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City-Wide Strategic Plan
November 1999




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Building and Sustaining Health Neighborhoods

Strengtening Families
Safe Passages: Investing in Children and Youth Making Government Work Economic Development
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Making the Vision a Reality: The City Wide Strategic Plan — final version of this paper, released on April 20, 2000, in PDF format


November 18, 1999

Dear Citizen,

I want to personally thank you for joining in the Neighborhood Action initiative. This initiative, which begins at the Citizen Summit on November 18 and 20, will continue well into the future. Neighborhood Action will change the very way that government and citizens work together to define the future of our city. In addition, this effort will include our friends in the non-profit, private, and faith communities, as well as our surrounding jurisdictions

Since becoming your Mayor, I have heard from citizens throughout the District that there are six major priorities you want served. For several months, the senior officials of your government have been working hard to draft specific goals that will serve those priorities. At the Citizens Summit you will review our ideas in the form of a draft summary of the City-Wide Strategic Plan. A more detailed version of that plan is included in this booklet.

This draft plan is not a finished product, it is only a beginning. We want to hear your ideas and your concerns, for your neighborhood and for the city as a whole. Are we focused on the right things? Are we overlooking anything essential? How can we all work together to maximize our success? These questions will all be addressed at the Citizen Summit.

After the Summit, we will use citizen input as a guide to complete the strategic plan and to define ambitious and measurable targets that we will achieve. Then, we will continue engaging you to help achieve some of these results. Next year, and each year thereafter, we ll ask you to help us review our success and see what else remains to be done.

Once again, I thank you for joining in Neighborhood Action, and I look forward to working with you to create a greater District of Columbia.

Yours truly,
Anthony A. Williams

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Coming Together, Working Together, Succeeding Together

On November 18th and 20th, concerned citizens from across the city will come together to develop a City-Wide Strategic Plan. This plan will define how we will work together to enhance the quality of life for all residents, businesses, and visitors in our many neighborhoods. In addition, it will determine what role we each need to play in order to realize our shared vision.

This is not a pie-in-the-sky approach. This is not a "feel good" exercise. This is a chance for people to define their priorities for their neighborhoods and city. These priorities will then be built into specific action plans that will drive the future operations of the District government.

What exactly does that mean? It means that the priorities identified by citizens will shape:

  • The operations of each District agency
  • The Mayor's budget proposal
  • The performance contracts of government employees
  • The roles that other partners can play

In other words, this strategic plan won't be just another report. It will become the blueprint for how the government will spend its resources, and how the government and its employees will be evaluated. And as we all know, those two factors are the key to what gets done in government.

The Process

When Anthony Williams was elected Mayor, he promised to bring good government back to the District. That meant change on two tracks:

  • Short term - Rapid, visible improvements in the quality of services would begin within six months.
  • Long term - Over several years, government agencies will reform itself and cooperate with other sectors to achieve large scale, long lasting results.

The Mayor has already produced results on the first track. Since he took office, visible improvements have been made around the city. The following list provides a sample of short-term accomplishments achieved since January:

  • Launched open-air drug market abatement for six sites
  • Removed almost 3,000 firearms from the streets through a gun buyback program
  • Reassigned 150 detectives from headquarters to neighborhood police districts to more effectively solve crimes in the community
  • Established 727-1000, a single number for residents to call with questions or service requests
  • Reduced waiting time for electrical inspections to 48 hours
  • Extended business hours on Wednesdays until 8:00 p.m. for the Departments of Human Services, Employment Services, Motor Vehicles, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and Selected Public Libraries
  • Reopened the Thomas Circle underpass
  • Installed and began utilizing drop boxes for vehicle registration renewals and surrendering of old plates
  • Opened a bilingual satellite career center at the Latin American Youth Center
  • Provided vocational and undergraduate education to qualified welfare-to-work recipients
  • Arranged 6,500 private and public sector jobs for the District's youth summerworks program
  • Opened thirteen neighborhood learning centers for after-school homework and computer assistance
  • Renovated five ball fields
  • Opened all city pools on-time according to published schedule
  • Increased of food safety inspections and increase of compliance rate for food safety inspections by 40%
  • Fed over 10,000 children and teens over the summer through feeding programs at neighborhood recreation centers
  • Established a 24/7 communications center at the Medical Examiners office as a point of contact for police, funeral directors, and citizens in need of information.
  • Assigned officers to key intersections throughout the city to improve traffic flow during rush hours
  • Broke ground for the construction of a new Seniors Wellness Center

These are just a few of the short-term accomplishments that demonstrate a new level of commitment and ability to revitalize the District.

Neighborhood Action will enable the city to achieve long-term results. This process began in 1998 when Anthony Williams traveled across the city, listening to the concerns of residents and business people, congregations and activists, associations and District employees. In this dialogue, six key priorities emerged for the District:

  • Building and sustaining healthy neighborhoods
  • Strengthening families
  • Investing in children and youth
  • Making government work
  • Economic development
  • Unity of purpose and democracy

In office, Mayor Williams made it clear that the priorities of the government must mirror the priorities of the public. To focus the government on these priorities, a comprehensive strategic planning process began in July. A goal team was formed for each priority, and agency directors were assigned to work together in goal teams where their agencies would have the greatest impact. In many cases, one agency director provided input to multiple goal teams. These goal teams included the agency directors from the following agencies:

City-Wide Strategic Plan
Government Agency Goal Teams

Building healthy neighborhoods
  • Metropolitan Police
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • Recreation and Parks
  • Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
  • Public Works
  • Clean City Coordinator
  • Public Schools and Charter Schools
  • University of the District of Columbia
Strengthening families
  • Human Services
  • Health
  • Employment Services
  • Public Schools and Charter Schools
  • University of the District of Columbia

Children and youth investment

  • Public Schools and Charter Schools
  • Human Services
  • Health
  • Recreation and Parks
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Libraries
Making government work
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Technology
  • Procurement
  • Finance
  • Property Management
Economic development
  • Planning
  • Economic Development
  • Housing and Community Development
  • Public Housing Authority
  • Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Unity of purpose
  • Intergovernmental Relations Communications
  • City Administrator
  • East of the River Coordinator
  • Cable Television
  • Technology
  • University of the District of Columbia

To begin, all agency directors met together to define the broad outlines of each plan. Then they broke up into their goal teams to focus their full attention on specific action plans. As these teams began drafting their plans, they had to keep several things in mind:

  • Learn from the past. Hundreds of tasks forces and groups have produced studies and plans for how the government should serve the public. These studies were reviewed so the plan could capitalize on the best ideas and incorporate the diverse views and concerns of people across our city. In addition, leadership institutes were held to obtain input and feedback.
  • Collaborate across agencies. Neighborhood needs don't fit into neatly defined agency purviews. A block that is struggling needs attention not just from the police, but from the police working with cleaning crews and the local school. For this reason, goal teams brought together multiple agency directors to coordinate resources across agency lines, and tackle complex problems with comprehensive solutions.
  • Set the bar high. Although many negative perceptions have formed about our neighborhoods and our government, we must not simply strive to be adequate, we must strive to be first-rate. Our city and our citizens deserve no less.
  • Partner with the community. People in the community know what they need, and many have empowered themselves to begin achieving it. What we now need to do is create a partnership between the government and citizens, businesses and churches, not-for-profits and others to agree on specific goals so that we can join forces and focus our joint resources effectively.

With these three directives as a guide, each goal team drafted an action plan to achieve their strategic priorities. The next step is to further engage the public to mold, shape, and focus this plan.

The Citizen Summit

The Citizen Summit will be an unprecedented coming together of the District of Columbia that will not be the traditional town meeting. The purpose of the Summit will be to convene the city as a whole to consider the future of the city and its neighborhoods, including businesses, schools, service organizations and citizens. Talk from the stage will be at a minimum. The focus will be on citizens themselves talking together about their ideas, hopes and concerns to move the city forward.

