Black Lives Matter supporters give public testimony at the Minneapolis City Council budget hearing by Tony Webster licensed under Creative Commons.

Are you happy—or frustrated—with how the DC government is doing its job? Let elected officials know! The DC Council will be holding performance oversight and budget hearings for each department and agency over the next few weeks. This is your chance to weigh in with the powerful people who hold those agencies accountable, and decide how much money they get and what they should spend it on.

GWash Founder David Alpert has some tips: “The performance hearing is a great opportunity to have concerns or issues (and praise is good too, when warranted!) heard by both agency heads and councilmembers with oversight. The budget hearing is the time to give input on the budget for the agencies and their programs. Witness lists are usually set up first come first served, so if you sign up early, you will not have to wait so long on the days in question.”

Check out the full performance oversight and budget hearings schedules here. We've added hearings about the following urbanism-related agencies to our GGWash calendar:

  • Office of Zoning and the Office of Planning
  • Department of Housing and Community Development and the Housing Production Trust Fund
  • DDOT, the Bicycle Advisory Council, and the Pedestrian Advisory Council
  • DC Housing Authority
  • Department of Public Works and the Food Policy Council
  • Department of Energy and the Environment and the Council on Climate Change and Resiliency
  • Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Real Estate Commission, Board of Real Estate Appraisers, Rental Housing Commission, Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Tenant Advocate, and the Condominium Association Advisory Council

We hope you'll sign up to testify at whichever of those upcoming hearings need to hear your views!

Other events from around the region:

Monday, February 4

Influence Montgomery County's budget: As he works on the new FY20 operating budget, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich wants you to know that “it is very important for me to hear from the public as we prepare the budget” and as such, he invites “residents, our business community and nonprofit representatives to attend any of the upcoming budget forums to let me know your priorities.”

Chime in at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (4301 East West Hwy, Bethesda) starting at 7 pm. Input from this hearing will influence the budget that Elrich releases on March 15 and that the County Council will review and approve by the end of May. Find more information here.

Tuesday, February 5

Weigh in on Dupont protected bike lanes: ANC2B is meeting to discuss potential protected bicycle lanes on 20th, 21st, or 22nd Street in Dupont Circle, as well as other agenda items. The meeting is at 7 pm at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), located at 1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Room 500. Don't forget to bring your ID; see more information here.

Share opinions about good and bad transit: If you read this site, odds are that you, ahem, have opinions about transit. Join the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Island Press for a author talk with “Houston-based community leader, urban planner, and transit enthusiast Christof Spieler, whose book Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit profiles 47 metropolitan rail and bus systems. Spieler takes an honest look at what makes good and bad transit, and is not afraid to look at what went wrong.”

Meet the author and gab with fellow transit enthusiasts at the Smith Public Trust (3514 12th St NE) at 6:30 pm. Sign up to attend here; a cash bar will be available.

Divine what will happen to Howard's School of Divinity property: Howard University’s 23-acre School of Divinity property is being redeveloped, and you're invited to “join Howard University and its master development team, FLGA ZOM, for [their] first Howard University East Campus design charette! During this interactive event, [they] will be listening to the community, sharing information and working together to help guide the reimagination of the Howard University East Campus site.”

The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Michigan Park Christian Church (1600 Taylor St. NE), and refreshments will be provided. Get more information here, and RSVP to attend.

Wednesday, February 6

Confront the housing shortage: Join Ed Lazere, the Executive Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and “longtime housing advocate and tax policy expert” to explore “what are the right priorities and solutions for addressing the homelessness and affordable housing needs of DC and other major cities?”

From 6 to 8 pm at the Partnership for Public Service offices (1100 New York Avenue NW Suite 200), participate in “a discussion about what works and what doesn’t work when trying to invest in economic development and grow jobs.” The event is free but you must RSVP to attend.

Open doors to your new home: The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) invites you to “come out and learn how you can purchase your home in the District using a DC Open Doors mortgage product with Francki DiFrancesco, Apex Mortgage and JackWang, Real Living At Home Real Estate.” The free session is from 6 to 7:30 pm at the DCHFA office (815 Florida Avenue NW). Register to attend here.

Live a little more around Rock Creek: From 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Shepherd Park Neighborhood Library (7420 Georgia Ave NW), hear from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) about its Rock Creek East I Livability Study “to enhance the community quality of life through improvements to transportation safety and connections to destinations for all modes.

At the first public workshop, DDOT will introduce the project, share data collection, and provide opportunities for participants to share existing concerns. The study area is defined by Rock Creek and the Maryland border to the West, Eastern Avenue the North, New Hampshire Avenue NE and the Red Line Metrorail tracks to the East, and Military Road NW, Missouri Avenue NW, and Riggs Road NE to the South.” Find out more and register here.

Thursday, February 7

Oversee DC housing agencies' performance: The first of the hearing series described at the top of this post that GGWash has flagged starts at 10 am in Room 123 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW). This hearing will address performance oversight of the Real Estate Commission, Board of Real Estate Appraisers, Rental Housing Commission, Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Tenant Advocate, and the Condominium Association Advisory Council. Anyone who wishes to testify should contact Oscar Montiel to sign up.

Bring your lunch to a workforce housing meeting: From 12 to 1:30 pm at the West End Library Public Meeting Room (2301 L St NW), “join Somerset Development Company project manager Patrick McAnaney, Enterprise Community Partners Mid-Atlantic State & Local Policy Director Melissa Bondi, and Coalition for Smarter Growth Policy Director Cheryl Cort to discuss the results of a new research paper about workforce housing in DC.

Workforce housing policies and subsidies are intended to fill the gap between what workers earn and what they can afford—but those that exist don't fully account for the fact that eight of the 20 most common types of jobs in DC earn well below what it costs to afford rent or own a home in the city.” Sign up here to “discuss the numbers behind workforce housing, and possible solutions.”

Friday, February 8

Spite winter and bike to work: Celebrate Winter Bike to Work Day (WBTWD) with BikeArlington and the National Park Service from 7 to 9 am at their “pit stop at Gravelly Point (along the Mount Vernon Trail near the Capital Bikeshare station) for swag and mingling with fellow WBTWD riders.

If you are new to WBTWD, receive a pair of Capital Bikeshare gloves (great for keeping fingers toasty!). If you are a returning rider, bring a new friend and you’ll both receive gloves. Register to ride if you’re biking to work that day (it’s free!), even if you can’t make it to the pit stop. Invite your friends, colleagues, and family to join the fun.”

Check out more urbanist events at Do you have an event you'd like to see featured in the weekly events post? Submit it here.