The Insider: February 15, 2013

The Insider

February 15, 2013


Mayor Gray Proposes $100 Million Investment to Build and Preserve 10,000 Affordable Housing Units

Taking center stage at the State of the District address at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, Mayor Gray proposed a major investment of $100 million of the District’s “prosperity dividend” – expected additional Fiscal Year 2013 revenue – to build and preserve 10,000 units of affordable housing.
“Since coming into office, my administration has completed the construction of nearly 1,500 units of affordable housing and broken ground on an additional 1,700 units. Last September, I announced $35 million in financing to create and preserve additional affordable housing. But we have to do more. And that’s why tonight I’m proposing a major affordable-housing initiative that will invest $100 million in building and preserving 10,000 units of affordable housing. This investment, on top of our existing and other planned affordable housing investments, will go a long way towards ensuring we remain the type of compassionate, inclusive city we want to be.”

In his address, Mayor Gray also announced his intent to provide raises to District employees who have gone years without an increase – some as many as seven years – as well as create the One City Fund, a $15 million investment fund that will allow non-profits to compete openly and transparently for one-year grants of up to $100,000 to help advance key city goals. Additionally, the Mayor announced that he will work with his Education Cabinet to articulate a clear education vision for the District while also tackling procurement reform to streamline the way the District buys goods and services.

Read the full text of the Mayor’s speech here or watch it here.

Mayor Gray Breaks Ground on The SeVerna on K; District Partners with Local Developers to Build Affordable Housing in Ward 6

Mayor Gray celebrated the groundbreaking of The SeVerna on K – a residential housing development that will provide affordable rental housing as part of the Northwest One New Communities Initiative. The development will further the District’s economic-development efforts in Ward 6, and it follows other recent improvements to the neighborhood – such as the development of The SeVerna (Phase I) and the ongoing construction of 2M Street.

“As I said earlier this month in my State of the District Address, one of my top priorities is providing affordable housing to ensure that every resident in the District of Columbia has a safe, clean and reasonably priced place to live,” said Mayor Gray. “This latest part of the Northwest One New Communities Initiative underscores the District government’s commitment to improving the quality of life, the availability of housing and the convenience of amenities here in Ward 6 and across all eight of our wards.” Read more.


Mayor Gray Launches Business Regulatory Reform Task Force; Will Work to Make DC the Most Business-Friendly City in the Country

Mayor Gray swore in members of the new Business Regulatory Reform Task Force at Ward 5’s DC Brau Brewing Company, a local manufacturing startup. Making the District the most business-friendly city in the nation is one of six visions in the Mayor’s recently released Five-Year Economic Development Strategy.

Mayor Gray reiterated this commitment to the local business community when, earlier this week at his State of the District address, he announced that he would form a regulatory task force by Mayor’s Order to develop strategies to streamline the regulatory process. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Director Nicholas Majett and David Goldblatt, Principal of the Goldblatt Group PLLC., have been selected to co-chair the task force. The task force includes members from seven economic-growth sectors and four business associations including representatives from the DC Chamber of Commerce, the DC Building Industry Association, and Uber DC.

“I created this task force to help our business community respond to a changing marketplace and evolving regulatory landscape,” said Mayor Gray. “I believe DC can be the most business-friendly city in the country. I am mindful that, in the 21st century, regulation plays a very important role – and the District is right to be proud of our progressive rules protecting workers, consumers and the environment. But we have to make sure that we regulate in a responsible manner that also supports the growth of local business. This task force will ensure that we get things right.” Read more.



Mayor Gray and Google Announce Free Websites for D.C. Small Businesses

With several hundred businesses in attendance, Google launched its Washington, D.C.  Get Your Business Online on February 12th at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Google worked with local partners, including the District’s Department of Small and Local Business Development to design the program, which will help drive economic growth by giving District businesses the tools and resources to establish a website, find new customers, and grow their business. 

Get Your Business Online is an easy and fast way for D.C. area businesses to build an online presence. For the next year, participating D.C. businesses can go to to get a free website as well as free tools, training and resources to help their business succeed online. Google is partnering with Intuit to provide its popular Intuit Websites offerings for free including an easy-to-build website, a customized domain name and web-hosting for one year.

