Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

“Dear PoPville,

so the other day i went to the dump as i have many times before. they checked my ID like usual. but this time the guy said i cant use it because there is an apartment number on my address. i went to talk to the supervisor and he said because i live in an apartment im not allowed to use the dump. according to the website it is open to all district residents..is this a new thing?”

street math

“Dear PoPville,

I am writing about a personal experience that occurred two weeks ago when I was dining with friends at a restaurant.

I was at dinner with three other people, but because only two people drank alcohol we wanted to review the bill closer to figure out the best way to split the meal. When we reviewed the bill, we noticed three items had been added increasing the total by about $25. We called the waiter over, but before we were able to explain which items were accidentally added our waiter said, “so sorry”, grabbed the bill, and walked away. At that point, it became clear he added the items hoping we would not notice (because he didn’t even wait for us to explain what our question was about the bill before he walked away). We split the bill and decided that since our waiter had tried to inflate his tip we were only tipping 10% each.

A few days later, I got an email from my credit card company with the subject line: “generous tip alert” (thank you Capital One!). The email showed that I had tipped almost 40%. (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

A simple question: how does one actually, practically, protect her/his interests from damage to their home when an adjoining townhouse is being renovated?

I hear people say hire a lawyer, hire a structural engineer, take lots of photos. I would love to know what has been effective, and what kind of cost is associated with this.

What kind of document can a lawyer prepare regarding damage that has happened AND *potential* damage that might still happen? How much does that cost? Have people done this and used the agreement to get damage repaired?

Aren’t structural engineers expensive to have come out ? How much does that run – my assumption is $1000 or more? Do you need an engineer and a lawyer?

A home is being renovated on our block by a developer. Beginning about a month ago, there has been full demo on the interior and one whole exterior brick wall had to come down and will be rebuilt. I think there has been some basement excavation, too. I’m a few doors down, but my neighbor who lives next door to the renovation-in-process has already had some damage occur to their home from the demolition work and is afraid of what might happen in the months ahead. The developer has acknowledged the damage to-date and promised to make my neighbor whole, but there is nothing in writing. The neighbor has taken photos of the damage, but doesn’t necessarily have photos of “before,” I am not sure, but I can see where a person wouldn’t think to take the first photo until something has already happened.

How should a person protect their interest in what is likely their largest asset? I don’t know my neighbor’s financial situation, but let’s assume if one is retired and has to be careful with expenses — is it possible to protect one’s self in this situation without having to spend significant money? How does this all work in real life — beyond just saying “hire a lawyer.”


“Dear PoPville,

This car had been sitting behind my house clearly a abandon for months. As you can tell by the stack of tickets, the city clearly knows that it’s here. So when do they tow it? I assume there’s a good chance it’s stolen and someone is looking for it.

Also, this dog.”

dog hydrant

Ed. Note: Last time we saw the greatest dog in the world we learned:

This is Rex, the DC Dog Wizard’s pup, demonstrating the “place” command. Rex is a pretty agile dude and Scott is a pretty awesome trainer.”

Photo removed per request

“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing to see if anyone else has witnessed a twenty something Caucasian homeless man manhandling/abusing his pet cat. I’ve seen him twice on K Street, NW around 16th & 17th Streets. The first time he was walking with the cat strapped to his backpack and the 2nd time he was sitting on the sidewalk picking the cat up by its back skin and flinging it around. The cat had no food or water. He’s got a harness and leash on the cat so there’s no escaping. When I saw the man manhandling the cat I reported the incident to animal control, but am afraid that there’s nothing they can do without photo/video evidence. The cat just just seemed so helpless. Hoping to get the word out so people can be on the lookout.”


“Dear PoPville,

Last November, I saw a posting on your blog for new townhome style condos in Brookland being developed by Lock7. Shortly after, I took a trip to the Brooks Row construction site and visited Urban Pace’s sales office. By the end of the month, I had a ratified contract. One of the conditions was for my then-current condo to be under contract to be sold by Feb. 15th (this was later pushed back to March 30th).