Seated at round tables of ten people, citizens from all walks of life and all sections of the city will fill the Convention Center hall. Everyone will participate in the dialogue as equals and neighbors. At the summit. everyone will be an expert on their own ideas and hopes for their neighborhood. The Mayor will join in by presenting the city-wide goals drafted by his cabinet agency directors for further development by the Citizen Summit.

To ensure universal participation, everyone will have an electric keypad, which looks like a TV remote control. At every stage of the work, each person will have the opportunity to register their personal opinions, which will be recorded and displayed on large screens in the meeting hall. Networked computers at every table will enable us to collect and organize all of the input that is generated during each table's discussion.

Cable television will take the Summit to the whole city so that any citizen can send opinions and ideas to the Summit. Newspaper surveys, call-in phone lines and the Neighborhood Action web site will allow anyone to join the Summit discussions.

The Summit will be a beginning not an end. It will begin an annual opportunity for citizen comment on the city budget, it will set the stage for neighborhood-based action planning and project development, and it will create a new level of partnership and cooperation between city government and citizens. The Summit will end with everyone organized into neighborhood work groups that will help carry the forum results to their next steps.

Feedback from the day-long strategic planning session will be incorporated into the final City' Wide Strategic Plan. The schedule for the next steps after the Summit is:

  • December, 1999- Mayor's cabinet incorporates citizen input into the City-Wide Strategic Plan
  • January to March, 1999 - Reconvene Summit participants to refocus on City- Wide Strategic Plan and Mayor's FY 2001 budget.
  • March, 2000 - Mayor submits his budget request to the Council to fund the FY 2001 component of the City-Wide Strategic Plan
  • April to November, 1999 - Planning Office provides technical assistance to citizen groups developing specific plans for their neighborhoods
  • July, 2000 - First semi-annual Neighborhood Action Status Report is released to the public
  • October, 2000 - New fiscal year begins and additional funding for implementation of the City-Wide Strategic Plan becomes available

The first building block of the City-Wide Strategic Plan is the set of draft plans presented in this booklet. The following section provides an overview of how these components fit together to form a comprehensive plan.

Strategic Plan Framework

The six draft action plans presented in the following sections fall into two main categories. The first three reflect the three critical levels at which our city requires investment: neighborhoods, families, and children. The second reflects the three levels at which resources must be developed and coordinated: the District government, the District economy, and the District's overall network of partners. The discussion below summarizes each action plan and how it fits together as part of an integrated City-Wide Strategic Plan.

Levels of neighborhood investment. To begin a citywide reform process, one must understand the three layers at which local development takes place: neighborhoods, families, and children:

  • Neighborhoods. Both geographically and socially, neighborhoods are the building blocks that define a city. Therefore, the first layer of development is the physical environment that composes a community. To be healthy, neighborhoods must provide physical safety from crime and violence, quality infrastructure such as clean streets, and healthy facilities such as parks and housing. These needs are addressed in the first action plan, Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods.
  • Families. Just as neighborhoods are the key building block of a city, families are the key building block of a neighborhood. Strong families create healthy communities where neighbors know and trust each other, and where people work together toward common goals. In order to recover and maintain their strength, our families need access to good jobs, continuing education, health care, and housing. These needs are addressed in the second action plan, Strengthening Families.
  • Children and Youth. The true heart of our neighborhoods and our families lies with our young people. Not only are children our most vulnerable citizens, they will determine the future of our city, our nation, and the world. For these reasons, we must focus our resources on serving their needs first. The third action plan, Safe Passages: Investing in Children and Youth defines the District's approach for doing so.

Having defined the levels at which neighborhoods need investment, the City-Wide Strategic Plan then addresses the other pieces of the puzzle - the levels at which resources must be leveraged. The following section discusses this component and the corresponding strategic initiatives.

Levels for coordinating resources. As with the targets for investment, the resources must be coordinated at three levels: the District government, the District economy, and the District's partnership with citizens and community groups:

  • District Government. Although the government cannot single-handedly cure our neighborhoods' ills, it certainly plays a pivotal role, given the wealth of resources at its disposal. To serve our communities effectively, the District government must operate efficiently, with clear organization and strategic focus. The fourth action plan, Making Government Work, presents the critical steps toward doing so.
  • District Economy. Government must do its job and do it well, but ultimately we must expand the District economy to provide quality jobs, affordable housing, and vibrant cultural amenities for our citizens. The fifth action plan, Economic Development, sets a course for expanding our economy to this end.
  • District Partnerships. As a final, unifying point, we must acknowledge that the District be reformed only through close collaboration between citizens and their government. The sixth and final action plan, Unity of Purpose, defines a strategic direction for strengthening this partnership going forward.

Taken together, these six draft plans identify the targets and the resources for improving the District's neighborhoods. These plans are not perfect, and they.: are not a final product. They represent the thinking to date of a new administration, and must now benefit from a new round of input and feedback from citizens.

Plase read the following strategic action plans and let your voice be heard at the Citizens Summit on November 18th and 20th, and throughout the Neighborhood Action process.

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Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods

If our city is to prosper, we must have healthy, vital neighborhoods. That means quality schools, access to health care, effective crime prevention, and greater homeownership. Most of all, it means the entire community working together to build the neighborhood they want for their children, one block at a time. — Anthony A. Williams, Mayor

I would like Mayor Williams to make my neighborhood safe. I would like a playground. Please make the streets clean and grow trees, grass and flowers. — Gerard, Citizen, Age 6

Neighborhoods are the fundamental building block of a city. The quality of our physical environment has a huge impact on the health of our families, the strength of our economy, and the future of our children. For these reasons, the City-Wide Strategic Plan begins by defining a plan to rebuild six of our most distressed neighborhoods

A distressed neighborhood is one with serious crime problems, such as homicides and other violent crimes, open-air drug dealing, and other conditions that create a high level of fear in a neighborhood. By focusing on distressed areas, this plan achieves two key objectives. First, because residents of these neighborhoods tend to be among our most vulnerable citizens, we can improve their lives by improving their environment. Second, the troubles of these communities not only affect immediate residents - they spill over into other communities as well. Therefore, by targeting distressed communities, we will benefit the District as a whole. This section begins by reviewing the key lessons that must be incorporated in order to succeed, then goes on to present the first draft of goals for Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods.

Keys to Success

In reviewing studies and the experiences of other cities, it is clear that in order to have a lasting impact on the physical, social, and economic conditions in a distressed area, our approach must include the following:

  • A focused, sustained approach on a manageable targeted area. This initiative is based on the assumption that a severely distressed neighborhood needs a sustained effort over a two-to- three-year period to make a complete turnaround. Even after the criminal and fear-producing activity are abated (and the police are working in the areas of displacement), the community must remain the focus of government action and resources. And after demonstrating success at the initial sites, the expertise gained may be applied in other areas, where additional resources may be focused. Eventually, the entire city will benefit from this approach.

An area targeted for the Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods initiative is designated as a "Capital Community." This name signifies the focus on and involvement of the community, the investment of capital resources, the location of the community in the nation's capital, and the goal of turning the community into a first-rate - that is, "capital" - neighborhood.

To begin this initiative, six areas - one in each police district (except 2D) - were designated as the first Capital Communities. Several factors contributed to the selection of these areas, including the level of crime and fear of crime, level of disorder, population impacted by the problem (children, seniors, families, etc.), physical condition of housing and other properties, and physical condition of public space. The descriptions below illustrate why these areas were selected.

Capital Communities

District 1. Area of Massachusetts Ave. and E. St., S.E. (PSA 109).

