February 16, 2021
Officers Present: Dan Schramm, Helen LaCroix, Kathy Jacquart, Fred Jackson, Terence Hardy, René McCray
Dan: Good evening everyone. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is with us tonight. I want to be sure we get to her expeditiously, I will keep preliminaries brief. I’m president of BNCA Daniel Schramm. We have officers with us tonight. We’ll have our Treasurers’ report, and Delegate Norton is here to speak with us, and our elections, and a few community announcements. Since we’re fortunate to have Congresswoman with us we’ll give the floor to her. She needs no introduction. She is a pioneer and a leader, a leading African American female attorney and Congresswoman who is a champion of DC Statehood. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to hear from her.
Delegate Norton: I appreciate the opportunity to speak to BNCA. I want to outline some of the things I’ve been doing in the Congress. We have a new order here, a Dem house and Dem Senate and Joe Biden is our President. I have been ranked the most effective Dem in the House by the Center for Effective Lawmaking, I’m out to try to keep up that ranking. That’s not about speaking on the floor, it has to do with bills passed. I should start with DC Statehood, we passed it last June, we’re going to pass it again. It takes time to get even a little bill passed, but we’re getting more co-sponsors than ever before. President Biden has granted me senatorial courtesy. Since I’ve been in the House, when we have a Dem in WH I’ve asked for and received this courtesy, which means I can recommend judges and candidates for US Attorney. Biden asked me to do that early on and I have already recommended someone. I require that anyone who wants a job, this US Attorney will be a District Resident. We have finished two bills which I will tell you about. I am chair of the subcommittee for highways and transport. We are trying to get a reconciliation bill through the House and the Senate that puts most of our bills in one package. The transportation reconciliation bill, which will pass the House, has Metro and Amtrak, that’s why I chose it. I also chose the oversight reform committee because it has oversight of DC in it. That includes $755 million retroactive relief that we lost from the CARES Act, we got those funds allocated now. The Reconciliation bill includes $2.2 billion for relief for the District of Columbia, a reconciliation bill cannot be filibustered. Also, DC Tuition Access Grants. One of the most successful bills through the House. Any resident can go to a state-supported school in 50 states. TAG passed the House again. Republicans tried to reduce it and I got it back up to $40 million and next session I’m going to ask for $45 million. So important to have college education in DC.
The Children’s Museum in the Reagan Building will stay, a great draw in tourist income. That passed.
Bill I’ve gotten passed every year since 2013 when we had the shutdown, that means the District budget will go through even if the Federal govt shuts down, the District can spend money immediately.
The bill to open Memorial Bridge has passed. Important for tourism. Bridge would be in a terrible state of disrepair if we didn’t get that bill passed.
Bill for a 50-year lease for golf courses also passed. The District has three golf courses and they needed work and now with a lease of 50 years the work will be done.
I also want you to know about a meeting I do with the National Park Service. It’s a very popular meeting. You would invite me to come with NPS and we’d talk about the parks in your community owned by NPS, I invite you to keep that in mind, I would be pleased to come with them and talk with them about the parks, repairs, etc.
Dan: Thank you, that was informative, I appreciate it.
I’ll start with the first question regarding statehood. It’s great to hear it will likely pass the House, the question is how to get it passed in the Senate. With filibuster you would need to get Republicans to support it and that’s unlikely. It would seem that enfranchisement of 750k citizens would be so beneficial, this is legislation of such special democratic significance, suspending filibuster may be justified. How do we get it through?
Delegate Norton: The only thing the Senate did last year was appoint judges. We now have a great co-sponsor in the Senate, and now we control the body and it’s a different picture. We have an organization in DC called 51 for 51 and they’ve done a lot of work showing that it should take only a simple majority to get statehood for DC through. As we continue to get more and more co-sponsors we are optimistic. It won’t get through tomorrow. We will keep and grow the Senate, and keep and grow the House. I am optimistic that with the 51 for 51 strategy and defying filibuster, if we stick with it long enough and work hard enough, we will be able to get DC statehood.
Clyde: Does Delegate Norton know how many federal judges Biden will be able to nominate?
Delegate Norton: That’s a good question. As you know there are many judges, and many are retiring. Many are taking senior status.
Dan: Does Senatorial courtesy extend to appellate judges?
