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“Dear PoPville,

I’m hoping you may have a few ideas for how to address this problem. I own a typical Petworth row house, and my immediate neighbors have been doing unpermitted, illegal DIY construction for the last few years. Most notably they were digging out an expansion of their basement under their front porch by hand (yes, with a shovel and buckets and zero structural reinforcements).

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They received a stop work order from DCRA for that project last summer and since then a giant, muddy hole has been growing in their yard and onto my property. The hole has gotten so large and deep that the gutter drain spout leading from my house that was previously buried is now exposed. We have asked them several times about the hole and asked them to repair it.

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They put up some very makeshift 2×4 reinforcements under their porch but have done nothing to address the ground erosion. I’m very concerned about any possible structural damage that this could be causing my home, not to mention the possible impact on the value of my home (I am considering selling in the next year). Further, depending on how extensive the construction has been inside the basement, I wonder if the house is even safe to be inhabited, and there are several children living there.”

Kansas house sign

Thanks to all who emailed and tweeted about this sign.

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“Dear PoPville,

We wanted to make you aware that a banner has been placed on our home to protest the deplorable and unsafe condition of the boarded up row house next door and the city’s complete lack of response to complaints for repairs from two families with young children living next door. For seven years, we have contacted Muriel Bowser, DCRA and (now) Brandon Todd to repair the roof, front porch and back porch, all of which are structurally unsound.

This boarded up, blighted home has been a magnet for rodents, burglaries, drug dealing, public fornication and other crime. The entire block is sick of it, yet DCRA refuses to enforce building codes to force the owner to repair it. Moreover, the city collects $19k a year in property taxes at the vacant rate, I believe from the bank trying to foreclose, but refuses to reinvest a dime of the extra tax proceeds in making the property safe.

After countless emails, phone calls and visits to Muriel Bowser’s office to deliver pieces of fallen roofing material as proof of the urgency of the situation, we’ve raised this banner to push our local leaders and DCRA to do take action. We believe DCRA would never permit this level of dilapidation in Georgetown, Cleveland Park or in Muriel’s new digs in Colonial Village. We’re asking for the same standards of enforcement. ”

More photos after the jump. (more…)

swimming confusion
Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

I’ve been getting tons of emails like this one:

DPR to start charging all residents to use pools. Aw man, this is some BS. They will start charging residents $5/day to use the pool starting after Labor Day 2016.”

This has also blown up on a few listservs as well. On Friday I emailed with DPR and was told:

“We have no plans to charge DC residents for swimming pools. Those fees have been historically waived for DC residents.”

On twitter DPR also confirmed to concerned residents:

“It shows what we can charge. Pools and fitness centers remain free to DC residents. Apologies for confusion.”

speed horses
Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced the locations and deployment of new photo enforcements where speeding has been identified to be a problem.

The 30-day educational phase, or “warning period,” will commence on Friday, July 8, 2016. During this period, violators will receive warning citations. Following the 30-day warning period, MPD will begin issuing live moving citations to violators.

The new photo enforcement locations are as follows:

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.15.03 AM

For more information about automated enforcement in the District of Columbia, log onto here.

From MPD:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser authorized the release of FOIA-exempt body-worn camera (BWC) footage related to the officer-involved, fatal shooting of Sherman Evans, a 63-year-old resident of Northeast DC.

On June 27, 2016, at approximately 10:22 pm, members of the Fourth District of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) responded to a 911 call of a man brandishing a gun. Officers arrived on scene to find Mr. Evans holding a firearm. MPD officers ordered Mr. Evans to drop the gun over the period of several minutes. Mr. Evans refused to comply with numerous demands to drop his weapon. As a result, MPD officers discharged their weapons, shooting Mr. Evans, who was transported to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

An MPD officer who was among the first to arrive at the scene was equipped with a body-worn camera. An additional officer was also equipped with a BWC and captured footage after the shooting. The video released today includes footage from both cameras. The shooting is being separately investigated by MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The release of the footage has also been deemed in the public interest and is consistent with the goal of the District’s BWC program, including creating broader accountability between law enforcement and communities and maintaining an open and transparent government. The Administration consulted Channing Phillips, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Karl Racine, the Attorney General for the District of Columbia; and notified Kenyan McDuffie, the Chairman of the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary, prior to this release.”

