WASHINGTON, DC – DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Anita Bonds held a joint-roundtable Thursday February 4th on protecting the rights of tenants at the Congress Heights Metro Station. The purpose of this roundtable was to provide a forum to discuss the actions of politically-connected developers over the last two years to remove low income tenants from apartment units in Congress Heights in order to make way for a new development.

“These tenants are being forced out under slum-like conditions,” Mendelson said. “And the result will be much less affordable housing in Ward 8.”

According to a lawsuit filed by the Office of the Attorney General against Sanford Capital and its affiliates, complaints include rodents, bedbug infestations, improperly maintained plumbing facilities, lack of heat, lack of hot water, defective electrical outlets, and, in at least one case, a structurally unsound ceiling that collapsed on tenants. The Council is concerned about Sanford Capital’s dangerous disregard for the basic welfare of its tenants.

“What’s going on with this project speaks to what’s really going on with affordability in this city,” Mendelson pointed out. “On the one hand we talk about trying to preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing, while on the other hand we turn a blind eye to wealthy developers seeking to destroy low income housing in the pursuit of profit. When one looks at what’s actually happening with the housing conditions that these tenants are forced to live in, you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some criminal intent.”



Phil in the News

Some news stories from the past week involving Chairman Mendelson:

DC Paid Leave Hearing to Focus on Economic Impact – D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson says the District will pass some form of paid leave mandate. He says he wants “a worker-friendly bill that is good for businesses.”  [NBC4]

Creation of New Metro Safety Group Pushed Back to 2017 – “This is crazy,” said Phil Mendelson, the chairman of the DC Council. He blamed bureaucrats within the transportation departments in the two states and the District for not moving quickly enough.  “They missed a deadline. They missed it not by a day or a week or an hour, they missed it by a year,” he said.  [WAMU]

DC Paid Family Leave Proposal Faces Two Hurdles: Cost and Mayor Bowser – The Council is set to hold a third hearing on the bill in February, at which point an amended version of the proposal could be presented for consideration, said Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. He has said that there is enough support on the Council to pass some version of the paid-leave bill.  [WAMU]

Phil in the News

Happy New Year!  Chairman Mendelson and his office hope your family is having a happy 2016 so far.  Here are some news stories from the past week (and new year!) involving the Chairman:

Council Upholds Emergency Ban on Cannabis Clubs After Members Change Votes – Mendelson explained that he supported the prohibition on cannabis clubs along with Mayor Muriel Bowser=&0=&and police Chief Cathy Lanier in order to remove ambiguity for law enforcement agents.  “I’m surprised at these comments [against the ban] because [the bill] continues legislation that was supported unanimously [last year],” Mendelson said. “The origin was from the executive and in particular the chief of police.”  [Washington City Paper]

Tardies at All DC Schools Would Not Count as Absences Under Proposed Law – This legislation will enable our government to continue the progress towards reducing truancy,” Mendelson said in a statement. “Most people think of truancy as an educational issue, which it is, but it also is an indicator of children at risk for entering the juvenile justice system. For these two reasons, it must continue to be our priority to tackle truancy.” [The Washington Post]

DC Mayor at Risk of Watching Her Marijuana Policy Go Up in Smoke – Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), however, said he is inclined to go along with continuing Bowser’s proposed ban on pot clubs. “I haven’t heard any complaints” about the way things are going, he said.  [The Washington Post]