A Quick Rave from a Reader

Photo by PoPville flickr user Wake Up The Giant

“Dear PoP,

Since many of your readers live in areas where graffiti continues to be a problem, just wanted to send you a quick note about my experience with using 311 to get it removed. Our wooden fence got tagged last week, so I put in a request for removal online to the mayor’s 311 center. To be honest I didn’t really have high hopes that anything would come of it. However, two days later a ‘homeowner waiver’ appeared in our mailbox, I guess to release the city from liability since they would be removing the graffiti from our private property? At any rate, I filled it out and faxed it back the next day. Two days after that (today!) the city showed up and started powerwashing my fence! It took them all of 10 minutes, and it got almost everything off except for the vague trace of an outline that I’m hoping will fade with time.

Anyway, isn’t it nice when something actually works like it is supposed to in DC? Just thought I’d let folks know how quick and easy this all was.”

33 Comment

  • I’ve had mixed luck with 311. A dining room table and coffee table were left on the curb after a neighbor moved out. They rotted for a month, and were gone within three days of my filing a 311 report online. Another time after months of being woken up at 6:30 by a construction truck that parked illegally in front of a fire hydrant and past a no parking sign and idled next to my bedroom window, I filed a 311 report and the parking enforcement agent called me from the scene to tell me the truck was parked legally. My point is, while 311 is a good call center concept, credit ought to go to DPW, since your 311 experience really succeeds or fails based on the agency.

    • Yeah, but calling and complaining about a construction truck starting work too early or a Metro bus idling at a stop for 2 hours in the middle of the night (my place) is always going to get you nowhere. You’re expectations might be a tad high in this case.

      • I left out some information. The “No Parking” sign he parked in front of was for deliveries for the building. It was marked “No Parking–Entrance: Monday through Friday, 7 AM-10 PM,” he parked there every day either directly under the no parking sign, or in front of the fire hydrant behind it. Even leaving out the annoyance of the noise, the guy was leading to deliveries and utility appointments being delayed or canceled and was blocking a fire hydrant.

  • So let me get this straight…

    You move to a neighborhood where graffitti is a problem. You “private” property gets tagged by some neighborhood kid with too much time on his hands, and instead of getting a sponge, you head straight for the phones and the internet.

    Jesus…talk about “nanny state”. And people have the gall to wonder why the district is running a half a billion dollar deficit when it blows serious money on crap like this. Something you should have done for free, or for 5 dollars worth of cleaning supplies, ended up costing the city probably $300-400 dollars.

    People who are so delicate and lazy like this really make me worry about the species. You embarras yourself.

    • Cities have an inherent interest in battling graffiti. The OP did the right thing for the city by alerting them. This ignorant jerk has no concept of property values or the negative effects of crime and graffiti on neighborhoods. Pay him no attention.

      • The city has zero inherent interest in “battling” graffiti on someones “PRIVATE” property. “YOU” as the property owner do. Graffiti on your house has zero affect on mine.

        I am constantly amazed at the pure lack of self sufficieny on this blog, and the fact that people actually support that mind set.

        Lastly, based on the posts I’ve seen here over the months I probably pay more in property tax than most of you make in a gross yearly salary. I just don’t wet my pants and whine like a self entitled child every time something happens to my personal property and expect everyone else to pay for it and take care of it.

        Let me guess…you expect the city to rake the leaves that fall in your lawn too?

        • Based on the tone of this post (and others) I have to say I would absolute hate to have you as a neighbor. You sound sorta miserable.

          You need to learn to make your points disagreeing with people without coming across as an arrogant jerk. Maybe then people wouldn’t feel personally attacked and take your point seriously instead of just ignoring it.

          • Yeah, ok…so it is appropriate for people to directly attack me (sans scolding by the likes of you) but not appropriate for me to respond in kind, pointing out the embarrasing deficiencies in their argument?

            Whatever bub…

        • Having the city clean and rake private property is a bit much and indeed a nanny state. The city does have an interest in keeping itself looking appealing. Maybe the best way is to write threatening letters until the problem areas are fixed, but if nothing is done do the work for them and put it on the tax bill?

    • But we need to bust the people who think this is ok, so by filing a complaint the guy can be properly prosecuted when he’s finally caught.

      It’s also good for alerting the gang squads about impending problems.

      The city is running a deficit because to gives away more money than it brings in. If you’ve ever looked at where the city spends it’s money, it’s sure as heck not on cleaning and infrastructure. It’s spent on Human Services.

