27 June 2006

Environmental Community Mayoral Forum Thursday, June 29th

Image from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association
I know it's been circulating around the local interwebs, but I wanted to give credit to a neighbor from Friends of the Earth who passed this info along to me. Thanks, neighbor!

D.C. Environmental Network

American Rivers - Anacostia Coordinating Council - Anacostia Watershed Society Audubon Naturalist Society - Beyond Pesticides - Bluewater Network - Casey Trees Endowment Fund - Chesapeake Bay Foundation - Center for Food Safety - Chesapeake Climate Action Network - Clean Water Action - Coalition for Smarter Growth - Container Recycling Institute - DC Environmental Education Consortium - DC Fiscal Policy Institute - DC Smart Schools - DC Statehood Green Party - Friends of the Earth - Global Green - Green Spaces for DC - Howard Environmental Law Society - Institute for Local Self Reliance - No DC Taxes for Baseball - Safer Neighborhoods Campaign - Sierra Club - Washington Area Bicyclist Association - Washington Parks and People - Washington Regional Network - Watts Branch Alliance - Wholeness for Humanity


Who: Michael Brown, Chairman Linda Cropp, Councilmember Adrian Fenty, and Chris Otten

What: District of Columbia environmental organizations, individuals and activists to hold a Mayoral Forum featuring issues highlighted in the soon to be released DC Environmental Agenda. Candidates will have an opportunity to present their environmental vision for the District to residents and explain their thoughts on issues that most directly impact the environmental health of our communities. Organizations that are interested in tabling at the event should contact the Washington Area Bicyclist Association / WABA.

When: Thursday, June 29, 2006, 6:30-9:00pm

Where: Cramton Auditorium, Howard University, 2455 6th Street NW (The Howard University Office of Parking and Shuttle Operations will provide complimentary shuttle service from the Howard University/Shaw Metro Station)
Free valet bike parking will be available at the forum courtesy of WABA.

Why: In 1999, twelve District environmental organizations created the first ever Environmental Agenda for the District of Columbia. This agenda was a collaborative effort of citizen activists to chart a course for environmental protection. It recognized that a new Mayor and Council would have an opportunity to reverse some of the negative trends of years past and promote working towards a more livable city for all residents. It made recommendations, for action and drew upon the collective wisdom of many District environmental leaders as well as successful initiatives in other parts of the country.

Today in 2006, the Summit Fund of Washington and over 30 environmental, health, faith, citizen and civic organizations are answering a call to action by participating in creating a new environmental agenda for the District. This new agenda will build on the successes of the past six years and will set a new standard of environmental excellence for the District. A preview of some of the focus areas include:

· Clean Rivers - While some progress has been made cleaning up the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek, much work still needs to be done. Recommendations will include doing more to effectively manage stormwater and increase efforts to find funding for important repairs to our aging infrastructure.
· Safe Drinking Water - With efforts to decrease the amount of lead in our drinking water under way, recommendations will focus on making sure we avoid a future drinking water crisis.
· Solid Waste - Making sure real progress is made in implementing both curbside and commercial recycling efforts will be an agenda focus. Ways in which the District can expand and enhance other successful solid waste programs will be highlighted.
· Public Health - With the increased prevalence of toxic chemicals in our communities and bodies the public health section will focus on implementing a biomonitoring program that will test for toxics in people. A first step towards developing effective policies that will protect District residents.
· Protection of Parks and Trees - Although significant progress has been made, we still have much to do to reverse 30 years of tree canopy loss. Recommendations focus on the development of comprehensive strategies and management systems to plant and care for trees on both public and private property.
· Transportation - Creating Complete Streets: DC transportation planning, design and construction should result in streets that are designed with bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users in mind. The use of alternative modes of transportation should be encouraged through changes in parking and tax policy, and zoning regulations.
· Green Schools - Greening D.C.’s schools and making sure our children have a safe place to learn and grow will be a focus.
· Global Warming - A new and significant addition will be global warming recommendations for candidates about local solutions such as clean car legislation.
· Smart Growth Platform - Directing the region’s growth near metro stations, reinvesting in parks and public spaces, implementing the Comprehensive Housing Strategy and increased support for walking, bicycling and transit will be incorporated.
· Homeland Security - Implementing policies that stop terrorists from having the tools to create chemical and other environmental threats that could potentially kill thousands in our region will be an important element.
· Food Safety and Security - Promoting greater food nutrition education, bringing local healthy food to school cafeterias, securing markets for local producers, and increasing the availability of fresh produce to lower-income neighborhoods is the focus of our recommendations in this section.
· Budget Transparency - Recommendations to make the DC government’s budget process more accessible and transparent.

Together, these proposals will chart a course toward excellence in the provision of city services and the protection of public health. As we believed in 1999, restoration of environmental quality in the District is a pro-business, pro-economic growth platform that more and more public officials are starting to embrace and act on.

I've also been alerted that both Marie Johns and Vincent Orange may be able to attend. Finally, I'm available to attend a forum; personally, I want to hear what Johns has to say. At the same time, I look forward to the amusement Orange's environmental platform would bring...I envision something along the lines of, "I brought you a Home Depot [insert pat on back]. Only in Ward 5 can you purchase their sustainable wood and lead-free pipes....What about that Giant? They have three organic cereals! And no trees were hurt in the process of plastering my campaign swag across the District...."

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