  • Illegal drug sales occur throughout this primarily residential area in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and the offenders are thought to live in and near the community.
  • A corner store in the area was the scene of a double homicide in February of 1999. The open-air drug market impacts a senior citizen housing complex on the border and several schools.
  • Many signs of neighborhood deterioration are evident. About 22 residential and commercial properties in the area are for sale or lease. Trash, weeds, missing or improper traffic signs, abandoned autos and graffiti, and abandoned buildings. some boarded up, others not, also contribute to the sense of disorder in the area.

District 3. Area of 9th St. and O St., N W. (PSA 311).

  • This section of the Shaw neighborhood is a mixture of private homes, public housing, a large apartment complex, a large playground, and several businesses.
  • Three homicides have occurred in the area this year. There are several buildings that harbor suspected drug activity, and the primary offenders appear to be a local crew, the members of which are thought to have grown up in the neighborhood. Community members are fearful and until recently have been reluctant to work with the police.
  • Despite numerous efforts by city agencies to clean up the area trash and debris, abandoned vehicles. and graffiti problems persist.

District 4. Area of Hobart Place, N. W. (PSA 414).

  • The illegal drug-dealing problem has existed on this tucked-away residential street near Howard University for nearly 15 years. There are numerous abandoned properties in the area and several vacant lots owned by Howard University. The area borders Georgia Avenue, a gateway to the District.
  • The residents are primarily senior citizens, retirees, and low-income families with children.
  • Despite efforts by the police and other agencies to clean up the area, drug dealing persists and debris continues to collect, serving as hiding places for drugs and drug paraphernalia.

District 5. Area of Montello Ave. and Queen St., N.E. (PSA 508).

  • The drug trade in this part of the Trinidad neighborhood is deeply entrenched and has been going on for generations. A middle-class community made up primarily of single-family homes, the area is the site of three open-air drug operations and three reported crack houses, and is a home to six gangs.
  • Local prostitutes use West Virginia Avenue, a quieter street. The prostitution occurs in alleys, abandoned cars, and stairwells, often with children nearby.

District 6. Area of 49th Place and Division Ave., N.E. (PSA 603).

  • The area contains a methadone clinic, a public housing complex, a high school, numerous businesses, and a park that heroin users frequent to use their drugs.
  • Much of the illegal drug activity is connected to the clients of the methadone clinic, as well as to the crews that live in the Lincoln Heights public housing complex.
  • Public drinking, gambling, and loitering are commonplace, and trash, especially liquor bottles and broken glass, is a serious problem in the area.

District 7. Area of Galveston Pl. and Forrester St., S. W. (PSA 710)

  • The drug dealing activity, which occurs at all hours of the day and night, is focused on Forrester Street, which consists of numerous small, brick apartment buildings, many vacant and others deteriorating.
  • Residents report that the first thing the children in the neighborhood would smell on their way to school was marijuana.
  • The area was also the scene of a homicide this year.
  • Trash and abandoned autos litter the yards and alleys behind the apartment buildings. |

In addition to targeting resources, this plan must also incorporate the following keys to success.

  • A well-planned, comprehensive, and coordinated effort among all city agencies to address the physical, social, and economic conditions in the targeted area. Permanently ridding an area of drug dealing and other criminal activity involves more than law enforcement -- it involves changing the conditions that permit criminal activity to thrive. An intensive, well-planned effort by a range of agencies and resources -- from DPW to DC Public Schools -- is required.
  • The involvement of residents and community groups in and around the targeted area. Growing a healthy neighborhood depends on the active participation of the neighborhood's residents, teachers, principles, and business owners. If criminal activity is not replaced with caring, restorative activity by the people who live or work in the area, crime and disorder will return to fill the vacuum. Community members must be mobilized to participate as active partners with government from the beginning of the initiative. These efforts include programs to provide children and youth productive opportunities outside of the normal school day.
  • The investment of resources from the private and non-profit sector. The private and non-profit sector completes the community-government partnership. Private and nongovernmental resources can help to meet the acute needs of the Capital Community for economic, technical, and social service support, supply innovative strategies to defeat systemic problems, and win over those who resist change.

In sum, these principles require that a broad pool of resources be focused on manageable target areas. By taking this approach, neighborhoods can expect to see the following outcomes:

  • Crime and Safety. A Capital Community will experience a reduction in crime and fear of crime. Fire-related incidents, fatalities, injuries, and property losses resulting from fire will also decrease. These changes in crime and safety will be measured by drug-related calls-for- service; drug-related arrests; reports of crime such as homicide, assault, robbery, burglary, and theft from auto; Fire Department data; and data from resident surveys, if available.
  • Appearance and Disorder. Disorder problems such as fighting, gambling, public drinking, trash, graffiti, and abandoned autos will decrease in a Capital Community. This reduction in disorder will be measured by 9-1-1 calls for service for disorder; complaints filed for graffiti, trash and debris; the visual appearance of the neighborhood, including the public area around drug treatment centers, the Clean City Initiative's "Cleanliness Rating," and the renovation of aging school buildings.
  • Housing. A Capital Community will have affordable housing in good condition and high rates of occupancy. In the initial stages of implementation, housing improvements will be indicated by the number of vacant/abandoned properties in the area and the proportion of these vacant/abandoned properties that are secured to entry; in the latter stages of implementation, the indicator will be the proportion of these vacant properties that have been renovated or demolished and redeveloped. Other housing-related indicators of a healthy neighborhood include the proportion of properties that are owner-occupied, the proportion that are single- family dwellings, and the proportion of mixed-income properties.
  • Health and Welfare. The residents of a Capital Community will have improved levels of education and employment, and greater access to drug treatment programs. They will have created community-based networks and community-based programs for residents, including youth. Indicators of the improved health and welfare of Capital Community residents will include the number of youth victims; number of youth participating in science-based youth prevention centers; number of youth participating in the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Clubs activities; number of block clubs; and number of community-based outreach centers, youth drop-in centers, senior citizen safety projects, and so forth.
  • Community Participation. Active partnerships between police. community, and other agencies will thrive in a Capital Community This will be indicated by attendance at targeted problem-solving meetings; the number of organized community-police activities (not including meetings); the number of citizens participating in Clean City activities; and the number of inmates participating in cleanup and improvement projects in the targeted areas.

These outcomes and other measures will be the key indicators of success throughout the implementation of the Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods initiative. Having identified these targets, this discussion now presents the first specific draft action plan for this initiative.

Action Plan

The District's approach to revitalizing distressed neighborhoods works through four key phases of action. These phases and their time frames are presented in the model below:

A Model for the Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative

Phase I
Identify Community and Mobilize Partners

Phase II
Reclaim Community

Phase III
Restore and Revitalize Community

Phase IV
Sustain Success

To identify and target distressed communities and mobilize all partners and stakeholders. Goal: To rid the targeted location of sreet disorder and other conditions and activities that create fear and affect quality of life. Goal: To change physical, social, and economic conditions that enable criminal activity to thrive in the community. Goal: To sustain the success long-term through ongoing service delivery and through the fforts of an organized and active community
Time Frame: 30-60 days Time Frame: 30-90 days Time Frame: 60 days-3 years Time Frame: Ongoing

The actions to be taken under each of these phases are described below.

Phase I - Identify Capital Communities and Mobilize Partners

During Phase I of this initiative, which is currently under way, the goal is to identify the Capital Communities and mobilize all partners and stakeholders. In this phase, the following actions must be taken:

  • Distressed communities with high levels of crime and fear of crime are targeted. All agencies are mobilized and they in turn mobilize the residents and community organizations in and around target area.
  • The partners assess and analyze the conditions in the Capital Community and develop a community-based plan of action with contributions from police, community representatives, and other agencies.
  • Strategic partnerships with private and non-profit resource providers are initiated.

Once these actions are implemented, Phase II activities may begin, as described below.