Delegate Norton: Senatorial courtesy extends to nominations for District court but not to the appellate court nominees. But most of those judges come through District court.
Dan: Regarding NPS parks, we do have Ft Bunker Hill Park here in our neighborhood. We have a good relationship with them through our volunteer service agreement.
Delegate Norton: I will set a meeting with NPS at your suggested time. I will get the park service there and I will be myself.
Dan: We’ve thought more about what we can do to activate that space, we have that good relationship but there is more we can do.
Delegate Norton: As you know, NPS basically cuts the grass, but they absolutely take suggestions on what to do with the parks.
Kathy: What are the plans for the fencing on Capitol Hill?
Delegate Norton: I’ve introduced a bill I call No Fencing at the Capitol. I recognize that we will need to wait until chatter dies down, that these disruptor people don’t plan to come again, before we move forward. I can’t go from my house on East Capitol down the street. What I’m trying to do is prevent any permanent fencing from being installed. The Capitol Police chief said she wanted the fences to stay up. I told her a piece of my mind. Particularly since we know that the Jan 6th riot was a failure of personnel not of fencing. We’re not going to be fenced off from our own Capitol.
Question from chat window: What support for small businesses in DC is there in the new relief bill?
Delegate Norton: Small businesses are second only to the Federal Government in significance to our economy. We have $2billion in the new relief bill and a good amount of it will go to small businesses. You’ll see broken down how much money goes to different parts.
Kaitlin Brown, Delegate Norton’s staffer: All, if there is a specific NPS issue or any other Federal issue you need assistance with, please contact our District Office at 202-408-9041 or email norton.casework[AT]mail.house.gov.
Clyde: As a result of the Jan 6 insurrection will the Capitol Police be expanded?
Delegate Norton: Yes it is being expanded. But bear in mind, they [ie, federal security officials, DOD] failed to call up the national guard or other agencies. We think that has to do with the president holding them back.
Clyde: The Sergeant-at-Arms positions are acting, is there a plan to make them permanent?
Delegate Norton: They are acting because they were fired, they were part and parcel of the reason that people could get in that day, but yes, new ones will be hired.
Ra: From your reports it sounds like you’re preparing for reelection. Are you prepared to tell us whether you are running?
Delegate Norton: Yes, I am, I get challenged from time to time and I say bring it on, I’m ready.
Dan: I would like to acknowledge Ra and our ANCs from 5B, here is Prita.
Prita: Thank you for your service to the District.
Dan: Thank you for coming, we will follow up, thank you for your time and your service. For any Federal matters, Delegate Norton’s office can be a great resource, we typically work with local agencies, but Federal issues do come up from time to time.
I’m going to back up the agenda one item and do the February Treasurer’s report.
Terence: We had a starting balance of $5,152.56, income of $506.28,from membership dues. Two donations for expenses, both reimbursed to board members Kathy and Fred, $200 each. Ending cash balance $5,258.84. Within that balance we are holding GoFundMe funds that we raised before. The net is $3,819.44. That’s my report and I would like to submit it to the Association for approval.
Dan: Questions? Everything appears to be in order. Is there a second?
Seconded. No opposed votes, report is accepted.
Dan: We appreciate your service, Terence. We appreciate his service for the past year, he’s moving on and we wish him the best.
Terence: I appreciate getting to know all of you. I thought I’d be in DC my whole life, I was born in Georgetown Hospital.
Dan: That’s a good reminder. To vote in BNCA you need to be a Brookland resident, anyone can join BNCA.
We have 7 officer positions. We agreed a year ago to do elections on Zoom format, we will do it again that way. The way that we have done elections in past couple years, was to vote on the slate by acclamation, which means we’re voting on the entire slate. We can take one vote. I would suggest we use the chat to vote. If you are uncomfortable voting in public you can vote anonymously in a chat direct message to the recording secretary. I will open the floor to the question of whether we should proceed this way. I’m not seeing anybody speaking up. A voting member in good standing, you live in Brookland, own property, own a business, or run an organization in Brookland. The boundaries are Rhode Island Avenue to the south, railroad tracks to the west, as far north as Buchanan, and then to South Dakota and to 18th. Does anybody have questions about qualifications? Not seeing any.
I move that we conduct this election by vote of acclamation. Is there a second?
Vote in chat: 18 yeas, no nays. Unanimous.
