To: Members of the Council of the District of Columbia
From: Councilmember Mary M. Cheh
Date: May 24, 2017
Subject: The District’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
Tomorrow, we will begin our joint discussions of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. As a convenience to Members, this memorandum highlights the budget recommendations from my office. The recommendations are divided into Committee and Non-Committee proposals, as detailed below.
- Allocate $12.6 million in capital funds to the District Department of Transportation to convert all District street lights back to incandescent lights. Residents have expressed concerns with DDOT’s current program of converting our streetlights to LEDs. Those residents have informed the Committee that LED lights disturb the migratory patterns of birds, interrupt sleep cycles, cause irreparable eye damage, result in infertility, produce loose stools, and may actually be to blame for the outcome of the recent election.
- Transfer $125,000 from the Department of Motor Vehicles to the District Department of Transportation for a new Safe Route to Coops Program to help backyard chickens safely cross the road. The District government has long wondered eggsactly why chickens cross the road. The Council bawks at a District where an inquisitive hen cannot cross a road without being cocksure of her safety. As the flock of chickens grows in the District, DDOT must stay abreast of the increase in hens seeking to cross our roads. These chickens will certainly cross the road afowl of crossing regulations, putting them in the way of mini-coop-ers, hatchbacks, clucksury vehicles, and other speeding cars. The Safe Routes to Coops Program, which will be a feather in the Safe Routes to Schools Program, would increase the safety of the District’s chickens through the use of new signage, Metro crow-nouncements, and crossing guards in neighborhoods with yards large enough to permit chicken coops. The Council must cock-a-doodle-do something about this growing risk immediately.
- Recognize a transfer of $200,000 from the Department of Health to the District Department of Energy and Environment to fund the Flushable Fish Education Campaign. According to DC Water, certain species of pet fish, when flushed down the toilet, are responsible for millions of dollars of infrastructure damage. As such, DOEE’s Flushable Fish Campaign will educate residents on which species of fish are safe to flush down the toilet, as well as require proper labeling by pet store owners.
- Allocate $5 billion to DDOT for an independent hot air balloon transit system from Anacostia to Georgetown because why the hell not? Potential names include HotAirShare, Lift, and The Balloondoggle.
- Allocate $360,000 to the Department of Parks & Recreation to designate all topiaries, hedges over five feet, and certain ex-presidents as Heritage Bushes. As the District does not have jurisdiction over federal lands, the District should send an additional recommendation to DPS that all bushes at or above “Spicer Height” or approximately 5’9” also be designated as Heritage Bushes.
Non- Committee Recommendations
- Transfer $750,000 to create a new Office of Russian Affairs. With the arrival of a new First Family, the Council recognizes that thousands of newly-hired White House and executive agency staff will be uprooting their lives in distant lands to move into the District. Therefore, a new office will be necessary to focus on the unique needs of this population, and to help them maintain the culture of their homeland. Planned programming includes Dostoyevsky readings, vodka tasting, shirtless horseback-riding, and basic skills for the aspiring cybercriminal.
- The Committee has received the following request from federal official John Miller: “Many people have said that Ivanka’s line is the sexiest, smartest, best clothing out there. Everyone wants to wear her stuff: celebrities, CEOs, top government officials…it’s fantastic. The loosers [sic] in FAKE NEWS won’t share these great, true facts with the District residents. Sad! Really, her collection is HUGELY successful.” Taking this sage advice, the Committee recommends transferring $300,000 to the Office of Cable Television to produce and air commercials for the Ivanka Trump Collection on Channel 13.
- Transfer $340,000 in recurring funds to DSLBD for the creation of a new business certification, the Donor Business Enterprise (DBE). This new classification would provide preference points for campaign contributors seeking government contracts. This system would bypass the hassle of having to figure out which companies had appropriately shared their largess with executive branch officials. By establishing a program with certification on the front end, officials at OCP and DGS can reduce wait times on contract awards.
- Reduce the DC Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board by $214 million and 72.5 FTEs, leaving $1 million and 1.0 FTE. The Committee expects that this generous salary of $1 million will lure back beloved Chancellor, Kaya Henderson, who can then just pick the winners.
- Allocate $10,000 from the Chairman’s Discretionary Fund for an alternative Council breakfast. Too often, the menus at our breakfasts are thrown together without members’ input and fail to satisfy the immediate hunger that Councilmembers feel in the morning. The District is facing a hostile White House that encourages residents to eat their steak overcooked and slathered with ketchup. It is important that our menu reflect diverse culinary traditions and include dishes such as potatoes, pasta, and other substantive foodstuffs. The type of breakfast better reflects the District’s values and will fuel a more progressive agenda at the subsequent Legislative Meeting. The Committee understands that an At-Large Councilmember will be providing a location and date.
- Paid Family Leave Act of 2017. This new variation on the original measure would, in fact, pay families to leave. In funding this innovative program, the Committee hopes this more literal interpretation of the bill will both sidestep the thorny issues associated with previous versions and solve the District’s affordable housing crisis. Given the success of the pilot initiative involving Rep. Jason Chafetz, the Committee hopes the program will assist in the relocation of many of his other Republican colleagues on the Hill.
- Primary Modernization Act of 2017. Under this Act, Councilmembers will be permitted to Choose Your Own Primary Date. The Council’s recent history of moving primary dates has made it difficult both for candidates and residents. Given the historically low turnouts in these elections, it’s clear the electorate isn’t paying attention anyway, and the date might as well be whatever works best for members seeking re-election.
- The NEARLY Act, included as a proposed BSA subtitle in the Committee’s budget report. This act would provide intensive behavioral therapy, wrap-around services, and anger management seminars for Councilmembers whose bills consistently fail to emerge from Committee or whose bills are referred away from their chairmanship. Social-Emotional Intelligence trainings will be provided by the DCPS Chancellor.
The Committee acknowledges that its recommendations have not been certified by the OCFO and that figures provided are place holders; actual amounts must be obtained through a FOIA request.