Phase II - Reclaim Community

The goal of Phase II is to rid the Capital Community of street disorder and other conditions and activities that create fear and affect quality of life. In this phase, the short-term goals established in the community-based action plan are met. For example:

  • Neighborhood streets are quiet because foot and vehicular traffic related to drug dealing is eliminated.
  • Streets and alleys are clear of bulk trash and junk, abandoned autos, and other visible signs of neighborhood deterioration.
  • Vacant homes are secured, and vacant lots are cleared of weeds and trash and are fenced in.
  • Community residents and representatives of grassroots organizations are participating in problem-solving meetings with the police and other agencies, and community members are holding visible cleanups or other community events in the neighborhood involving the police and others.
  • Last but not least, police, other government agency representatives, and community members are learning each other's names.

Once these actions have been successfully implemented, Phase III may begin.

Phase III: Restore and Revitalize Community

The goal of Phase III is to eliminate the physical, social, and economic conditions that enable criminal activity to thrive in the Capital Community. In this phase, the long-term goals established in the community-based action plan are met. For example:

  • Vacant or abandoned homes are occupied by homeowners and have been renovated.
  • New development is completed or in progress. New businesses, such as small retail or services, have located in or near the area and facade improvements have been made to commercial strips.
  • School buildings are modernized and renovated to accommodate the needs of all students.
  • New programs for youth have been established and area youth are participating in them.
  • Employment of residents has increased.
  • Residents needing drug treatment are receiving it.
  • Community residents and representatives of grassroots organizations continue to participate in problem-solving meetings with the police and other agencies, and community members have established a positive community presence.

Once these actions have been implemented, Phase IV may begin, as described below

Phase IV: Sustain Success

The goal of Phase IV is to sustain the success long-term through ongoing service delivery and through the efforts of an organized and active community. A positive community presence is primarily what sustains the criminal justice, physical, social, and economic development progress in the targeted area. The following characteristics exemplify a community in Phase IV of this plan:

  • Government agencies, including public schools, provide routine services and monitor key indicators as an early warning signal for neighborhood deterioration.

  • When necessary, government agencies step up visible activity in the area to reestablish the level of peace and prosperity in the area that has been achieved.

At the point that Phase IV is reached for the first set of Capital Communities, the District will have developed the expertise necessary to replicate this practice in other areas. This process will continue until every community in the District qualifies as a healthy and sustainable neighborhood.

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Strengthening Families

Government has to do its job — and do it well — but in the end. no community can succeed without strong families. Everything it e do should put families first and make our city a good place to raise children. — Anthony A. Williams, Mayor

My Mom works late sometimes and the streets are dark when she comes in ... My mom takes me all the way to Maryland to play sports because she says there is more organization and have more parent and community help. — Eugene, Citizen,  Age I2

Just as neighborhoods are the key building blocks of a city, families are the key building blocks of a neighborhood. Strong families create healthy communities where neighbors know and trust each other, and where children grow into healthy and productive adults. Unfortunately, too many families in our neighborhoods face troubles with poverty and violence, drug addiction and disease. In order to recover and maintain their strength, our families need access to good jobs, continuing education, health care, and housing. These solutions are the focus of the Strengthening Families action plan.

The goal of this plan is to promote strong families, individuals and communities through a network of human and social services that supports and sustains productive and healthy lifestyles. This plan is a guide for creating a pro-family system of integrated service to address the complex challenges faced by District families. This draft plan begins by identifying the keys to success that must be incorporated in order for results to be achieved, and then presents the first draft of specific goals for Strengthening Families.

Keys to Success

In order to succeed at strengthening families in the District, an action plan must contain the following characteristics:

  • Comprehensive scope - Families' needs are not simply economic. Nor can families be supported by simply having their physical health supported. To be successful, an action plan must support the physical, mental, social, and environmental health of families.
  • Inclusiveness - While this plan should support the needs of all families, it should emphasize targeted assistance to those with special needs. For example, the District contains a high proportion of families with a member who is currently or was formerly incarcerated in a corrections facility. This situation typically creates extensive hardship, economically and emotionally for the family, and such hardship requires a unique form of support. The same is true for families with home-bound members.
  • Empowerment - At present, the nation is learning that, although well-intentioned, many social programs can create an unhealthy dependency among the families they attempt to help. To create long-term strength among District families, this action plan must help them attain the means to help themselves, specifically through continuing education and employment opportunities.

The Strengthening Families action plan attempts to incorporate these characteristics effectively. In the following section, the goals in this draft action plan are presented.

Action Plan

To enhance support for all families, the following action plan goals must be achieved.

Goal 1 - Increase levels of employment. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Increased neighborhood-based literacy services
  • Increased job sites for employment of needy populations
  • Year-round internships for disadvantaged youth
  • Technology centers for persons with disabilities
  • (see Economic Development for more)

Goal 2 - Ensure high-quality, accessible, and affordable health care. Major actions for this goal include:

  • Developing a special transportation system for children under one year of age and pregnant women to encourage appropriate doctor's care/treatments to reduce mortality and morbidity rates.
  • Increasing the use of media and community organizations to publicize health facts and program options.
  • Expanding health insurance coverage, family centered case management, counseling, condom distribution and testing.
  • Organizing companion program for families faced with HIV/AIDS.

Goal 3 - Develop life-long learning opportunities. Major actions for this goal include:

  • Developing an online database of learning opportunities
  • Increasing the use of technology to support intergenerational learning strategies
  • Engaging local role models and celebrities to promote the value of higher and continuing education.

Goal 4 - Enhance caregiver support. Major actions for this goal include:

  • Identifying service gaps and developing a menu of services for persons, young and old with chronic illness or disability.
  • Holding annual conferences for care givers on best practices.
  • Training of home-care aides.
  • Establishing legislation to create a five-star institute to support caregivers and caregiver services.

Goal 5 - Improve environment safety (residential and community). Major actions for this goal include:

  • Increasing health screenings for lead poisoning in children.
  • Enforcing penalties for pesticide label violation and educating families on the safe use of pesticides in the homes.
  • Surveying to determine cockroach allergens in communities.
  • Distributing an easy to use home poison safety checklist and promoting an in-home poison and medication safety program.
  • Restoring the Anacostia River.
  • Increasing inspections for sub-standard housing.

Goal 6 -- Improve conditions for inmates, ax-offenders and their families. Major actions for this goal include:

  • Implementing a violence prevention campaign focused on domestic and gang activity and sexual misconduct and abuse.
  • Creating a life skills program and a continuum of vocational training opportunities.
  • Developing a mental health services network for youth and adult ex-offenders.
  • Redesigning transitional strategies.

Goal 7 -- Reduce the societal impact of violence and abusive behaviors in the District Major actions for this goal include:

  • Identifying communities with high prevalence of violence.
  • Training of victims and family members on coping with eminent violent acts.
  • Creating a state-of-the-art system for capturing incidents of violence; for tracking at-risk individuals, families, and identified perpetrators.
  • Conducting family-centered counseling on anger management, self-protection strategies, and awareness of post-traumatic problems.
  • Developing planned tracking and follow-up corrective activities with perpetrators.

In sum, the main objective of this action plan is to provide comprehensive support that will empower families to help themselves. By achieving these goals, the District will develop a network of human and social services that supports and sustains productive and healthy lifestyles. In so doing, we will promote strong individuals, strong families, and strong communities.