Dan: Let’s proceed. Are there nominations for President?
Kathy: I nominate Dan Schramm.
Dan: I accept the nomination.
Dan: I nominate Kathy Jacquart for Vice President.
Kathy: I accept.
Dan: I nominate Joe Miller for Treasurer.
Joe Miller: I accept.
Dan: At large member:
From the membership: I nominate Fred Jackson.
Fred: I accept.
Ra: Have you ever thought about expanding and adding at-large seats?
Dan: Thanks for bringing that up, Ra. We’d have to table that for further conversation before acting on it. We amended by-laws a few years ago to expand the board from 4 to 7, and we added at-large at that time. We can follow up further and see if that’s something the board wants to do.
Dan: Elise is not here right now but we can nominate her for the Communications role in absentia and I will nominate her.
Dan: I’ll mark her down as far as I know she’s interested. For Recording Secretary: Helen has served in the role and is stepping down. Is there anyone who would like to nominate or self- nominate for the position?
Clyde: I nominate Chris Matthews.
Chris: I decline.
Dan: We will leave this position open. It’s fine to come back to it, if someone comes forward in the term. We can fill a position through a special election. We’ll come back to it.
René: I nominate myself for membership coordinator.
Dan: I move that nominations be closed.
Dan: Is anyone opposed? Hearing none, we have closed nominations. We’ll vote by acclamation for this slate. Please record your vote in chat, vote yea or nay or abstain.
Unanimous (15 votes in favor, none opposed, zero abstentions).
Dan: Thanks everyone and I look forward to working with you.
Dan: Let’s move forward to announcements. Breadcoin reached out a few weeks ago, I will let Cary Umhau from Breadcoin explain how her model works. The officers talked about it at our last meeting, we have funds from our fundraising campaign and officers voted to dedicate some of our funds for donation of some kind to Breadcoin. There’s a role for bringing Brookland business to the Breadcoin network, giving them access to revenue stream, and partnering with nonprofits here to get Breadcoins to people in our community in need.
René: Cary sent answers to the questions the officers and businesses had. I’ll send what I have to Dan and he can share widely with membership.
Cary: Thanks for having me. Breadcoin is a tool to create microeconomy in neighborhood: feed people who are hungry, help businesses, and connect silos. A coin is a physical object. Value is $2.20. We have members, who are individuals who pay $25 monthly to put coins into a neighborhood. $3 of that goes to mint coins and run the show. Members give donations, which go to the foundation, and that council makes decisions about which neighborhoods will balance our three objectives and get the coins redeemed effectively. We identify nonprofits that are in relationship with people. We don’t fund hunger nonprofits. We fund schools, religious congregations, MPD outreach teams, ONSE gets them for funeral repasts. It’s at the discretion of a nonprofit to give them out however they feel best. People with coins can go to restaurants and will see a Breadcoin menu converting coins to menu prices. Without stigma and dignity. Our nonprofit has a team captain and they hand us the physical coin, we complete a form on a phone and then they get a direct deposit within 2 business days. Vendors are eligible to apply for microloans to grow their business. Small interest and are paid back in breadcoins. We sterilize the coins and repackage them and get them out again. At Tastemakers we have Captain Cookie and OMG Latin Flavors. We also have Ravenhook Bakehouse and the rib place. What we don’t have is a distribution partner. We are in conversation with Noyes but with getting kids back to school it’s not a priority. Dan introduced us to Emma Brownstein of Greater Brookland Intergenerational Village and Patricia Fraser of Brookland Union Baptist Church. Brownstein was interested but her people aren’t necessarily food insecure but they want to be involved. Patricia was excited and took it to the pastor. Jennie Light from Bluebird Sky was excited to distribute coins at the yoga studio. People outside DC and Baltimore can be members. We can also do events. If there are events, we do catering and serve people in bulk at an event.
René: If a Breadcoin is given to someone in Brookland, and one of businesses provide support but they don’t know where that person lives, can they do that–go to any Breadcoin anywhere?
Cary: Yes, people can use Breadcoin anywhere they want to go where Breadcoin is accepted. Children’s Hospital are accepting Breadcoin, and are giving them out via social workers. We don’t accept vendors if we don’t think there are hungry or food insecure people nearby.
Dan: There’s a Ronald McDonald house in Brookland.
