Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

“Dear PoPville,

A woman stopped me as I was walking toward Farragut after work and said she’d been in a car crash and her car was totaled and that she didn’t have enough cash for the cab ride home, which she said was 1.5 hours outside of DC. She said she worked for a law firm in the area but that no one was in the office and that she had just recently moved to DC from Georgia and didn’t know anyone. She was using a cane and was crying while telling me this story. (more…)

10th and Otis Pl, NW

“Dear PoPville,

In hopes of keeping our neighborhood clean in Columbia Heights, a lot of us do our best to report graffiti vandalism to 311 as quick as possible to discourage other vandals. Truthfully, the city does an outstanding job of getting it removed very fast when it is on public property as well as private property.

There is one area that seems to be a bit of a problem though. While they have become harder to find over the years, many of our neighborhoods (thankfully) still have some blue USPS mail boxes around. The one in our neighborhood, like a lot around the city, are frequently tagged, stickered, and vandalized. (more…)


“Dear PoPville,

Where do I start?

The High Heels Race happened yesterday on 17th street, and there were a group of suspected Trump supporters carrying signs saying “grab my pussy” dedicated to Trump, and others saying “protect your pussy” dedicated to Hillary. Even if it was an irony, a joke or anything, as a woman I find very disgusting and sexist how guys, either they’re gay, trans, or not, find fun to joke about other’s pussy. I don’t know if I’m making myself clear, because I’m not from here and sometimes it’s hard for me to express my unconformity… and here’s where the main story I wanted to tell begins: (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric Spiegel

“Dear PoPville,

I have a colleague who will be visiting D.C. from West Africa to take an intensive English course. She will be coming with her 6-year old daughter and is interested in staying with a host family so she can practice English. I’m wondering if anyone has had any luck with host family services in D.C. Does anyone know of any affordable services where she can be matched with a safe family?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

“Dear PoPville,

I searched your archives and only found one blog post about finding a marriage counselor but it was for pre-nuptial counseling. I have a need for marriage counseling at the other end of the marriage – trying to figure out if I want out or want to open it up, or what. Do you mind posting a question about a) should I be looking for a more general therapist, or a marriage counselor if (at least at first) I want to see them on my own?, and b) how do I find a therapist that is more open a la Dan Savage in terms of the multitude of potential options for us vs the binary of staying as is or divorce. The last thing I need is a marriage therapist who only has a very narrow view of models for marriage. There’re so many out there and so little on their philosophy or approach to therapy. It’s like taking a bite of a random apple not knowing it it’ll be sweet or tart or mealy or crunchy. What I want is the honey crisp of the therapy world. In DC or NoVA preferably.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

“Dear PoPville,

I was chatting with my landlord the other day about the D.C. camera stipend program, and he had some pretty good thoughts. He wrote them up for me:

Any sensor system, cameras included, are only as good as the neural system they are connected to. With present technologies, that means constant human monitoring, which is both very expensive and rarely done save for interior office building security, banks, and retail stores. Even there, humans with their short attention spans are only marginal. Passive cameras, like those that are everywhere in London, take a lot of data which is rarely analyzed which is why London is still blowing up despite having the highest camera density in the world. To be genuinely effective, the camera system must be dynamically reconfigurable including pointable and tied to a mitigation system if a problem is detected.

The DC effort is simply an attempt at a feel good solution, which will prove ineffective. Within the framework of present tech, lighting and physical barriers are the most effective. I would suggest that you and others keep the front gate always closed and the porch light on. Closed and lit are always less attractive to perps than open and dark. [The house] is effectively zombie-proof when all gates are closed and locked where possible.

Tying the sensors to a synthetic neural system would be the solution. Such an system would be capable of Artificial General Intellligence (AGI). Presently, AGI is thought to be decades away. However, I have a patented architecture which can support AGI and that we are in the process of pitching to VC folks, so watch this space. Better living through physics…

Side note: My landlord is a badass. He was a NASA guy from age 18 until retirement, sent instruments to every planet in the solar system, and ended his time there as a lead scientist in their robotics/exploration program responsible for developing technology for autonomous systems. He secured their four government patents on a synthetic skeletal muscular system, synthetic neural system, and psychological stability. I can’t think of anyone who knows artificial intelligence better than he does.”

While we’re on the topic: Mayor Bowser Announces Success and Extension of the Private Security Camera Incentive Program (more…)


“Dear PoPville,

I live a block off of H Street NE. The city has been towing cars either blocking street car tracks or parked in street sweeping spots to our block and leaving them here. And it seems people can’t find their cars because weeks later and they are still here! Also, a few blocks away at my kids’ school, there is a car that was towed from one tow zone to another and now has a stack of tickets on the windshield. I’m certain that these people aren’t intentionally leaving their cars for weeks at a time… including with an open window in the rain. I’m pretty sure this happened to a couple in the spring. They reported the car stolen only to find out it was towed.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Randall Myers

Readers reports:

“$20 for two $10s scam guy is back…or maybe he never went away. Spotted harassing folks at 15th and M this morning.”


“I’ve heard from several of my neighbors in the H Street area that “Neighbor Bruce” is back and coming to folks houses with a scam story about needing metro money and being locked out of his house. He is a white male, mid 50s, around 6′ tall, dressed in a full suit and tie.”

Ed. Note: He also goes by Gene


“Just want to give people a heads-up on this guy scamming people in the NoMa/Eckington neighborhood. It happened to me a few weeks ago, and this weekend I learned something similar by the same guy happened to one of my close friends. Considering the odds of that, I assume it has happened before and will happen to others.

Based on NC/VA/MD records, the guy in question is a convicted felon with priors in NC for felony B&E, robbery, assault on a police officer, plus numerous other petty larceny/obtaining money under false pretenses/drug possession charges, so that (combined with some things he said) gives me some reason to worry that he just might be involved in something beyond scamming gullible young professionals in the NoMa area.

On a Tuesday night a few weeks ago, a guy who looked to be anywhere from his late 20’s to mid-30’s stopped me outside of the NoMa metro station asking for a tank of gas to drive to North Carolina. He told me that his dad had just suffered a heart attack and his 14-year old brother was alone with him at a hospital in Durham. He said he didn’t have any money in his bank account to cover the gas, and it was right before the end of the month, so I thought that was plausible. I told him to meet me at a gas station on the corner of New York Ave and P St. NE. When I got there, he was standing outside his car waiting for me. (more…)