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Safe Passages: Investing in Children and Youth

Children are our future In their eyes we see the world that will be. From before they are born to the day they enter the job market, we need to ensure that our children and youth get the support they need to succeed. — Anthony A Williams, Mayor

In my neighborhood, children are turning to drugs and alcohol every day for "quick money". I usually find this happening with teens that either want to be everything, but don 't want to do anything, or teens who have not set one goal in life. — Dawaine, Citizen, Age 13

The title "safe passages" suggests a transition from one place to another, from one time to another? or one phase of life to another. The experiences children encounter as they travel through the major passageways of life dramatically affect where they go, how far they go, and the kind of adults they become. Important new brain research indicates that as babies gain more experience, positive or negative, the brain's wiring becomes more defined. Unfortunately, for many children and youth in the District, travels through life are marked with obstacles and sometimes-cruel reality. For example:

  • Approximately 40 percent of the District's children and youth live in poverty. Nearly 60 percent live in single parent households.
  • Child abuse cases increased by 20 percent from 1997 to 1998 to a total of 2,000 reported cases. Abuse and neglect cases generally involve children under one year of age.
  • Children and youth in the District consistently fare poorly on standardized tests in both reading and math.
  • For an extended period, the District of Columbia has ranked 51st nationally in a range of child youth well-being indicators.
  • Expenditures for children. youth and family services comprise a significant portion of the District's budget, and while some feel that many of the services are under-funded to meet an ever increasing need, others contend that poor fiscal management has contributed to the problem.

Given this dim state, the District must implement a focused and effective campaign for our youth. To ensure its effectiveness, Safe Passages will adhere to the guiding principles presented in the following section.

Keys to Success

Through the Safe Passages action plan, the District government has established specific goals for improving the lives of children and youth in the District of Columbia. To ensure our effectiveness, the government must adhere to the following principles:

  • Accountability - Hold departments and agencies accountable for achieving child and youth goals.
  • Legal Structure - Introduce comprehensive legislation and develop regulations that support the safety, health, success and well-being of children and youth
  • Analysis - Create a centralized data repository that allows for service and financial expenditures tracking; goals monitoring; evaluation; and planning.
  • Empowerment- Create task forces to examine and make recommendations on the child protective services system, the juvenile justice system, and relationships with community partners.
  • Coordination - Agencies and private entities must work together to maximize the impact of limited resources.

This final point on coordination represents perhaps the most important key to success. In reviewing the current operations of the District government, Safe Passages found that government agencies are doing tremendous work for some of the city's most vulnerable populations - especially its children. However, because the District lacks an intentionally designed, fully integrated system of supports for young people, departments are unable to effectively focus resources and evaluate the qualitative impact of their efforts in helping our young people achieve their full potential.

Safe Passages is intended to serve as a guide for adults of the District of Columbia who must ultimately ensure the safe passage of children and youth as they move from birth to young adulthood. To succeed, there must be collaboration among departments and agencies in support of the safety, health, success, and well being of children, youth, and their families in the District of Columbia. Safe passages begins to identify the means through which this collaboration may take place.

Action Plan

The first draft of specific goals and actions for creating Safe Passages are listed below.

Goal 1 - Children are ready to learn upon entering school. Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Increase by 25% the number of subsidized child care slots.
  • Develop new child development standards.
  • Offer Even Start and Head Start programs for all students who are in need of assistance.
  • Ensure 50% of subsidized child care providers are using child development standards.
  • Train 300 family members of emotionally disturbed children; 70% to demonstrate learned skills over time.
  • Ensure 65% of infants and toddlers with developmental delays have access to services.
  • Ensure 75% of infants with congenital hearing loss identified within 3 months and have access to services; 50% of parents will have access to services.
  • Establish community-based learning centers for parents established in areas of highest need.
  • Educate parents to serve effectively as their children's first teachers.

Goal 2 - Children and youth are succeeding in school Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Create 30 new community-based before- and after-school programs by September 30, 2000.
  • Implement success criteria for out-of-school time programs (direct & indirect).
  • Adopt Learning standards for out of school-time-programs.
  • Increase access and use of libraries by all middle and junior high school students.
  • Align Arts and Humanities out-of-school grants with D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) content standards.
  • Recruit and retain outstanding principals and teachers for all DCPS schools by:
    • Providing competitive salaries and benefits.
    • Targeting the most underperforming schools for leadership training and professional development.
    • Setting high standards for teacher/principal performance.
    • Providing opportunities for young people and paraprofessionals to gain skills to be educators.
  • Develop better methods to recognize school, student, parent, and educator achievement to encourage and duplicate successes.
  • Enhance service delivery at the neighborhood level through both DC public school offerings and those of charter schools.

Goal 3 - Youth are developed into successful young adults. Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Provide 16,400 DC youth with access to information on year-round employment and training.
  • Assist 650 of the 16,400 youth to be gainfully employed or trained in a vocation leading to permanent employment.
  • Establish passport-to-Work Internship initiative for 12th grade "C" students.
  • Ensure 75% of students participating in Passport-to-Work complete a structured work experience.
  • Establish five entrepreneurial opportunities for youth ages 14-21.
  • Produce 10% increase in transition of youth with mental retardation or developmental disabilities from DCPS to supported or competitive employment.
  • Integrate "real world" learning into the classroom through civic education initiatives such as the Close Up program, community service requirements for high school students, and increased links to employers for students who intend to advance directly to the world of work.

Goal 4 - Children, youth and families are healthy. Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Expand the number of children enrolled in DC Healthy Families by 25%.
  • Increase the number of parents and pregnant women enrolled in DC Healthy Families by 40%.
  • Perform hearing screens on 100% of all infants born at DC General Hospital.
  • Increase by 10% the number of children under age five years enrolled in the Women Infants and Children (WIC) assistance program.
  • Refer 90% of eligible children less than 5 years to WIC. Provide meals to 100% of children and youth eligible for free and reduced cost meals before, during and after school.
  • Link all Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) pediatric care sites to DC immunization registry.
  • Increase by 80% the primary immunization levels of children 19-35 months.
  • Ensure 75% of infants 19-35 months seen by PBC will have up-to-date immunization records.
  • Decrease by 10% the number of child victims of more than one supported report of child abuse or neglect.
  • Decrease by 10% the amount of time that children spend in foster care.
  • Link all DCPS schools to a community health center.
  • Transfer all eligible children and youth with developmental disabilities into appropriate residential and habilitation settings.
  • Implement an Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) community-based prevention effort aimed at reducing drug use among youth by 30%.
  • Reduce the number of retailers who sell to tobacco products to minors in the DC by 40%.
  • Implement an ATOD prevention program in 40 schools to reach 10,000 youth.
  • Reduce the prevalence of Chlamydia Trachomatis infections among young persons age 15-24 years and screen 10,000 young women.
  • Reduce the incidence of Gonorrhea in adolescents to no more than 50 new cases.
  • Increase by 20% the number of young people (13-21) who know their HIV status.
  • Increase by 20% the number of youth receiving HIV counseling and testing services and returning for test results.
  • Increase by 25% the number of male and female condoms and barriers distributed to adolescents.
  • Increase by 50% the number of adolescent females receiving counseling on prenatal HIV transmission.
  • Increase to 90% the amount of health providers in testing for TB of all a-risk children.
  • Reduce by 40% the number of children ages 1 to 6 who are in school and infected with TB.
  • Develop and implement a blood lead screening pilot study in Wards 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to determine the extent of lead poisoning among children 12 months and 24 months of age.
  • Mandate universal blood lead screening for children at 12 months and at 24 months of age.
  • Reduce the inordinately high incidence of asthma among children and youth.

Goal 5 - Reduce Youth-on-youth crime, particularly in the school setting

  • Implement the Roving Leaders Program to focus on at-risk adolescents and youth.
  • Ensure all community-based grantees working with at-risk youth comply with the Department of Juvenile Justice and the National Endowment for the Arts' YouthARTS Development Project.
  • Expand the current pilot program for at-risk elementary children to three new elementary schools in the areas of highest need.
  • Continue nationally-recognized DCPS Peacable Schools Initiative to reduce rates of conflict and violence.

