Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

Ed. Note: To be honest, I’m still processing this whole thing. OP explains to me in response to my query:

“It was such a weird experience – I almost wish I could track the woman down to find out whether she was part of a movement or protest. Or, it’s totally possible that she was just crazy. In any case, it had an impact on me for sure.”

Regardless of how it happened, as far as the conclusion: “White Americans cannot sit idly by and let People of Color do all of the work to bridge the undeniable racial divide in this nation.” To that I do agree.

“Dear PoPville,

Realizing my White Privilege on a Sunday Run

Two miles into this run and I’m really in a groove. I have made it a habit of going on a long run in downtown DC on Sunday afternoons as a chance to reflect and get some good exercise in before kicking off the work week. Today’s air is especially crisp and clear, and I am relishing every step of this run, as I know today could very well be the last mild Sunday before the polar vortex descends upon the city and hovers above for what will feel like eternity (i.e. until March).

The two mile mark on my usual path happens to be at the Trump International Hotel, a sight that, over the past few months, has generally elicited visceral responses of anger, disgust and disappointment considering the divisive state of affairs in our country. Today, my mindset is different. Perhaps I have been moved by a rush of Thanksgiving-induced gratitude over the past few days. As a gay, white man, life has moved forward pretty much as normal after the election, despite my worst fears. I wasn’t laid off. The stock market didn’t crash. No one is calling for gays to be rounded up into camps (yet). Washington hasn’t descended into chaos. I am feeling cautiously optimistic that a Trump presidency won’t have as much of an impact on my day-to-day life as I initially thought during my post-election grieving period.

As I trot passed the hotel entrance, I notice a young (early 20’s), female, black woman begin to jog alongside me. At first, I think that our paths have coincidentally overlapped for a few moments, but then I see that the woman is wearing dress slacks and a sweater, and she is carrying a messenger bag – definitely not your typical DC jogging attire. I skip to the other side of the sidewalk, and it becomes apparent that the woman is following me. She skips alongside me and begins mirroring my every move. A little unnerved, I ask “Can I help you?”

She replies, staring straight into my soul, “I don’t know, can you?” (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Columbia Heights Climber

“Dear PoPville,

Was walking home on P b/t 15th and 16th just before 7pm tonight [Sunday] when a guy on a bike rode up behind me. Like the other poster mentioned, his bike had a ton of lights on it – was really distinctive. Weird that a pervert like that would ride such a distinctive bike! Thought I might be in his way on the sidewalk but he slowed down and said every week he does a scavenger hunt…there’s $500 at stake, and could I help him with the scavenger hunt. Then he took out his phone and showed me writing on the phone. Read it very quickly but it said something about taking photos of the bottom of a woman’s foot. I said no and walked away and when I turned around he had crossed the street and was talking to some other women with the same shtick.”

Ed. Note: Back in September a reader reported in a rant/revel:

“Rant: I had a really strange experience last night (Sunday) at 8th and Florida. Wondering if anybody else has ever had this happen? A guy was being friendly with my dog. He then asked me for a favor. He was doing a scavenger hunt for charity (“cancer”) and needed pictures of the bottoms of people’s feet. I agreed he could take a quick photo of my foot but was quickly put off when he seemed to take multiple shots (they were “blurry”) and then asked me to point my toes like a ballerina. I put my shoes back on and walked away with no further trouble from the guy. This seems really strange.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user weheaton

“Dear PoPville,

I live in a condo, as the Craigslist-found roommate of the condo owner. I have a lease with terms for paying X amount through June 2017. The condo owner informed me a couple weeks ago that she is going to have the closets and bathrooms renovated (which includes the closet and bathroom that I use exclusively), and that my rent will go up when these capital improvements are completed.

She pointed to a section of the lease that says “The Landlord may increase the Rent for the Property upon providing to the Tenant such notice as required by the Act [DC law].”

She will not give me a break on rent for the time in which I am not able to use the bathroom I am paying for, and this rent increase is taking place during the lease term, when I was obviously not expecting it. It’s a condo, so exempt from rent control.

Is this legal to do to a tenant during a lease? I am having trouble parsing the DC code on exempt housing. Next stop DC Landlord-Tenant Resource Center?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user District Shots

“Dear PoPville,

We moved to DC on October 28, into an apartment that is owned by a couple overseas and managed by a local real estate services company. Since the day we moved in, our shower has been broken. It only runs at 120+ degrees Fahrenheit or freezing cold. We let them know immediately and the issue is finally being fixed tomorrow, when they can shut the entire building’s water off. It will have been three weeks without us being able to shower in our apartment. We asked for a deduction in our rent ($25 for every day we haven’t been able to shower) and the real estate company said they will have to check with the owner.

We just want to know in case they come back at us with a “no”, do we have any sort of tenant rights here for rent abatement?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Chris Williams

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday I was verbally assaulted and threatened in a way I had been fearing ever since the election campaign dove into racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant rhetoric. I have never felt more vulnerable as a woman, a Latino, and an immigrant. I never thought I would be in this situation, but it did happen to a friend and me today, so I thought I would share because first of all, in case there were any doubts, I want people to know this is happening in DC, and also because I wished I had had the opportunity to thank the very brave young man who put himself in danger, stood up to this bully, and allowed us to escape from a very dangerous situation.

It was around 4:30pm and my best friend and I were on our way to the movies. We were on bikeshare rides, nearing 14th and R NW, talking in Spanish as we slowed down for the red light. All of a sudden a man started to yell at us, telling us to “shut up”, to “speak American”. At first I thought he was just crazy, then I thought he was drunk, and then unfortunately I realized he was neither. (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

“Dear PoPville,

I need help with parking etiquette in DC. A neighbor reprimanded me and called me a “bad neighbor” for parking in front of the house he lives in on an unzoned public street after I couldn’t find parking on my zoned parking street that is adjacent to the one he lives on. Parking is an issue on my street because some residents have multiple cars and park them on the street. Today I couldn’t find a spot on my street so I parked on the adjacent street that is unzoned. When I stepped out of the car, a man who had pulled up and parked across the street grabbed my attention and explained that he rents the place that I parked in front of and he doesn’t like it when “you people” park in front of our house when you don’t live there. (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rob Cannon

“Dear PoPville,

I wanted to revisit this post from 2010, and hopefully get some updates with respect to:

1) The timeline for adding a fair sized rear addition (from plans, to permitting, to construction);
2) Any recommendations of architects or contractors; and
3) Potential costs

The house is a semi-detached row house zoned R-2 (which means there is a 20 foot rear setback and 40% lot coverage requirement).

For anyone who has tried this — Are you happy you did?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

“Dear PoPville,

What is the DC policy governing parallel parking in front of your own garage in an alley? I have a neighbor who claims she is inconvenienced by my (very occasional) parking in front of my garage, despite the fact that she is able to get her car in/out without much difficulty and my car does not block passing traffic (including garbage trucks). Curious what the official or unofficial policy is on this matter.”


“Dear PoPville,

I received a $100 ticket for obstruction of plates for having a bumper bully in use while my car was parked. Could not find anything online regarding the proper use of these in DC. I contested the ticket online (fingers crossed). I am hoping DC is on the side of allowing these things as I can’t fathom parking a new car on the street without them. Curious if other people have gotten nailed for the same thing and if so did they appeal successfully.”