WAMU 88.5 : News

D.C. Council Tackles Education Issues And Camera Fines

Play associated audio
The D.C. Council is back in session Wednesday, and already a number of community-focused issues are on the agenda.
Mallory Noe-Payne
The D.C. Council is back in session Wednesday, and already a number of community-focused issues are on the agenda.

One issue that will likely grab the attention of both D.C. residents and anyone who has to drive in the city is traffic camera fines. Police and pedestrian safety groups say the fines from red light cameras and speed cameras deter dangerous driving.

But with some fines ballooning as high $300, some council members are now asking whether the new technology is being used for safety purposes or to boost city revenue.

This summer council members Tommy Wells and Mary Cheh organized a task force to look at whether the fines could be lowered without sacrificing public safety.

Wells told WAMU 88.5 in late July that he hoped to introduce a bill lowering the fines when the council meets this week.

"We get back Sept. 15, and I am planning on the first meeting of the council to introduce a leg that that will adjust fines to match the policy encouraging safety, not just to raise revenue for the District."

If the council acts and the fines are reduced, lawmakers will have to figure out how to replace any lost traffic camera revenue that was penciled into this year's budget.

Another issue that the council will likely tackle right away involves the schools. Council Member Jack Evans says he will introduce a bill requiring each public school to have a full time librarian, art teacher and music teacher on staff.

"Those are subjects if they don't have them in the schools, they never get," says Evans. "We have the money, it's not an issue of the money."

Dozens of D.C. schools were forced to open this year without a full-time librarian because of budget cuts, according to the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parents Organizations.

And Evans says he also will push to keep the city's public libraries open seven days a week.

"Right now we have one library — the main one — opened on the weekends. It's ridiculous. Libraries are really the center of many of these communities, and I want them [all] open on the weekends. So hopefully we are going to pass a law so its says they have to be funded, so there is no hanky-panky by the mayor or the council."

The first council legislative session is scheduled for Wednesday.

NPR

Aviator Beryl Markham Soars Again In 'Paris Wife' Author's New Book

"It is my fate to illuminate the lives of these one-of-a-kind notable women that have been somehow forgotten by history," says Paula McClain. She shines her spotlight on Markham in Circling the Sun.
NPR

At The Purple Pie Place, Where The Crusts Are Just Sweet Enough

Bobkat's Purple Pie Place is a fixture in Custer, S.D. From chicken pot pie to strawberry rhubarb, Trevor Yehlie and his family have been baking and serving pies at the local favorite since 2009.
NPR

SuperPACs Report Their Funds — And The Numbers Are Staggering

SuperPACs released their latest funding numbers Friday, and already it's clear that the committees' roles in 2016 will be gargantuan.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.