Tree Removed (Remember The Reader’s Open Letter To Chief Lanier?)

0514091205[1], originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

On Tuesday I posted an open letter to Chief Lanier from a reader. The reader follows up:

“In an act that shines a bright and gleaming light on the perfunctorily efficient (or efficiently perfunctory) DC Government, the dead tree at the 801 Sheppard Street police facility was removed this morning. Please hold your applause… First I would like to offer my sincere apologies to the woodpeckers and tree creepers who have now lost a potential food source. Second, I would like to thank PoP for creating and allowing this marvelous forum that accomplished in two short days what years of sidewalk conversations with officers and administrative staff could not. And last, I would like to express my appreciation to the blog-reading community at large for the many diverse, constructive, divisive, sardonic, and just plain fun comments and thoughts on the issue. You are all gems – not a word from Chief Cathy though.

PS – Anyone got a mower?”

17 Comment

  • I miss that old tree…

  • that tree was my best friend. we would talk for hours… i miss you man!

  • Dan Silverman for Mayor! I’m only sort of kidding. In fact, the longer I sit here and write this post, the more serious about this idea I am becoming. What, exactly, is involved in an exploratory committee? I think the progression of Prince to Mayor seems pretty natural really.

  • You wan the grass mowed? Buy a couple dozen donuts and scatter them around that lawn.

  • I think it’s too bad that the only way to get things done in DC to make a stink about it in a relatively high-profile forum. This happens over and over. In DCWatch last week, ANC commissioner Jack McKay posted his trials about actually trying to return an incorrectly issued property tax refund — and being penalized for his honesty. The issue was only addressed to some degree of satisfaction after he wrote publicly about it in DCWatch. The same thing happened to me once regarding my (lack) of Homestead Exemtption — it only got fixed when I griped about it in public.

    Apart from the fact that it’s unfair and alienates the huge part of the population that does NOT read and post to Prince of Petworth, DCWatch, or some other internet forum, it is the wrong way for things to get done.

    It’s nice that we can, in fact, resolve problems by bitching in public about them, but we shouldn’t have to. Instead of just greasing the squeaky wheel, why can’t the people who are reading and responding to this sort of thing address the systematic dysfunction that required this in the first place?

    Why can’t they find out what’s up with the rude, ignorant OTR employees who ignored Jack McKay’s issue? Why can’t the look into the missteps that occurred in trying to get this tree situation resolved so it doesn’t happen over and over?

    This is not a success story, it’s a story that simply highlights the ongoing failure of DC to provide any sort of consistent service to its taxpayers.

  • What Jamie said.

  • The tree was a petworth symbol. If you see things that are not right in Petworth, write an email or call the non-emergency police number. Its the only way anything will change here.

  • Speaking of needing a mower, this post inspired me to look closely at the police and fire buildings within blocks of my house. Both of which have lawns that need mowing and generally unkempt landscaping.

    While I’m not completely convinced by the broken windows theory, keeping the landscaping of our city services in decent shape sure couldn’t hurt.

    What are the chances we can leverage this into something (just a tiny bit) bigger? PoP, how about a ‘police station (park, school) with embarrassing appearance’ of the day? I bet you could get some great submissions – and maybe we can get the dead trees removed on a larger scale…

  • I find this nothing short of miraculous. If only we could organize to remove the rot and decay within the government.

  • This just shows how much the police doesn’t care about the neighbourhood. They could’ve done this in 1 day but didn’t bother for 6 years.

  • i would fight like an angry rhino for any campaign to get dan silverman in city government. i would think ANC would be a good start but city council might work. i’m serious Dan, you’ve got a ready-made grassroots operation here.

  • Run for Mendelson’s at-large seat on a platform of broken windows policing and juvenile justice reform and I’ll volunteer on your campaign every weekend until its done.

  • I would DEFINITELY volunteer to work your campaign, Dan!

  • The brown tree creepers and downy woodpeckers are not happy about this!!! We’re planning a protest at the National Arboretum this Saturday at sunrise to protest by woodpecking. We seek to keep all standing deadwood in The District intact!

  • Two comments:

    1) 311, the citywide non-emergency response line really does work (most of the time). I find them to be very responsive on the phone and usually in action, as well.

    2) Just a theory here, but this issue could be related to the problem of police, fire, and rescue personnel being unable to afford housing where they work. Their pay generally does not enable them to pay rent or make mortgage payments in the communities they service. With long commutes on both ends and no neighborly ties to the area, I’m sure it’s hard to feel engaged in the community. While it’s what they get paid to do, they spend their days responding to complaints from residents and literally putting out fires. Sounds terrible. I can understand wanting to dissociate oneself, if just to preserve one’s sanity.

  • I’m still waiting for my income tax refund from OTR because the person typing in my data at OTR typed in $652,000 as my income rather than $65,200…which it was. If I hadn’t called to inquire about the delay in getting my refund, it would have sat indefinately because the system said I owed a ‘butt load of taxes’…I had a professional accountant file my taxes this year and OTR still screwed it up…

  • Saying, “I don’t get paid enough, so I’m going to do a lousy job” is really not a satisfactory answer for someone who gets full medical, dental, paid vacation, and a pension after 20 some odd years in today’s economy. So what if you get paid peanuts as an entry level recruit. 10 years in you’ll be very fairly compensated with little or no chance of downsizing. Ask someone in any other professional field and they would jump at that offer.

    This city’s community leaders have played the, Us vs. Them card for at least the 25/30 years I’ve been living in this city (since Lauriol Plaza was on the *other* corner). Put your financial supporters in city government jobs, allow them to hire their friends, then tell them that if they don’t support you, they’ll all be thrown to the wolves. As the elected official, you can never hold any of them accountable for lousy service to the public, because they are who got you to your position in the first place. Mutually assured lack of accountability. It’s a race to the bottom AND that is why you get lousy service from the government. You are the Them.

    All that said, this city is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was in the Barry years. There are still pockets of resistance, but they are slowly being professionalized.

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