At the time, I was told construction would be completed “late March/early April,” which was consistent with your blog post: “…scheduled to deliver early next spring.” The major snow storms we had pushed completion until “mid-May.” On April 17th, they hosted an open house for only one of the 22 units. That day, purchasers were still being told the project would be completed by “mid-May,” despite the fact that even the home that was “finished” was in reality very far off from being done. Two days later, my realtor told me he heard form Urban Pace and construction was then pushed back to “early June.”

On May 20, after weeks of privately expressing concerns about the construction progress with my realtor, I finally emailed Urban Pace looking for answers as to why every time I went to the site it appeared as though nothing was being accomplished. In that email, I explained to Urban Pace that I had to be out of my condo (it was under contract) by June 30. They then blamed the record amounts of rain we received as an excuse. Early that month, my realtor and I toured my unit. At that time the target for completion was “end of July/early August.”

On July 1, I moved into a temporary apartment with my dog (Lock7 is subsidizing less than a quarter of the rent costs). That weekend, frustrated with the move and the living situation, I sent another email to Urban Pace. On July 5, the response was, “With regards to construction Lock 7 told me today it would be complete end of the month, potentially early August. We need C of O after that, so settlements hopefully should take place in August once we have the final permits.” (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking on U Street Saturday night when I found a significant amount of money (over $100) laying on the sidewalk. It had clearly fallen out of someone’s wallet, and after looking around and seeing nobody nearby who it belonged to, and no clear indication if who it belong to, I picked up. I thought about bringing it to the police station, but I’m not sure if they would accept it, and if they did, if it would just sit around an evidence locker forever. My first instinct is to donate it – most likely to the Louisiana flood relief efforts, but I’m wondering if anybody has any experience returning lost money to the police and if that really is my best course of action. Thanks!”

school con
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“Dear PoPville,

I wanted to write to warn people about several interactions I’ve had with a gentleman downtown, near the Convention Center and CityCenter.

Several weeks ago, during the middle of the day around 10th and Massachusetts NW, an older gentleman approached me and asked, “Do you know where the Veteran’s Building is?” He had a stack of papers in his hands and was wearing a dingy white button down shirt and a tie.

I asked him if he knew the address, which he did not, and he asked if I could look up the information for nearest VFW. He then asked if he could borrow my phone to call the VFW, because his phone had died. I dialed the number and handed him the phone.

During this phone call, he relayed a terrible story to the person on the line. He said that he was a Vietnam veteran, he lived in Maryland, and he had taken the bus into DC that day for an appointment at the VA. But when he arrived at the VA, he learned that the appointment had been rescheduled for the next day without notifying him. He had spent his cash on a bus ticket to DC and didn’t have enough money to stay anywhere overnight until his rescheduled appointment the following day. He asked the VFW if they could help him arrange for a hotel room or hostel room for the night, but was unsuccessful. The call was heartbreaking to listen to. (more…)


“Dear PoPville,

Why does the Hepburn at Florida & T Streets not seem to be in any hurry to open the blocked sidewalk and traffic lane on Florida Ave NW?

The building appears to be nearly finished, landscaping is done, and the leasing office is open and tours are being conducted.

It appears the blocked sidewalk is being used to park the porta johns and not much else.”



“Dear PoPville,

I work in the building above the east entrance to the McPherson square metro (at 14th & I NW). Employees who work in the building above the metro (like me) can FOB in to an underground hallway that leads to the building’s elevator, so you don’t have to go outside if you work in the building. On a couple of occasions I’ve encountered a man in a wheelchair waiting for someone to FOB him into the hallway with the elevator. He explained to me, in an effort to gain my trust to allow him into the building with my FOB, that he works at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is located above/next to the west entrance of the McPherson square metro, and apparently does not have an elevator.

That’s right, the Department of Veterans Affairs is not handicapped accessible to metro riders! On the day I encountered the man in the wheelchair, the 1 and only public elevator at the east entrance of the McPherson square metro wasn’t working. So, he had to wait until an employee from my building FOB-ed him in (which we’re not supposed to do) to gain access to the ONLY working elevator at the McPherson square metro. Even once he was able to gain access to the elevator and exit the building at the 1st floor, he had to wheel 2+ blocks back to the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs. I know this man isn’t alone in his struggle. It just doesn’t quite make sense to me that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, whose main constituency is handicapped veterans, is not handicapped accessible.