Councilmember Charles Allen at Tuesday Night’s ANC6B Meeting
CM Charles Allen on Vaccinations, Capitol Fences, and Public Safety
by Larry Janezich
CM Charles Allen addressed ANC6B last night regarding a number of current issues facing the City Council and the city.
Vaccine Update: Allen says he is frustrated like everybody else about the way the city has set up the vaccination system; pitting neighbor against neighbor in the search for vaccination appointments is not the best way to proceed. He and other council members have recommended a one-time registration with appointments then scheduled by the Department of Health as the vaccine becomes available. He noted that not everybody can be online at 9:00am, and this leads to disparity. Likewise, prioritizing by zip codes is not the right geography.
The Department of Health is meeting this week to make some changes in the Tiers regulating eligibility for receiving vaccinations. Some of the changes likely to be included are to insure earlier access to the vaccine for pregnant women and to further break down the next eligible age group (18 – 64), perhaps to a 50 – 64 year old population. He said that changes agreed to would likely be announced later this week.
Capitol Fences: Thursday night, February 11, Congresswoman Norton will host a virtual town hall on the impact of the U.S. Capitol attack on D.C. residents and public spaces at 6:00 p.m. All D.C. residents are invited to attend. Charles Allen and representatives from the U.S. Capitol Police will also attend. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP by emailing NortonEvents@mail.house.gov.
Allen said that the US Capitol Police is proposing a razor wire permanent fence around the Capitol. “I am absolutely opposed”, Allen said, adding that “we have to make Members of Congress safe as well as neighbors and staffers, but the answer is inside of the Capitol and inside the Capitol Police. A giant fence with razor wire is the lazy was to address the problem – it’s not a good look for the community.” He noted that a number of ANC’s are passing resolutions opposing a permanent fence around the Capitol Grounds, and urged ANC6B to consider doing the same. ANC6B later unanimously passed a resolution Bike and Pedestrian Access Through Capitol Grounds – see here: http://bit.ly/36x1lrk
Public Safety: Allen noted two categories of crime which have seen marked increases over a year ago – gun violence and carjackings and thefts. One positive step regarding the former, he said, was the appointment of Linda Harllee Harper, the city’s new Director of Gun Violence Prevention – a position created under legislation sponsored by Allen. Her job will include looking at the root causes of gun violence including behavior, housing, and education well as the trauma of gun violence. Harper’s mission is to bring agencies across the administration to bear upon the problem. Allen called the increase in gun violence a public health emergency exacerbated by the pandemic that will take more than the police to resolve.
Carjackings are occurring across the entire city. There is no targeting of cars or persons, rather these seem to be crimes of opportunity. MPD has created a carjacking task force focusing energy on this. Allen said he has consulted the Attorney General to see if there are ways for that office to intervene. He said every city is seeing this phenomenon right now and that these crimes are being committed by young people – including juveniles. Allen said that societal structures closed by the pandemic are contributing to the problem.