    • Joker (apt name)-
      A nanny state imposes unwanted state intervention. DC isn’t doing that – it’s providing a service for its residents on request. DC’s website explains why it does this:
      “Graffiti is a major problem in the District of Columbia. If not removed, graffiti can cause blight; increase criminal activity in the surrounding neighborhoods; reduce property values, and give the impression that the District is not committed to providing clean and safe environments for residents and visitors. The District of Columbia is dedicated to improving quality of life for all. To help achieve this goal, the Department of Public Works (DPW) seeks your permission to remove graffiti from your property.”

      BTW, ever tried to get spray paint off of brick? Not easy, and a sponge definitely isn’t going to do it. But DC has the tools and expertise to do it, which is the most efficient way to provide for the betterment of the community, much like trash removal.

      • Yes, a completely tagged neighborhood would cause blight. Thats why the “PRIVATE” property owners should remove it.

        If an individual isn’t concerned about the graffiti on his/her house, than neither am I.

        “tools and expertise”? We aren’t replacing the turbine in a jet engine here folks. Its water, soap and a sponge/brush. Not exactly rocket science.

        It’s obvious you’ve never had to use one ounce of elbow grease in your life.

        • Wow –
          Way to know me, joker. I guess my house was completely gutted and rehabbed on its own, not with my own 2 hands? Personal attacks aside, not everyone is willing or capable of doing this work. My 90 year old neighbor should get out there, just because you have a personal affront to city services? And again, I stand by my previous statement. Soap and water aren’t going to cut it. I know. I’ve tried.

          And you might not be worried about tagging on your neighbor’s house now, but when anyone on your street is looking to sell, I promise you that buyers are worried about it. And what generates revenue for the city? That’s right, home sales.

        • Joker, you are a fucking idiot. Actually, allow me to correct that. You’re a fucking idiot troll.

          There, somebody had to say it.

        • By this logic, we shouldn’t have police or fire protection either. I mean, what business of the city is it if my PRIVATE property is burning to the ground, or if some thug is breaking into my PRIVATE abode? In the first case, I ought to just get out there with a bucket and do it my damn self. In the second case, if I’m being robbed it is clearly my fault for not employing a personal militia.

          Finally, it sort of doesn’t matter what services you think the city should be providing. The citizens of this city are, in the majority, grateful for these services. That’s why we have them and elect officials who support them. We choose to live where we live and we choose to vote for officials who support the things we want. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. But your suggestion that we shouldn’t want this is undemocratic and un-American. I can want my government to be anything I want it to be. If enough people agree with me, then that’s the way it’s gonna be. If the government is not what the citizenry wants, even if it’s because the citizens want the wrong things, then the government is tyranical.

  • I agree private property needs to be cleaned by the owner not the city. This was a waste of tax payer dollars. Next time the tagger comes by lie in wait and smash their hands with a shovel. That’s what I did to the POS stealing my potted plants in Mt.P. He never came back to Brown St after that.

    • Of course, if he HAD come back, it would have been with friends and weapons. I guess if you’re ok with that…

      • …or cops to arrest you for assault and lawyers to sue you for pain and suffering. No fan of plant thieves, but if you did indeed beat him up with a shovel, your crime was greater than his.

  • It’s helpful to call 311 for graffiti removal in part so they can photograph it. MPD will take a look and identify whether it’s gang-related or not.

    If you to have at it with a sponge after that, send DPW home and start scrubbing.

  • Talk about nanny state — I called 311 to ask them to remove all the visible graffiti that can be seen from the metro train between Fort Totten and Union Station, and of course, no action at all. Not only is it an embarassment to the residents of this city, it makes it clear who controls signification portions of this city. And don’t get me started on the punks that beat up lone white women for no reason at all.

    • I hope you’re kidding. (I think you’re kidding.) That corridor is awesome. I used to wonder why the graffiti in DC was so terrible by and large, until I rode the train out that way and realized that anyone with skill was working there.

  • None of you have the first clue what the term “nanny state” actually means.

    Way to grab a soundbite off the TV and misapply it to your own gripe.

    • That’s because the dependency is so full that now somebody has to explain it to them after the government has fed them and put them to bed.

  • Whoever suggested removing spray paint with a sponge, should not suggest that until s/he has tried it! Vandalism is a crime- it’s nice to hear this worked for the author. If someone’s private property is burglarized, no one would suggest the home owners just suck it up and deal with it on their own.

  • As soon as folks stop asking for reduced fare metro access, “elderly” property tax exemptions, city provided half way houses, lifelong unemployment checks, “youth” employment services, free health care and all the other goodies that folks that provide no income to the city want, I’ll refrain from calling the city to clear off graffiti.

  • I have been calling every month since February to have the sidewalk on my block fixed.

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