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ANC disapproves proposed DC Council crime plan

File Photo by Caroline Moore | Photographer
Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission Chair Jim Malec, right, pictured at a February meeting.

A local governing body disapproved of a proposed D.C. Council bill amending the District’s crime code during a meeting Wednesday.

The five attending members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted unanimously, with four members absent, to approve a resolution stating their opposition to the Secure DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2024, which aims to address crime and improve public safety across the District. The approved resolution requests “drug-free zones,” pretrial detention and police reform rollbacks be removed from the proposed legislation.

2A03 Commissioner Trupti Patel said she chose to introduce the resolution because the Secure DC plan poses a “hefty price tag to taxpayers.” The D.C. Chief Financial Officer concluded that the implementation of the bill would cost $4.5 million in the 2024 fiscal year and $42.3 million between the 2024-27 fiscal years.

“It is our right to be questioning our government officials on, ‘Is this the best use of our taxpaying dollars?’” Patel said.

Patel cited the D.C. American Civil Liberties Union’s statement on the Secure DC Omnibus legislation, which says the proposed “drug-free” zones do not prevent crime and create an opportunity for police to act in bad faith. The bill’s proposed zones would revive and amend a 1996 law that allowed the Metropolitan Police Department chief to establish drug enforcement areas that prohibit the gathering of two or more people.

The resolution also expresses support for the provisions of Secure DC that enhance penalties for crimes targeting transit workers, seniors and people with disabilities, expand video surveillance and set nutrition standards for food served at D.C. jails.

Chair Jim Malec said he approached the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and the Office of the Attorney General about the point of order 2A04 Commissioner Ed Comer raised in the Jan. 17 meeting, which argued a majority of all commissioners, not just those in attendance, must be reached to elect officers. Malec said both offices expressed concern that the ANC’s bylaws were ambiguous on the topic, so he will adopt the higher standard of requiring a commission-wide majority — five votes — to pass agenda items.

Malec said he plans to introduce a proposed amendment to the ANC’s bylaws at their next regular meeting Feb. 21.

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About the Contributor
Erika Filter, News Editor
Erika Filter is a senior majoring in international affairs from Carson City, Nevada. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2023-2024 news editors and previously served as the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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