• DC Mayor Gives First Address To The Capital

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, in her first address to the capital city Tuesday night, promised extra help for young “boys and men of color” in the city to “narrow the achievement gap that is all too pervasive in America today.”

    The new mayor even found a way to reference the racial violence that blew up in Ferguson, Mo. last year, saying she will work tirelessly to make the popular term “black lives matter” “more than just a hashtag.”

    Bowser announced earlier in the day Tuesday her plan to partner with businesses in the city the offer year-long internships to young black men, but only those who have read President Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

    Last year Bowser invited 100 boys to read Obama’s book and use it as a way to examine themselves so they can “improve themselves by improving their communities.”

    “None of the participants are looking for a hand out; they are looking for a hand up,” she said.

    She then guaranteed the boys internships, calling it a fresh start.

    Bowser committed $20 million to an initiative to launch an all-male public high school exclusively for “young boys and men of color.”

    “We know we have to do a better job at engaging these students and accelerating the pace of academic achievement so they have an equal chance of being successful in college, career and life,” Bowser said. “They aren’t failing themselves. We are failing them.”

    She also promised a new era of transparency and accessibility in the local government, with body cameras on every D.C. police officer and the launch of a new website that will allow third-party developers to access government data.

    “It’s the right thing to do for our officers and our residents,” Bowser said. “Accountability is embedded in everything this administration does.”

    Last October, the district police department launched a pilot program to test the use of body cameras, and Bowser said the program was such a success, it will be rolled out to the entire department over the next year and a half.

    The “OpenDC” web-portal will allow developers to use government data to create new apps that would be useful for residents, to help find public transportation or information about social services, for instance.

    “We will celebrate innovation – not just the type that rewards you with love by swiping right or delivers a ride with a few taps,” Bowser said joking about the popular dating app “Tinder” and the Uber ride-sharing app.

    Bowser used her parents as an example to show what it means to be middle class in a city like D.C., with ever rising housing costs. Bowser’s parents, she said, bought their house in 1960 when the average house in the city cost around three times a family’s average income. Today, though, Bowser said housing costs around six times a family’s average income, which leads to issues with homelessness.

    She laid out her vision for the future by echoing the “pathway to the middle class” talking points she has been pushing all week in the lead up to the citywide address. Bowser said she would completely eliminate homelessness in the district by 2025.

    In order to eliminate homelessness in the city, Bowser said she would invest heavily in affordable housing through a $100 million trust fund each year’s budget, and would shutter the troubled homeless shelter in the old D.C. General Hospital, in favor of smaller “transitional housing” in all parts of the district.

    Bowser also said economic development in the city could lead to D.C. hosting the 2018 MLB All Star game and possibly a Super Bowl in the near future.

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