“My vision for a new economy in the District of Columbia includes resilient, diversified businesses that anchor our communities and create good, high-paying jobs for our residents,” said Mayor Gray.  “I am thrilled to partner with Google to help District small businesses harness the power of the internet to launch and grow their businesses.” Learn more about the program here

District’s Central Detention Facility Awarded Full Accreditation by the American Correctional Association


Mayor Gray and DC Department of Corrections Director Thomas N. Faust announced that the American Correctional Association's (ACA) National Commission on Standards and Accreditation awarded full accreditation to the District’s Central Detention Facility, located in Southeast Washington. The ACA serves all disciplines within the corrections profession and establishes standards for the safe and effective operation of state, county, federal and private correctional facilities.

“The DC Jail's accreditation is an especially noteworthy milestone given that, across the country, only 7 percent of more than 3,300 local jail facilities have been nationally accredited,” noted Mayor Gray. “It takes a strong and consistent commitment to excellence for jurisdictions to operate and maintain facilities in compliance with the ACA's standards. Safety and security are paramount to the mission of our correctional facilities, and we are dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of offenders in the District’s custody.” Read more.


Mayor Gray Helps Launch 1776 Tech Accelerator; District Takes Significant Step on Path to Become the East Coast’s Premier Tech Hub

Following up on his announcement in the State of the District Address last week, Mayor Gray recently visited 1776, a new initiative designed to attract and accelerate technology startups in the heart of D.C. Mayor Gray also announced a $200,000 District grant that helped launch the 1776 “campus” located just blocks from the White House on 15th Street, NW.

1776 aligns directly with Mayor Gray’s recently released Five-Year Economic Development Strategy, which highlights technology entrepreneurship as a key to the city’s economic diversification. Leaders of 1776 have partnered with the city to create a space for convening and collaboration for the District’s startup ecosystem. In addition, 1776 will provide training for unemployed District residents, work with incubators in underserved areas and provide quarterly tours for D.C. youth to expose them to tech careers.

“I am proud for the District to support and invest in 1776, which will catalyze our efforts to diversify our economy and ready our residents for emerging career paths,” said Mayor Gray. “The commitment of such illustrious local, national, and international stakeholders to this project demonstrates that the District is a vibrant hub of innovation that welcomes entrepreneurs who want to change the world.” Read more.

Mayor Gray Announces Continued Increase in Funding for Public Education in District

Mayor Gray and Interim Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Leonard announced that Mayor Gray’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget would again increase per-student funding for public education. In the budget, the school-based allocations for DC Public Schools (DCPS) and DC Public Charter Schools (PCS) campuses will be predicated on a two-percent increase in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF), the mechanism by which the District funds both DCPS and PCS. With this critical investment, the UPSFF will increase from $9,124 to $9,306.

“As I said in my State of the District Address last week, we must continue to invest in the future not only of our children, but also the District’s economy,” Mayor Gray said. “This funding will help undergird our efforts to continue improving our public schools and preparing our residents to compete in the emerging economy.” Read more.

Mayor Gray Announces Partnership with Union Kitchen to Boost Employment by Training Food-Industry Entrepreneurs

Union Kitchen

Mayor Gray, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins, and the Department of Employment Services Director Lisa Mallory launched a partnership with Union Kitchen, the city’s first culinary incubator, to train District residents to work in commercial kitchens and open their own businesses.

“As I said last week in my State of the District Address, one of my top priorities is using every means available to us to grow and diversify the District’s economy and ensure that every resident who wants a job has one,” said Mayor Gray. “This culinary-incubation partnership is a great example of that priority in action. This unique partnership will create not only jobs, but also job creators in the District of Columbia by providing residents with the skills they need not only to work in the food-service industry, but also to start their own restaurants and catering businesses.” Read more.

Mayor Gray Announces Bill to Implement District’s Move to Elected Attorney General in 201

Mayor Gray and Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan announced proposed legislation to help implement the voters’ choice – made in 2010 – to give the District an elected Attorney General starting in 2015. Then the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will become fully independent of mayoral control – and the legislation proposed today would help effectuate that change.

“The District’s voters made clear in 2010 that they want a fully independent Attorney General, and this legislation is a crucial element in ensuring that the voters’ will is carried out,” Mayor Gray said. Read more

Grade DC Government


Mayor Gray Announces January Agency Grades; Program Expands

Mayor Gray has released the January grades for the District’s program. At his State of the District Address on February 5th, the Mayor announced that five additional District agencies have joined the program. The agencies are the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, the Department of Employment Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Small and Local Business Development, and the Office of the State Superintendent for Education.

The January grades for the pilot program agencies range from an A-plus (FEMS) to C (DPW). The Office on Aging (DCOA) logged its fourth straight A this month. Read more.