The Urban Institute recently released a study indicating that, if we do not act urgently on housing, nearly 220,000 more families could be priced out of our region. The cost of inaction is too high, so I am proud of this incredible milestone.
At-Large Councilmember Robert White’s Statement on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Oversight
In this week’s legislative session, the DC Council voted to reorganize the Committee on Finance and Revenue and to place the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) under the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, which I chair. With this reorganization, my committee will have an opportunity to continue performing strong oversight and maintaining our focus on safety, accountability, transparency, efficiency, and equity for District residents.
I started the month of July by writing a second letter to the Board of Directors for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) requesting for a public hearing to discuss the policing of African-American children. I wrote the letter after viewing a video of Metro Transit Police officers acting inappropriately and violently toward a group of African-American children and another African-American. As Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, WMATA is now under my purview, and I am planning to hold hearings on this and other WMATA issues when the Council returns from recess. To read my letters in their entirety click here and here .
This is an urgent matter to both improve public safety and protect the rights of our children