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“Dear PoPville,

There’s construction in my neighborhood, and this rolling debris container has been parked for quite sometime – For 2 weeks past the expiration date of their emergency no parking sign. This is in Newton St NW in Mt Pleasant. I’ve tried contacting the Department of Transportation, a few days ago. And it seems nothing has been done.

Parking is tight in my neighborhood and the workers try to block parking overnight every night with trash cans and caution tape. The construction vehicles have Maryland tags, and it appears that they park all day every day with impunity. (Which is interesting because the parking enforcement in my neighborhood is normally very strict, and the street parking only allows 2 hours for non residents.)

I also want to add that I believe that their permit is for 3 spaces but they routinely try to block off 4 to 5 spaces, and it’s unclear from the placement of the signs exactly what 3 spaces they are blocking.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

From a press release:

“A bill introduced today [Tuesday] in the DC Council would increase fines for shoddy home repairs, poor construction, condemnation, and vacant properties. The bill from Ward 1 DC Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau doubles these fines from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and then ties them to inflation. The bill also clarifies that DCRA can use its authority to issue multiple fines for repeat violators.

“This bill is a response to what we’re hearing from constituents and news reports about outdated fines that are too low to deter bad behavior by unscrupulous contractors and developers,” said Nadeau. “Homebuyers don’t want to feel like they’re playing roulette when they’re buying a house. We need to give DCRA the tools it needs to enforce our laws and support safe housing.”

Some fines haven’t been updated in over 20 years. Under the bill, a violation such as failure to obtain a permit for building operations would change from $2,000 for the first offense to $4,000 for the first offense.

Nadeau is joined by co-introducers Councilmembers Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), all fellow members of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which has oversight of DCRA. Cosponsors are Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Anita Bonds (D-At Large).

This bill complements Councilmember Nadeau’s successful amendment to increase the number of housing inspectors at DCRA. Taken together, they create more powerful enforcement and ultimately safer housing conditions across the District. In February, Councilmembers Nadeau and Orange hosted a Ward 1 Town Hall on BCRA issues at which residents shared problems with holding bad contractors accountable.

A copy of the bill is available here.

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“Dear PoPville,

A heads up to Farragut North-area pedestrians. 8 cops were at the Connecticut/K St intersection this morning handing out these flyers and issuing $20 tickets to pedestrians who crossed against the light. There’s a right turn lane from K onto Conn that’s usually empty or red, so everyone always crosses that regardless of the light — but today, at least, you could be out $20!”

Also another reader adds:

“Just a friendly heads up to the PoPville community– I just took the circulator to work and got off at Farragut North. There were at least 6 to 8 cops taking on the north corners of Connecticut handing out tickets to jaywalkers.

Good luck to all!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“Dear PoPville,

Not sure if you’ve heard anything about this, but this morning I tried to visit a rec center gym and was told the facility was closed to adults until 6 pm for the rest of the summer. The explanation was that something happened last week at another rec center with a child in a camp or summer program, and so they’ve enacted this policy. I called to confirm this with DPR and was told this is in fact true. Do you have any idea what happened or is going on? Seems like a pretty bold move to close all rec centers to adults until 6PM for the rest of the summer. I’m sure I’m not the only one affected by this.”

UPDATE from DPR:

“All outdoor pools are open to the public (adults included) Monday – Friday from 1 pm – 8 pm and on Saturday/Sunday from noon – 6 pm. Additionally, to clarify, there were no reported “incidents” involving a child at a pool last week.

The agency is reviewing access to recreation centers during camp hours to ensure the safety of our campers. This may be the source of the confusion. However, no determination has been made and any change will be communicated with the public.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve been having a dispute with the Office of Tax and Revenue that I hope your readers can help me with. Basically, I have two questions:

1. When OTR disagrees with what I reported on my tax return and says I owe money, what are the exact names of documents it sends send to try to get it, and in what order does it send them? When do they resort to something more forceful like garnishing my paycheck or offsetting a subsequent year’s refund?

2. Has anyone ever had to challenge OTR’s refusal to allow the Schedule H credit, which is a credit for taxpayers to take a credit based on the amount they paid on their household rent or mortgage?

I claimed the credit on my 2014 taxes and expected a refund as a result. Last year, I was a student with an adjusted gross income of about $12,000 because I was living off student loans (which don’t count as income on your tax return).

When I didn’t receive the anticipated refund, I called OTR to inquire. A customer service representative said they disallowed the credit because my rent was higher than my income. Yes, it was, but I’ve been researching this issue and I think it doesn’t matter which is higher, according to the D.C. Code. (If anyone wants to check, it’s D.C. Code § 47–1806.06, available at http://dccode.org/simple/sections/47-1806.06.html.)

