District of Columbia Affairs

D.C. Affairs Section Annual Report 2013-14

The D.C. Affairs Section has had a productive year. Despite its role as a relatively small section, D.C. Affairs maintains an extremely active and engaged membership. Even while offering D.C. Affairs Section members free attendance to all of its programs, the section expects to end the fiscal year with an operating surplus. As this report suggests, the section has held numerous programs and helped foster discussions on topics important to the District government - from budget autonomy to insurance policies to zoning regulations. The steering committee of the section is pleased to present this report and looks forward to the upcoming year. Finally, the steering committee would like to thank Esther Bushman and Brian Flowers - both of whom have completed two consecutive terms on the committee - for their service to the section.


Leadership

Steering Committee
Lyle Blanchard, Esther Bushman, Brian Flowers, David Goldblatt (Co-Chair), Susan Saunders McKenzie, Thorn Pozen, Edward Rich, Nicole Streeter, V. David Zvenyach (Co-Chair)

Legislative Committee
Thorn Pozen (Chair), Jim Bubar (Vice Chair)

Programs Committee
Ed Rich (Chair), Sally Kram (Vice Chair)


Programs
During the 2012-13 fiscal year, the D.C. Affairs Section offered seven programs for members and the public. In addition, the section co-sponsored numerous events with other sections of the Bar and with outside organizations. A description of each program that the Section organized is provided below:

D.C. Affairs Section 2012 At-Large Candidates Forum - October 11, 2012
Moderator: Tom Sherwood.
Presenters: At-Large Candidates

In late 2012, the District of Columbia held a general election for several races, including a hotly contested race for one of the at-large D.C. Council seats. Tom Sherwood, a reporter known for his no-nonsense approach, moderated a lively and informative forum with the candidates.

Understanding the D.C. Zoning Regulations Rewrite - November 29, 2012
Presenters: Dan Emerine (Zoning Review Manager, D.C. Office of Planning); Joel Lawson (Associate Director, Development Review, D.C. Office of Planning); Steven E Sher (Holland & Knight, Director of Zoning and Land Use Services, member, ZRR Task Force); Jennifer Steingasser (Deputy Director, Development Review and Historic Preservation, D.C. Office of Planning); and Paul Tummonds (Goulston & Storrs, member, ZRR Task Force)

Over the past several years, the District has undertaken a significant review of the District's Zoning Regulations. At this event, the Office of Planning present edits proposal about potential zoning changes, including key concepts such as green-area ratio and transit zones, changes to accessory-dwelling units, and eliminating parking minimums in certain zones.

Legislative Reception - January 23, 2013
In this evening reception, the D.C. Affairs Section helped kick off the start of Council Period 20. Among the attendees at the reception were Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Attorney General Irv Nathan, and D.C. Bar President-Elect Andrea Ferster.

Legislative & Administrative Processes in the D.C. Government - February 28, 2013
Presenters: Brian K. Flowers (Mayor's General Counsel), V. David Zvenyach (Council's General Counsel)

Navigating the D.C. Government's legislative and administrative processes can be a daunting task for the uninitiated. This brown-bag lunch discussion with V. David Zvenyach, General Counsel to the D.C. Council, and Brian Flowers, General Counsel to the Mayor, offered an introduction to topics related to the Home Rule Act, new developments in the internal organization of the Council and legislative procedure, the Administrative Procedure Act, internal procedures governing the adoption of rules and executive orders, and more.

The District of Columbia's Fiscal Year: 2014 Budget - April 4, 2013
Moderator: John Hill.
Presenters: Gordon McDonald (Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Budget and Planning), Fitzroy Lee (Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Chief Economist); Eric Goulet (Mayor's Budget Director); Jennifer Budoff (Council's Budget Director)

In what has now become a must-attend annual event, the D.C. Affairs Section hosts representatives from the budget offices of the Mayor, the Council, and the Chief Financial Officer to discuss what to expect in the deliberation of the upcoming budget for the District government. Moderated by John Hill, the event involved a candid discussion of the proposed fiscal year 2014 budget and the overall economic picture for the District.

Meet the Press 2013 - May 16, 2013
Moderator: Jim Bubar. Presenters: Tim Craig (Washington Post); Davis Kennedy (NW Current); Mike DeBonis (Washington Post) Tom Sherwood (NBC News Channel 4); Nikita Stewart (Washington Post)

The annual "Meet the Press" Event is a signature program for the D.C. Affairs Section. During the event, some of the most seasoned, and incisive members of the D.C. press corps, describe what's hot in D.C. politics, government, and business and offer their predictions for the coming year.

Bermuda on the Potomac - June 13, 2013
Presenters: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) (U.S. House of Representatives); Lawrence Mirel (Partner, Nelson Levine de Luca & Hamilton, former D.C. Insurance Commissioner)

The U.S. has been hit with a growing number of insured disasters in recent years -- hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks. The money set aside to pay for those losses is largely kept by insurance companies in Bermuda and other Caribbean island nations because the U.S. Government taxes those reserves as current income. As part of a larger effort to establish the District of Columbia as an international insurance center, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has introduced legislation that would exempt insurers based in the District from federal taxation of catastrophe reserves. At the program, former D.C. Insurance Commissioner Larry Mirel helped set the backdrop for the legislation.


Legislative Committee
The legislative committee, chaired by Jim Bubar and Thorn Pozen, held several lively brown-bag discussions with invited guests on topics ranging from the District's budget-autonomy referendum and the effect of sequestration on the District Government.


D.C. Practice Manual
The D.C. Affairs Section contributed to the development of the Small Claims chapter of the Practice Manual. In the coming year, the section received approval for a new chapter related to Political Law in the District.