Goal 6 - Pass a comprehensive child health safety omnibus bill. This comprehensive legislative agenda will cover the following areas:

  • Mandated criminal background checks on all child care providers, youth workers and persons providing criminal justice services to youth in secure and residential facilities.
  • Random drug and alcohol testing of all D.C. Government personnel providing direct services to children and youth.
  • Establishment of the Child Fatality Review Committee.
  • The Early Intervention Program.
  • Adoption and Safe Families Act. Universal blood lead screening for children at 12 months and 24 months of age. Newborn hearing screening at all birthing hospitals and centers in the District of Columbia.
  • Zero tolerance for adults involved in sexual relations with minors.
  • Criminal non-support remedy for persons who default in their child support obligations.
  • Drug free zone areas in close proximity to all schools, libraries, and places where children and youth congregate in large numbers.
  • Updated truancy laws.
  • Extend the Public School Nurse Program to all Charter Public Schools.
  • Develop regulations governing the Child Protection Registry, and rates paid by the District for certain types of childcare.

Goal 7 - Develop a new children and youth data repository, tracking, and monitoring system. Major actions under this goal will include:

  • Convene information systems work group.
  • Assess current systems and system integration needs.
  • Develop integration work plan.
  • Identify contractor and other resource and funding needs.

Goal 8 - Implement a plan for an integrated child protective service system. Major actions under this goal will include:

  • Map out processes for managing child protection cases.
  • Identify critical gaps and overlaps.
  • Coordinate relevant parties to design solutions.
  • Implement new processes and track progress.

Goal 9 - Implement a plan for an integrated juvenile justice system. Major actions under this goal will include:

  • Establish task force including relevant parties.
  • Conduct review of current laws and identify changes needed.
  • Develop new legislation that supports a coordinated process predicated on principles of rehabilitation.
  • By achieving these goals, the District can ensure that children and youth receive the opportunity they deserve to grow into healthy and productive adults.

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Making Government Work

Our citizens deserve a government that works for everyone_particularly our youngest and most vulnerable people. That's the commitment I've made as Mayor, and I intend to hold our government — and myself -- accountable for rapid, visible improvement. — Anthony A Williams, Mayor

The police can't do everything and apparently some parents are not helping either, but it takes initiative from someone, and the fact {is] that political power helps. — Danielle, Citizen, Age 14

In each of the plans presented so far, it has been emphasized that government alone cannot solve every ill. Nevertheless, the District government plays a pivotal role in assembling, coordinating, and deploying resources - a role that is critical to the fulfillment of the public will. Government must be a reliable partner for citizens in their neighborhoods.

The District government wields tremendous financial resources, human resources, and physical resources - all of which are needed to truly bring about change. But to deploy these resources effectively, the District government must operate with a high level of organization, efficiency, and productivity. The success of Neighborhood Action depends on the District government succeeding in this learning process. As such, the purpose of the Making Government Work action plan is to ensure that the District improves its internal operations so that it can truly affect the city as a whole. The following section begins by reviewing the keys to success in this area, and is followed by the first draft of specific goals for Making Government Work

Keys to Success

In formulating a draft plan to improve government services, the following elements were considered to be critical:

  • Service. The District's number one priority is to deliver exceptional service.

  • Sustainability. Any improvements that are made within this government must be sustained beyond the current administration in order to be deemed successful.
  • Innovation. Development of strategic solutions will include considerations of reengineering, competitive services, and private-public partnerships.
  • People. The employees of the District Government are vital for Making Government Work. We must give employees the tools, training, and incentives to do their jobs well. At the same time, employees must be accountable for efficient, high quality, and friendly service to citizens.
  • Systems. Simple citizen requests should not get bogged down in bureaucracy. The systems of the government must be streamlined and accessible, and should support the operations necessary to serve our citizens.

By focusing on these key areas, the District Government can maximize its potential to create long- lasting reform of its operations.

Action Plan

The District Government must be reformed on two fronts. First, the government must provide more customer-focused interaction with citizens. Second, internal processes must be reformed. On the first front, the following goals must be achieved:

Goal 1 — Employ a strategic management process to define and produce results at every level. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Conduct a strategic planning process for the city, its neighborhoods, and each District agency.
  • Develop annual budgets that will support and operationalize strategic goals.
  • Develop performance contracts for all employees.
  • Evaluate progress, report to stakeholders, and reward and remediate as appropriate.

Goal 2 - Enhance training to ensure employees Deliver quality customer service to citizens. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Intensive customer service training
  • Supervision and management enforcement
  • Performance evaluations

Goal 3 - Enhance the visibility and communication of District services. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Improving visibility of District employees and buildings through name tags, common colors, and signage.
  • Communicating and marketing District services more effectively.
  • Tracking and responding to customer comments in a prompt and systematic manner.
  • Creation of "DC Government City Services Booklet" to tell customers about specific services.
  • Creation of a feedback loop between agencies and community, such as suggestion boxes and focus groups.

The second set of goals focuses the District government on achieving a systematic process redesign of internal services. These services consist of critical internal functions that provide the support needed by agency programs to deliver quality services. Specifically, these internal function improvements include the following goals:

Goal 4 - Improve space utilization in facilities. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Central management of all government owned administrative properties.
  • Centralized authority to enter into negotiations.
  • Standardization of "look" for DC properties.
  • Ongoing space analysis of facilities.
  • Development of repair and replacement schedules for all facilities and equipment.

Goal 5 - Improve timeliness and cost of procurements. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Streamline procurement process and reduce cycle time.
  • Perform assessment of procurements based on quality and "best value," not simply cost.
  • Issue revised procurement standards and rules to agencies.

Goal 6 - Improve financial planning support to agencies. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Perform cost analysis for services to support performance-based budgeting.
  • Perform additional training for managers and staff on budgeting.
  • Provide orientation in District budgeting for new employees.

Goal 7 - Improve personnel support agencies. Major actions under this goal include:

  • Implement overall orientation plan for new DC employees
  • Implement comprehensive program for recruitment at all levels
  • Implement a comprehensive labor strategy, to account for:
    • Compensation
    • Position definitions
    • Selection standards
    • Diversity standards
    • Better screening
    • Job classification
  • Enhance job enrichment opportunities

By addressing each of these areas in systematic fashion, the District government will properly equip itself to provide the critical support needed for revitalizing the city's neighborhoods.

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Economic Development

I believe we can and should have a thriving economy both downtown and in the neighborhoods. No one should he left out of our economic prosperity. — Anthony A. Williams, Mayor

In my neighborhood some people are poor and need jobs... They need a bank. In my neighborhood some people don 't finish college. — Jasmine, Citizen, Age 7

Goverment alone cannot meet all the needs of children, families, and neighborhoods. A vital economy is critical to providing quality jobs, affordable housing, and vibrant cultural amenities for our citizens. The Economic Development action plan sets a course for expanding our economy to this end. This plan begins by reviewing the major lessons learned by the goal team from reviewing other studies and from the experience of other cities. It then goes on to present the first draft of specific action goals for Economic Development in the District.

Keys to Success

This Economic Development plan emphasizes several basic themes that are essential to the success of Neighborhood Action. These themes tightly intertwine with the other strategic initiatives, demonstrating the interdependence of all of these efforts. To avoid duplication and maximize coordination, however, the following descriptions identify key areas in which this plan intersects with others. These themes are now presented in turn, beginning with the focus of the preceding plan, Making Government Work.

