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June 2010 Issue of The Thomas Connection Newsletter

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     The Thomas Connection
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2010

       The Thomas Connection
      June 2010                                                                     Volume 4, Issue 6

      Building Bridges, Finding Solutions, People First

      In This Issue...
      Thomas Delivers State of the Ward Address
      Funding Restored for New Edgewood Recreation Center
      Measure to Tax Nonresident District Government Workers at Revenue Source Included in FY2011 Budget
      Rhode Island Station Breaks Ground
      Thomas Participates in Health Eating, Active Living Conference
      Thomas Delivers State of the Ward Address
      Ward 5 Councilmember Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr. delivered his annual state of the ward address on June 1, 2010. More than 300 residents attended the event, which was held at Archbishop Carroll High School. Councilmember Thomas discussed the gains he has attained for Ward 5 since being sworn in on January 2, 2007, especially in the area of connecting residents to jobs, including:

      · Securing the former Bertie Backus Middle School for UDC's community college and workforce training program.

      · Negotiating job readiness training as part of community benefits packages for Ward 5 development projects.

      · Introducing legislation to increase residency requirements for development projects receiving government funding of $200,000 or more.

      · Partnering with Goodwill to offer green jobs training for Ward 5 residents.

      · Joining with Forman Mills to hold a job fair and hire 75 Ward 5 residents.

      · Sponsoring legislation to add an adult evening vocational program at Phelps. 

      Funding Restored for New Edgewood Recreation Center 
      During the Council's recent review of the Mayor's FY2011-FY2016 capital budget, Councilmember Thomas, in his capacity as Chair of the Council's Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation, restored $14 million to fund construction of a new Edgewood Recreation Center. The capital budget, as proposed by the Mayor, had pushed funding for a new center into FY2014 and beyond, allocating only $1 million in FY2014 and $2 million in FY2016. The remaining $11 million necessary to complete the project was not included.
       The Edgewood neighborhood, which has lost several young people to violence in recent years, has a large number of children who need a clean and safe place in which to play. "A new Edgewood Recreation Center will enable us to accommodate more children and expand programming," said Councilmember Thomas.

       Further demonstrating his commitment to Edgewood, Councilmember Thomas' support was instrumental in securing NFL funding for a new ball field for Beacon House, an organization that supports at-risk youth and families in Edgewood Terrace. The ribbon cutting for the new ball field was held on May 15, 2010. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, DPR Interim Director Jesus Aguirre, Redskins team owner Dan Snyder, and Tight End Chris Cooley also participated in the celebration.

      Measure to Tax Nonresident District Government Workers at Revenue Source Included in FY2011 Budget
      At the Council's budget deliberations on May 20, 2010, Councilmember Thomas introduced a
      measure to impose a tax on nonresident District government workers and contractors and whose incomes are derived from locally appropriated dollars. The proposed tax would generate approximately $70 million.

      The District of Columbia's budget includes $5 billion of local appropriations. The salaries of the District government's work force, of whom roughly 70 percent live outside the city's limits, total more than $1 billion. Because only incomes generated from local appropriations would be taxed, the assessment would not be a commuter tax. The measure also echoes similar practices in cities like Philadelphia. "If District tax dollars are paying a District government worker's salary, then it is only fair that we have the ability to tax those salaries at the source," said Thomas.  

      Rhode Island Station Breaks Ground
      The Rhode Island Station project is officially underway! Councilmember Thomas joined Mayor Fenty, Deputy Mayor Santos, former Ward 5 Councilmember Orange, and the Urban Atlantic team at the ground breaking ceremony on May 18, 2010. The project will bring much-needed retail to Ward 5.
      Thomas Participates in Health Eating, Active Living Conference 
      On May 11, 2010, Councilmember Thomas participated in a panel discussion on obesity prevention at the Healthy Eating, Active Living: DC 2010 conference, held at Gallaudet University. According to the DC Department of Health, more than half of all adults and one third of children living in the District are overweight or obese. The District also has extreme racial disparities related to obesity: fewer than one in ten white residents is obese, compared with one out of every three African Americans. 
      As part of his personal commitment to fight obesity, Councilmember Thomas introduced the "Sense of the Council District of Columbia Healthy Eating Active Living Declaration Resolution of 2010" at the Council's May 4, 2010 legislative session. To promote wellness within the city and to set an example for businesses, the resolution calls for the Government of the District of Columbia to implement an employee wellness program within 18 months. The program should offer employee  incentives for healthy eating and physical activity, establish physical activity breaks for meetings lasting more than one hour, and encourage walking meetings. and use of stairways. 

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