When OTR sent me a bill, I filed a protest at the Office of Administrative Hearings. OTR’s attorney told me he thinks OAH doesn’t have jurisdiction because it can only hear protests of a Notice of Deficiency, and the document I received was called a Notice of Correction and Tax Bill. (D.C. Code § 47–4312 gives OAH jurisdiction to hear taxpayer protests. It’s at http://dccode.org/simple/sections/47-4312.html.)

This sounds like a distinction without a difference. Are these actually different documents? If I ignore the notice of correction, is OTR eventually going to send me a notice of deficiency?

Does anyone out there have experience with challenging OTR’s refusal to allow this credit?”

From MPD:

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch are conducting a death investigation following the discovery of a body that was partially submerged in the Tidal Basin on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at approximately 6:26 am.

Members of the Second District responded to assist United States Park Police after they located an unconscious and unresponsive adult male at the location. The decedent was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death.

The investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.”

and

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch are investigating the death of an unidentified individual who was discovered in the Potomac River.

On Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at approximately 11:59 am, members of the Metropolitan Police Department’s K-9 Unit were flagged down in reference to human remains in the Potomac River near the Kennedy Center. Members from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner transported the decedent to their facility.”

J2W5RLTWQimHJ2C1vRB8_holmead park crosswalk petition

Thanks to all who emailed and tweeted the petition:

“Dear Councilmember Nadeau,

We are residents of Columbia Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods, including many parents of small children. Please help advocate for a crosswalk at the intersection of Holmead Place and Park Road. This is a major pedestrian thoroughfare connecting a dense residential area to the shopping, transportation, and recreation (including kids’ splash park) at the Columbia Heights plaza/metro area. The closest crosswalk to cross Park Road is a 3-minute walk in either direction (to 13th St. or 14th St.) As a result, it is common to count 10-20 people, including small children, jaywalking this intersection every minute! (So common, in fact, that Google maps’ image of that intersection, attached, actually shows a jaywalker in action!) This is very dangerous with all the turning cars, especially from the adjacent Giant parking lot entrance, and the Giant’s many delivery trucks — yet it’s not practical to expect people to walk so far out of their way to reach the nearest crosswalk. In sum, this is a very busy intersection in desperate need of a crosswalk. We hope you can help and thank you for your service!

Your neighbors and constituents”

You can sign it here.

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

From MPD:

“Frequently Ask Questions as it Relates to the Department’s New Criminal Interdiction Unit (CIU)

1. What does CIU stands for?

CIU stands for the Criminal Interdiction Unit. The Criminal Interdiction Unit is part of the Narcotics and Special Investigation Division.

2. How did the new units come about?

While most of our specialized units and tactics were focused on the violent crime associated with hundreds of open air drug markets through the late 1990’s; the violent crime today is driven by a very different criminal enterprise. This new enterprise is savvy at using evolving technology, social media, and the internet to facilitate sprees of violent crimes.

The illegal drug trade has evolved as well with major shifts in the criminal drug industry. Two of these changes include more widely available synthetic drugs and street drug markets becoming more high tech.

As a result of these changes, we put together a team of officers, detectives and officials, to develop a strategy that would address the changing culture of our violent crime and the evolving modern drug trade.

As a result of this team’s work, two major changes are being implemented: (more…)

parking_enforcement

A reader writes:

“I was biking to giant down O street at 730 or so Tuesday when I saw this parking enforcement car driving slowly the other way. I assumed she had a camera scanning license plates, hence the speed, but then I saw her on her phone. I turned around and tried to start taking video then, but, hilariously, she ran the stop sign at O and 10th, so I couldn’t start shooting until she stopped at the light at O and 11. She kept chatting on the phone the whole light cycle, then took off, still talking away.

The best part was when I reviewed the tape and discovered it was the same car number of a parking enforcement vehicle that had been driving like a maniac (illegal turns, trying to pass across a double yellow line on P just before it hits florida, and so on) 730 or so Friday!”

racine

From a press release:

“Attorney General Karl A. Racine, other Office of the Attorney General (OAG) staff, and representatives from the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will educate homeowners and those looking to purchase a home about potential consumer pitfalls associated with homeownership – including construction violations, fraudulent contractors and house-flippers, foreclosure scams, mortgage regulations and other issues. The experts will also answer consumers’ questions.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 11

WHERE: Shaw/Watha T. Daniel Neighborhood Library
1630 7th Street NW

BACKGROUND: Earlier this month, OAG filed suit against a Virginia couple who, the suit alleges, have violated District law by selling improperly and unlawfully renovated homes. As part of OAG’s consumer-education efforts, the agency is partnering with other District and federal government agencies to reach out to homeowners and potential homeowners to educate them on how to protect themselves and their investments against such bad actors. For more on OAG’s house-flipper lawsuit and tips for those purchasing and renovating homes, see here.”