  • Coordinated and effective government operations. None of the initiatives under this plan can be achieved without making the government work better through better inter-agency cooperation. An effective government is critical to improved economic development opportunities for the people and businesses of the District of Columbia. This is true of services focused on business, such as commercial zoning, licensing, and downtown cleanliness, but also of other government operations such as education and public safety.
  • Greater job opportunities for District residents. The rate of unemployment in the District is much higher than that of suburban Maryland, Virginia, and the national rate. Clearly there is work to be done here. The District's unemployment problem is structural, and imbedded within the poor quality of public education and training. The long-term solution is an educated and well-trained workforce that is prepared for the economy of the 215' Century. In the medium term, we must continue to attract more jobs to the District, in both the public and private sectors, to ensure that work is available and readily accessible.
    The short-term approach is to make good use of a strong economy and match skills to current employment opportunities by helping businesses to underwrite the cost of training. This action plan sets forth a comprehensive plan for job development, which is complemented by more targeted strategies set forward in the Strengthening Families plan.
  • An expanding and diversifying economy. The District is perceived as a company town with a dominant and an ancillary industry, government and tourism, respectively. To diversify its economy the District has to build on its strengths. The District is also a center of higher reaming with a dozen universities and colleges. Appended to the universities are teaching hospitals and research facilities that form the nucleus of an indigenous biotechnology industry. These types of synergies are repeated time after time. The challenge of the District now becomes to identify and nurture such synergies in other areas, such as broadcasting and publishing, information technology, and financial services.
  • Retaining and attracting the middle class. The staple of a livable city is its middle class. Despite the state unemployment, median family income in the District is relatively high. As we attract jobs and diversify our economy we also help to grow our middle class. Regionally the District is becoming the address of choice as evidenced by the recent lottery of 68 properties, which attracted 2,500 qualified bidders from 5,500 resumed applications, out of 15,000 that were handed out. Homeownership opportunities for District residents must be expanded. Currently the District lags behind other urban areas with a 44% homeownership rate, compared to 50% nation wide. Each homeowner is a direct contributor to the health and welfare of the city by paying property, income and sales taxes as well as user fees. Homeowners contribute to the local economy by purchasing goods and services to sustain their families and maintain their property. There is a statistical correlation between the rate of homeownership and the quality of schools in urban centers. A homeowner is more likely to vote and participate in the civic life of their city. Growing the middle class from within is directly tied to increasing homeownership opportunities for District residents.
  • Improved quality of life for District residents, businesses and employees. The greatest impediment to a healthy city is crime. Crime and the fear of crime drive away homeowners and businesses, and makes recruitment of employees much more difficult. It is no accident that interest in the District is growing as crime statistics continue to decline. A rising tide lifts all boats, thus the employment opportunities created by the long economic expansion share the credit for the drop in crime rates along with more effective and aggressive policing techniques. Feeling safe is only one element in the improvement of the quality of life for those who live and work in the District have come to expect. More people work in the District than actually live here. This situation establishes a two-tier service level, which turns our employment centers into virtual ghost towns after the workday ends. A living downtown, with more venues for family style entertainment will help to keep non-residential workers in town to patronize local establishments. More family style entertainment venues, such as those planned for the Columbia Heights area, make our neighborhoods more attractive. Supermarkets, retail outlets, sit down restaurants and efficient public services make our neighborhoods into wholly functioning economic units. This plan addresses these issues in a citywide context, whereas the Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods plan defines related plans for Capital Communities.
  • Targeting investment to areas that are underserved: The District has many underserved neighborhoods that can become economic engines with the proper investment structure. In order to attract investment to these neighborhoods we must have in place development plans and incentive packages. What the investment and development communities need is certainty. The District is working to change the reputation of unresponsiveness and bureaucratic entanglement in order keep investment flowing into underserved neighborhoods. Shortening the time from concept to reality means establishing a process that the development community can rely upon. Beyond improving perceptions and procedures the District has to send clear physical signals to attract investment. Infrastructure improvement is a physical reality and a clear signal that the District is courting investment in a particular area. Investment must also mean local participation and access to capital for local firms. While this targeting will certainly overlap with the Capital Communities defined in Building and Sustaining Healthy Neighborhoods, there will also be other targets defined for development.

The new government of the District of Columbia has an opportunity to literally make Washington into the nation's first city by harnessing the good will of its residents, the non-profit community, the business community and the federal government. This political capital must be expended wisely, and in some cases dramatically, in order to expand the economic pie, and maintain the unique character of the District's neighborhoods.

Having identified these key guiding principles, this discussion now turns to a presentation of the specific action plan for Economic Development

Action Plan

To nurture and grow a robust, vibrant, economy, the following goals must be achieved. These goals are grouped into three categories - jobs, housing, and targeting neighborhoods.

Goal 1 (Jobs) - Grow private sector by targeting industry networks. The District can create jobs most effectively by growing targeted industries such as the following:

  • Biomedical
  • Business/Professional
  • Hospitality
  • Media
  • University
  • Telecom
  • Financial Services
  • Internet Service Providers

Goal 2 (Jobs) - Link training to growth sectors through a coordinated system. Our workforce must engage in active training in order to provide them economic opportunity and to provide business with a skilled workforce. As part of this goal, the following initiatives must succeed:

  • Comprehensive education reform
  • Targeted job training programs
  • Enhancement of post-secondary institutions to ensure their preparation to educate District residents to compete for jobs in growth industries

Goal 3 (Jobs) - Level the playing field: A competitive DC. This goal will attract businesses to the District by ensuring that they have information about, and access to, the resources needed to succeed. Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Market the City
    • Identify and promote the advantages of the District of Columbia
    • Identify and dispel perceived disadvantages of the District
  • Ensure a "Competitive DC"
    • Develop incentives to attract and retain business
    • Streamline regulations to reduce burdens for business
  • Increase Access to Capital

To further enhance the economic security of District neighborhoods, families must have access to quality and affordable housing. The next group of goals focus on this area.

Goal 4 (Housing) - Increase new and rehabilitated housing units. To achieve this goal, the following actions must be undertaken:

  • Create a comprehensive housing development plan
  • Stimulate private investment
  • Create new units from district owned properties

Goal 5 (Housing) - Promote homeownership. This goal can be accomplished by some large scale initiatives described in other action plans, and some specific initiatives, including:

  • Providing education and information on homeownership through employers and schools
  • Improving the quality of government service delivery
  • Advertising the benefits of living in the District to surrounding jurisdictions

As residents see improved access to jobs and housing, communities will begin to change. Nonetheless, certain distressed communities will need additional investment to speed up their recovery. The third set of economic development goals, described below, set a plan for doing so.

Goal 6 (Target Areas) - Revitalize neighborhood commercial centers in distressed communities. As part of this goal, the District must expand commercial revitalization programs in targeted centers to accomplish the following:

  • Bolster local economic development organizations
  • Support small businesses
  • Upgrade physical environment

Goal 7 (Target Areas) - Relocate District agencies to facilitate economic development in areas requiring economic stimulus. The relocation of a large office can provide major stimulus for economic recovery. As such, the District will attempt to negotiate the relocation of approximately I million square feet of local, federal, and private office space to distressed areas. This office space may include offices from any of the following organizations:

  • Local government
  • Federal government
  • Private sector
  • Not-for-profits
  • Colleges and Universities

Goal 8 (Target Areas) - Implement geographical!}: focused economic development strategies. The District must engage community members in targeted areas to achieve develop public/private partnerships and to achieve consensus for new development activities. These targeted strategies must be performed in conjunction with the others discussed in this City- Wide strategic plan. Areas targeted for focused strategies include the following:

  • East of the Anacostia River
  • Anacostia Poplar Point
  • Navy Yard/SE Federal Center
  • St. Elizabeth
  • New York Avenue
  • Downtown
  • Georgia Avenue/LeDroit
  • McMillan Reservoir
  • H Street
  • Original Convention Center Site
  • Gallaudet, Ivy City/Trinidad
  • Metro stops at:
    • Minnesota/Benning
    • Columbia Heights
    • Georgia Avenue/Petworth
    • Anacostia

Through these actions, the District can achieve a healthy and expanding economy that will benefit residents, businesses and visitors across the city.

