07/25/14 2:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user clif_burns

“Dear PoPville,

We bought a home two years ago in Bloomingdale with very little down payment and, given the rise in prices in the area, we are thinking on refinancing to get better terms in the loan. We are quite confident that we have more than 20% equity in the house considering numerous recent comparables.

Our surprise is that some lenders are offering more stringent terms because the house has a separate legal basement unit. When we bought the house two years ago it already had a Certificate of Occupancy and it was already classified with a use code 24 (Residential-Conversions less than 5 units). However, no lender raised the question of the second unit, and we closed without any problems or amended terms.

We would be interested in knowing how people are financing the houses that have legal rental units with C of O nowadays. If the terms are indeed more stringent for houses with C of O, that would be yet another reason not to go through the painful process of “legalizing” an english basement.”


“Dear PoPville,

I do not send this email (and attached photo) as a malicious attempt against the Metropolitan Police Department – this is why I do not include a face or any identification in the photo. I merely want to point out room for improvement on part of the MPD. Since moving to Columbia Heights last fall I have been shocked by the lack of in-person police presence. The only police presence I regularly see occurs on the alley I live in. At least 3-4 nights per week there is a squad car regularly parked overlooking Girard, about once or twice a month they also bring out the floodlights. I am not questioning the efficacy of the squad car and lighting – they are obviously effective in deterring crime in the immediate vicinity. What I would like to question is the lack of in-person police presence in this area and Columbia Heights as a whole.

On my way home from evening class last night (7/22) around 9PM I could see the police headlights as I approached the alley on my final stretch home. I chuckled to myself and thought: “I wonder if the officer will be attentive or on their cell phone?” Sadly, the latter is typically the case. I decided to have my smartphone ready to see if I could document this. Sure enough I was able to walk DIRECTLY in front of and then to the side of the vehicle (within 3 feet of the driver’s window) without the officer ever looking up from his cell phone. This occurred over a 30-40 second period. As you can see, the officer’s thumb is clearly on the phone while he is texting. I was completely flabbergasted by the fact that this guy didn’t notice me until the flash of my camera went off. One then begins to wonder what exactly these police officers patrol.

I wonder how much more crime would be deterred if these officers were not allowed to use personal cell phones on the job, or if they went out in teams of two – one officer remains with the stationary vehicle while another patrols a 4-5 block radius on foot.

Again, my attempt is not to be malicious but to simply point out some poor behavior on part of the MPD, there is clearly room to improve. “To serve and protect”, is that how the saying goes?”

07/23/14 2:30pm

Sign at Roosevelt High School in Petworth

“Dear PoPville,

Are there any outdoor tracks that are open to the public in DC? I’ve seen a post from a couple of years ago about Cardozo High School, but am wondering about other tracks as well.”

From the sign above it looks like most public high schools have early morning and afternoon hours open to the public. In 2010 the Examiner put out a pretty good list too. For those who use tracks around town – where do you go?

07/18/14 2:30pm

“Dear PoPville,

I started this Google doc after doing my own (very frustrating) child-care search, and after sending it out on a couple parents’ list-serves, it’s kind of caught fire. People have been adding a lot of good information and their own impressions, and it’s become a really useful resource for people looking for child care. There are precious few places where this kind of information is compiled.”

07/11/14 2:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

“Dear PoPville,

I recently moved into my first home, a condo in the Shaw/Logan neighborhood. I’ve been doing some research on getting a home warranty plan for the appliances and HVAC system in my unit, but am not sure which company to go with and am concerned I may get overcharged. Do your readers have any suggestions for home warranty plans for a condo?”

07/11/14 10:20am


“Dear PoPville,

We live near Mt. Vernon Square on 4th Street NW and woke up to this today. DC Water was onsite to remove the water and should be here soon (hopefully) to repair and restore service. There is significant erosion under the brick sidewalk, so folks should be very careful walking by. If anyone can provide input on how to expedite the repair of our yard and the sidewalk so further erosion doesn’t occur, please let us know.”



07/10/14 2:30pm


“Dear PoPville,

I saw this sign in a car parked on my block in Logan Circle. Wtf? Can we all declare ourselves unticketable?

The full text is:

Please do not ticket this vehicle. There is NO ticketing of vehicles with Zone Two RPP stickers at this hour per:
Department of Public Works
Councilman Jack Evans
Thank you!”

Ed. Note: One of the many pros of owning your own laminating machine…

07/08/14 2:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

I moved here about a year ago and am at the end of a cell phone contract. I notice that I sometimes get poor reception since moving, and wonder if it is my provider. I am a few weeks away from being able to switch easily.

I would love to hear advice from others about what cell phone provider is best in DC. Thanks.”

07/07/14 2:30pm


“Dear PoPville,

Maybe I’m overreacting (or maybe I don’t appreciate being called a douchebag so early) but I saw this note on my car this morning as I was parked in Zone 2 on the street and immediately became angry, grabbed it, and crumpled it up [ in the U Street Neighborhood right off of Florida just past Darnell's]. I should have taken a picture of my parking but I was on my way to work and I also know what “double parking” is and knew I wasn’t a perpetrator. Is there some definition of the term that I am not aware of? In my experience if there is a space on the street I park there; who would be so bold (or so bored) to take the time to write a note, label me a douchebag, stop at my car, and place it on my windshield? Does the note writer know that people come and go from street spots all day and night? Has anyone else received an aggressive note with no merit?”

Ed. Note: Sometimes people are jerks, sometimes people are aggressive and sometimes the two intersect.

07/02/14 2:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user Nikoo’s photos

“Dear PoPville,

We’re about to rent out a rowhouse in the H Street corridor. We’re trying to find a management company, but aren’t sure which companies come with the best consumer satisfaction from the perspective of landlords. Most of the reviews we see are from the perspective of tenants – which is good too, as we ultimately want our tenants happy – but ideally we’d be happy with them as well.

Do you have any thoughts on this?”