Previously MPD reported:

“Chief of Police Cathy Lanier and Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department responded to a police-involved shooting that occurred on Monday, June 27, 2016, in the 100 block of Varnum Street, Northeast.

At approximately 10:22 pm, MPD officers responded to the location in reference to a man with a gun. Upon arrival, officers encountered an individual holding a weapon. After numerous demands to drop the weapon, the suspect failed to comply and raised the weapon toward the officers. The officers then discharged their service weapons, striking the suspect. The suspect was transported to an area hospital, in critical condition, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The decedent will be identified once next of kin has been notified.

The suspect’s weapon was recovered on the scene. Investigation revealed the weapon produced by the suspect was a BB Gun.”

From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) would like to announce the designation of five nightlight safety zones during Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Safe Track operation.

MPD Nightlife Unit has identified and is providing additional resources in specific areas from Wednesday to Sunday during the hours of 11:00 pm to 3:00 am as patrons and employees find alternative means of transportation to and from various venues within the city. MPD has partnered with city agencies to provide additional lighting in each of the areas, signage so that patrons can locate the safe zones, and added patrol. These safe locations will serve as a place for patrons to access alternative transportation.

The five designated nightlife safety corridors are as follows: (more…)

thoughts

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I are wondering if we are the only ones that find this odd. Our neighbors are having a BBQ/party and the cops showed up [over the weekend]. At first we thought maybe there was a noise complaint, but they started eating the food off the grill and have now been there for over an hour. It started with one MPD vehicle and now there are two. They are in their uniforms and in marked cars. Are they on the clock? Is this appropriate? Wondering your thoughts. This is in Petworth on Georgia Ave (4D).”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Claire Uziel

“Dear PoPville,

Wanted to write-in in a positive experience with the DC Office of the Attorney General (OAG), Public Advocacy Section.

I contracted with a local app developer to produce a relatively simple iPhone app. After paying the developer about 2/3 of the contract price over the first 3 months of the approximately 6 month contract, he stopped responding to my emails and phone calls. Unfortunately, I was assigned overseas for a longvterm in the middle of the development, but the developer knew my intent as we had several meetings.

I investigated Small Claims Court options in DC, but found it too cumbersome to deal with if I had to fly back and forth to DC. I stumbled upon a website for the DC OAG Public Advocacy Section which deals with consumer complaints against businesses in DC. After filling out an online complaint and hearing nothing back from DC OAG, I figured it was another dead-end DC website. But alas 2 months later, I received a phone-call and email from a Fraud Investigator that they had contacted the developer and he agreed to return my funds in full. A month later I received a cashier’s check from the developer that was sent to me by the DC OAG Public Advocacy Section.

If consumers in DC have an issue with a local business, highly recommend checking out the DC OAG Public Advocacy Section. They may not get back to you for several weeks, but they’re probably working it for you in the background.”

pain sculpture

Ed. Note: Check this map to see if you have lead service lines coming into your house.

“Dear PoPville,

This article is about lead in the water in Flint, but it profiles an engineer working there who also worked in DC beginning in 2003. It’s not very reassuring! I thought you might be interested if you haven’t seen it yet.”

“But he never forgot the lesson of DC. Taped to the door of Edwards’ office at Virginia Tech is a slip of paper that reads: “This, thought Winston, was the most frightening aspect of the party regime—that it could obliterate memory, turn lies into Truth and alter the Past …”

It’s from George Orwell’s 1984, a reminder of the doublethink Edwards encountered in DC. He still considers his work there a total failure. “These agencies, over every objection I made, went ahead and poisoned kids,” Edwards says. He wasn’t going to let that happen again.”