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Unity of Purpose and Democracy

As we emerge from the control period, it's time for a new unity of purpose. We now have the opportunity to harness more than 20 years of pent-up civic pride to improve our neighborhoods and our city. — Anthony A. Williams, Mayor

I know for a fact that one person can't change the city alone. — Danielle, Citizen, Age 14

The focus of the Unity of Purpose and Democracy action plan lies with engaging both the government workforce and the citizens in manifesting the goals of the City-Wide Strategic Plan. This plan embodies the principles of participation that result in partnerships across traditional boundaries, and will ultimately allow the District of Columbia to attain its rightful measure of self- determination. This plan begins by identifying critical success factors that the District must employ in order to achieve true Unity of Purpose and Democracy, and then presents a first draft of the goals to be achieved in this area.

Keys to Success

There are several critical elements required in order to bring the diverse elements of this city together in a large-scale action. These are identified below:

  • Citizen Engagement. This component actively involves citizens in the strategic planning process. It gives them a mechanism to express their concerns and visions for a successful city, which can be incorporated into the citywide strategic action plan. Direct community input joins citizens into cohesive groups unified in the pursuit of shared goals - which is truly civic governance.
    The City-Wide Strategic Plan is the blueprint toward achieving this goal. The process (in general) consists of identifying specific neighborhoods and/or communities (and their stakeholders) and then applying their concerns to the strategic priorities developed by the citywide strategic planning process. Neighborhood Action Citizen Planning Teams develop ideas that are exchanged with the public through electronic town meetings, and then implemented in alignment with the citywide goals.
    The result of this process is that community priorities are incorporated into the government's plans from the very beginning. Participatory democracy yields public satisfaction, because government is responsive to the expressed needs of its citizens.
  • Agency Alignment. Agency Alignment engages members of the workforce in the strategic planning process. It is focused both within and across agencies, and will operate on the level of internal agency strategic planning groups and in large group interventions that generate plans for aligning agencies with the citywide goals. Other strategies for creating and fostering alignment within and across agencies will involve workforce recognition and rewards. Of course, effective communication is vitally important to labor relations. The Labor Management Partnership Councils (to be established within agencies) provide a vehicle not only to address problems but also to set the tone pro-actively for cooperative labor-management interactions.
    Agency alignment will result in a more efficient and productive government, provided by better-satisfied workers in safer environments. It will imbue government employees with the pride that results from participation in the planning process: a sense of ownership.
  • Civic Input. Civic Input is a goal with two related themes: interactive public access to information from the government, and spreading the message about the government to the public. The former is provided by information services such as Answers Please and 727- 1000, and also by more advanced technological approaches such as the DC Wide Area Network (WAN). One goal is to provide free public access to government information and services available on-line in convenient locations in the community, so that citizens without computers at home will not be denied this valuable advantage. (For those who are not comfortable with computers, mechanisms for public input and information access will be available, such as 727-1000 or fax comment lines, but the inherent limitations of these technologies will not allow them to be interactive.)
    Getting the message out also takes multiple forms. The public scorecard is already in use, and will remain a simple but valuable tool to demonstrate that commitments to specific goals and schedules are being met. Next, the agencies must become more active in their community outreach, which will not only send messages, but also make them more responsive to community concerns expressed directly to them. Cable television is an ideal venue for dissemination of information about new programs and services, and does not require computer literacy to be accessed. It also is a means to acquaint citizens with public servants and their visions for providing the best possible service to the District residents.
  • Partnership. The District not only contains neighborhoods, it belongs to a neighborhood - a much larger neighborhood that includes our adjacent states, the many national associations headquartered here, and certainly not least of all, the federal government. These neighbors must be engaged to join our efforts and share their resources as we take on the many challenges in our community.
  • Future Governance. True self-government revolves around the pursuit of the rights for self-determination that are integral to democracy in this country, but often denied to the citizens of the District of Columbia. Prime examples of issues in this regard include obtaining congressional voting rights and adjusting the tax structure to alleviate the unfair burden caused by untaxed commuters.

Each of these components must feature prominently in the action plan for achieving Unity of Purpose and Democracy. The following section presents the first draft of this plan.

Action Plan

The following goals must be achieved in order to facilitate full empowerment of citizens from all sectors of the District

Goal 1 (Citizen Input) - Develop a City-Wide Strategic Plan through the Neighborhood Action process. Major actions under this goal include the following.

  • Conduct Citizen Summit on November 18th and 20th.

  • Update plan among Mayor's cabinet

  • Reconvene Summit participants to refocus on plan and Mayors FY 2001 budget

  • Provide on-going technical assistance to neighborhoods in doing neighborhood strategic planning

Goal 2 (Agency Alignment) - Align government agencies with broad citizen input. Major actions under this goal include the following.

  • Identify agency-wide strategic planning groups representing various functions and levels
  • Conduct large group intervention within agency (perhaps across agencies) that would directly involve up to hundreds of employees at a time in generating plans for aligning agencies' objectives with Neighborhood Action's city-wide goals
  • Identify operational goals and align them with emerging Goals and Vision from the citizen engagement process.
  • Ask the question "What changes to do internally to realign our organization around the city's vision and goals?"
  • Identify realignment initiatives, develop implementation time frames and needed resources
  • Evaluate the process and make refinements. if necessary.
  • Develop additional strategies for ongoing work force interaction and input. For example:
    • Suggestion boxes
    • Employee Cost Savings Incentive Programs
    • Publish a quarterly agency newsletter
    • Employee Performance Programs - Bonuses/Tickets/Commendations
    • Shared agency recognition
    • Cable show on agency operations and goals
    • Agency-wide community participation projects
  • Refer residents to online strategic plans information in all agency publications
  • Establish and implement Labor Management Partnership Council within each agency as a vehicle for long range work force input

Goal 3 (Civic Input) - Create broad opportunities for civic input. Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Increase public access to government information through:
    • 727-1000
    • Answers Please
    • 311 Information Line
  • Widely publicize these services through:
    • Billboards
    • Public Transit
    • Cable TV
    • Public Buildings
    • Municipal mailings
  • Create computer workstations in the communities dedicated to DC Wide Area Network (WAN) access in key sites, such as:
    • Municipal centers
    • City Libraries
    • Public Spaces
    • Kiosks/CDCs/CBOs
    • NGOs
  • Establish Mayor's Chat Room and produce a series of E-Conversation on variety of issues and concerns
  • Identify and solicit corporate support from IT companies
  • Identify discrete needs for rapidly changing and time sensitive information, such as:
    • Regulatory changes
    • Funding availability
    • Emergency situations/closures
  • Create (by public demand) broadcast services to disseminate info via fax or e-mail (with WEB site postings - Note: All agencies should establish an independent web site that links to DC main site and other complimentary agencies)
  • Establish and maintain a public scorecard to report the city's progress on initiatives and projects
  • Develop non-government partners as monitor for and watchdog of annual scorecard indicators
  • Establish, in conjunction the local Consortium of Universities, a task force on academic-government partnership, with the following charge:
    • Explore specific areas of collaboration
    • Identify academic partners and specific public sector challenges
    • Establish and implement cooperative projects and exchanges
    • Design and conduct skill-building course on civic engagement

Goal 4 (Partnership) - Promote cooperation with regional, federal, and private organizations. Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Establish a Public/Private Development Office to strengthen mutual cooperation and private investment in the District's strategic priorities
  • Establish partnerships with elected leadership in neighboring counties
  • Obtain support of federal agencies for partnership in local initiatives

Goal 5 (Future Governance) - Establishment self-government. Major actions under this goal include the following:

  • Identify a Goal Champion of national caliber and a "restoring democracy team to develop strategies for regaining voting rights.
  • Implement a wage tax on non-residents and tax exempt employees
  • Coordinate with appropriate parties to bring receiverships back to the government.

By pursuing these goals, the District government will unite all of its partners in developing a city and community that will serve as an international model for quality living.

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