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|4th Quarter 1998
Street, NW Suite 700 Washington. DC 20005
Over the past year, the DC Appleseed Center has steadily increased and improved its program work. With new staff helping to coordinate a greater amount of pro bono talent, and several new board members providing organizational leadership, DC Appleseed is poised to continue making a positive difference in the District over the years to come.
DC Appleseed's structure of utilizing volunteer project teams to address systemic problems enables the organization to tackle issues in several important areas simultaneously. As detailed below, DC Appleseed's current projects address fundamental areas of public concern, including:
DC Appleseed will continue to work on these projects and will take on others in the coming year.
DC Appleseed is wrapping up over a year of research on the operations of the D.C. Council. The Center has focused on four areas: hearings, legislation, staffing, and public information. DC Appleseed's research has included: (1) gathering comprehensive information from legislatures in 11 cities; (2) interviewing six Council members (and inviting each councilmember to be interviewed), (3) interviewing 17 individuals expert in D.C. Council operations, including several former council staff members; (4) convening a focus group of "average" citizens who have appeared before the Council to discuss their experiences; and (5) conducting in-depth research into the Council's operations and rules. DC Appleseed will release its report recommending specific reforms to the Council in early 1999.
DC Appleseed recently began a project aimed at improving governance of the District's Public School System. Because the Control Board is expected to return the schools to local control over the next two years, the District must consider how to improve its system of school governance, which in the past has failed to promote sound education for the District's children. A DC Appleseed task force is (1) examining and will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of forms of school governance utilized by other jurisdictions in the country, and (2) researching the specific problems with the District's school governance system. In 1999, DC Appleseed will publish a report recommending reforms for the District's school governance system that will foster the best classroom education possible.
In April 1998, DC Appleseed released a report which documents that despite being the seat of government the District lost 12% of its federal jobs since 1980. Federal jobs represent the hub of the District's economy, yet the District has no say in agency location decisions. To resolve this problem, the Center recommends the creation of new federal requirements to ensure that decisions to relocate federal agencies or offices out of the District are not made without a full and objective weighing of the potential effects upon the District's economy. DC Appleseed has begun its advocacy work on this issue, meeting with the National Capital Planning Commission, members of the White House Task Force on the District, and other officials to discuss adoption of either legislation or an Executive Order.
DC Appleseed is completing research on a project aimed at protecting the Anacostia River and other bodies of water in the District by helping to improve the stormwater program. Specifically, DC Appleseed is preparing detailed recommendations regarding how the District should comply with federal stormwater requirements. In addition to the environmental benefits that will derive from improved stormwater management, the District must devise a sound stormwater program in order to submit its stormwater permit application (which is now 6 years overdue) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DC Appleseed's recommendations will focus on two central issues that must be resolved in 1999; which D.C. agency should be in charge of the stormwater management program and how it should be funded.
In early 1998, DC Appleseed recommended that the District's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) be removed from the Department of Health. Because the OCME carries out criminal justice and public health functions, the Center recommended that it be placed as it is in other jurisdictions under an independent authority consisting of representatives from agencies with related responsibilities. Response to these recommendations has been positive. Chief Management Officer Camille Barnett has removed the OCME from the Department of Health and established an advisory commission that includes representatives from virtually all of the organizations suggested in DC Appleseed's report. The Center continues to work toward the transformation of the commission from an advisory to a governing body.
The DC Appleseed Center appreciates the substantial grants made by:
Only through their support and that of individual donors can DC Appleseed continue its work.
DC Appleseed also thanks the contributors who made our annual event on October 1, 1998, so successful, including:
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