Cary: we have a team that specializes in reaching out to vendors and nonprofits. We support what you tell us your community needs.
Prita: Have you connected with Sterling short term housing on Rhode Island Avenue? I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the folks there and can connect you.
Cary: I know of it. That would be great, thank you.
Helen: What about Mary House?
Cary: Yes, they looked great. Non bureaucratic, relationship. Entities can become members, $250/month. We are rolling in the area. We’re committed to beefing up what’s happening from Brookland.
Question: Are you partnering with schools?
Cary: We’re in conversation with Noyes, otherwise not yet in Brookland. We do have partnerships with other schools elsewhere.
Kathy: What about Seabury?
Dan: Yes, good idea, I will contact them.
Kathy: Can it pay for delivery?
Cary: Most restaurants don’t have a point-of-sale system that can handle this currency. Many vendors are ok taking calls from folks saying they’re planning on paying in breadoin, so folks can walk in and then walk out while food is being prepped to maintain safety. We hope to become digital with this currency.
Dan: Do you work with groceries or convenience stores?
Cary: Restaurants only for now. In other places that have tried that, a black market was emerging. People were using coins to buy food and then reselling goods on black market. To be more accountable to members and funders we would have higher chance of feeding someone if it’s prepared food. That’s why we pay for food or drink but not alcohol.
René: SNAP works in the opposite way. It works for non-prepared foods.
Cary: Yes we are working with a market in Park View where vendors are selling hot food. People don’t have access to the kitchen and need a hot meal right now.
Dan: Thank you for being here. A few different ways we can continue to engage. I would like to encourage everybody to become a member on your own. Supports people with food needs and supporting local businesses. The board and particularly René will continue to make connections with vendors in the community.
Cary: We have a monthly meeting, where everybody can come hear about the program. If you become a member and you get an email from the director thanking you and you can respond back to that and say that you want to have it designated for Brookland. For volunteer opportunities, please contact me via email.
Dan: Thank you Cary, Now we’ll have ANC commissioners announcements and those from CM McDuffie’s Office.
CM McDuffie’s liaison Marita Crawford Riddick: CM McDuffie will have calls with Ward 5 leadership to discuss concerns, particularly public safety. We have gotten information from DPW regarding a program to help seniors get trash to alley and snow collection, they have to go online and fill out a form on DPW website. There was a community engagement survey that went out to leaders and residents, tomorrow is the last day to complete the survey to provide input. DMV sent out a notice, encouraging travelers outside the District, to get appointments online to renew issues. Go to DMV and print out a moratorium that states DC is under emergency and their docs from DMV are valid until 45 days after the public health emergency is lifted. That’s all I have. CM McDuffie has been talking about REACH act, equity, reparations, vaccines. Making sure most vulnerable are in position to get vaccines.
Prita: We have our February 5B meeting, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., a meeting link is on the 5B website. Commissioner Gayle Carley 5B01 is hosting a special resolution to address zoning matters on Shepherd Street, that’s Monday 22nd, we’re updating the website with that invo. There will be a Zoom link. We are still recruiting for committee, we’d like to have rep from each SMD to serve on each committee, advisory capacity. Please reach out to me or Ra or your SMD to learn more. Zoning, transportation, Abra, are some of our committees.
Dan: Commissioners Higgins kicked this off–subcommittees to look at perennial issues to get people organized around that. It’s a great idea.
Ra: We have a meeting coming up and CM McDuffie will attend a meeting to talk about REACH act and the racial equity agenda. I’m the host commissioner for the February meeting. We have representatives to talk about health equity, transportation, etc. Emma and others will be there to talk about equity issues. And the special meeting is coming up and it’s important, there are several raze permits coming into 5B. People are buying properties, razing, and building multiunit buildings.
Also, ANC 5B is setting up advisory committees, including a committee on development issues. Commissioner Carley will lead that. [Former BNCA president] Caroline Petti will be on it.
Dan: Thanks, please send to me via email and I’ll make sure it gets around to people. Officers are talking about raze permits too. Hoping to have some agenda time dedicated to this in coming months. Is there anything the community can do related to that.
René: Yard Sale is potentially returning. DC is doing road repairs. Happy Trails to Helen and Terence.
Dan: Yes, the Yard Sale might be back. Stay tuned for more info.