Death and Taxes

I was going to write up properties getting the Homestead or Senior Citizen Homestead deduction with owners names that are listed in the Social Security Death Index, but that was too much work. I didn’t get past 3 northern Truxton block before I got bored.
Instead I’m going to complain about the Senior Citizen Homestead deduction, two dead people and their real estate taxes. I don’t get it. One dead person, who has been dead for over 5 years, but who has been dutifully paying their real estate taxes is charged less than my aunt (alive) receiving the same deduction. Both properties have the same square footage, the dead person’s house doesn’t have AC. Auntie does have AC, one less bedroom and has a bigger yard. However, according to the City, Auntie’s house is worth $100K less than the dead person and the difference in taxable assessment is $80K. Even though being dead is worse, Auntie is blind and suffering from dementia.
I said two dead people, one is our dead tax payer. The other is my late Uncle R, husband to blind Auntie. They are pictured here back when they were young. Sometime in the 1950s they bought a house in SE DC, and lived there. In the 1990s Uncle R died. Currently Auntie is listed as the owner and it is a logical assumption that previously the house was in Uncle R.’s name, if not both their names. Did that transfer or change in name bump up the taxable amount? Even thought my aunt has been living in the house for nearly 1/2 a century? As far as I can tell dead person in Truxton was there from the 1940s or sometime after the 1930 census.
I can’t see why my demented blind widowed aunt pays more in real estate taxes than a dead person for a house worth less.

Beggar at the door

This weekend I attended a service at a local church with friends and as we were exiting a woman AfAm about 5’3″ short hair and 250ish lbs was begging us for money at the steps. She said she was hungry and wanted to get something to eat. I said I didn’t have any money (totally true) but stood for a moment trying to catalog what in central Shaw served food to the homeless on a weekend night. She asked again, and I told her I was trying to figure out what services could help her because I didn’t have any money, but I had information. She didn’t want that, she said those places were closed. Why the frak am I supposed give to the Can’t Get My S* Together Fund?
In the Shaw neighborhood (NCPC borders) there are a dozen non-profits and churches that have some sort of outreach or feeding program for the homeless that I can think of. One church may do a free breakfast once or a few times a week, a non-profit a daily dinner, and the like. Then along the southern borders of Shaw, in the more downtown areas of town are the food van stops by the Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol and the odd church.
When my group had walked on down the street, one member of our party mentioned that he had already given her money at the beginning of the service. And even after he handed her a few bucks she was still bugging him. Just then I remembered I’d seen her before begging at that church, on several other occasions. It’s the perfect place to throw on the guilt trip.
Also this weekend I spotted a fellow on the 1500 block of New Jersey with a sign and a basket. I was traveling to the Giant, had forgotten my wallet, and traveled back along that same route so I noticed him. When there was someone stopped at the light he’d trundle over and ask for money. I couldn’t read the sign as he must have used a fine point marker.
Lastly, at my own door a woman, slightly frazzled knocked on my door about over a month ago. I’d never laid eyes on her before. She had some story that her aunt or niece died and a whole bunch of them (whomever they are) were trying to get up to somewhere in PG County and she needed a few dollars. A few days earlier I found a Smarttrip card laying on the sidewalk, okay in the gutter. I pick stuff up. It had 2 or 3 dollars on it when I checked. So I reached in my coat pocket and gave it to her. I try not to give money, but totally okay with giving away stuff, food, found objects.
Do I believe the story about the dead relative? No. Do I believe the beggar at church door? Answer- insert cruel fat joke here. Not really.
It seems that dealing with people begging you for something is part of living and working in the city. Be it people on the street or social service organizations that keep sending you mailers for more money than what you’re already donating them.

Gentrification re: Loaded

Frozen Tropics mentioned it first. Sankofa Video and Books up on Georgia Avenue will be ‘exploring’ the issue of gentrification this week. According to them:

The panel discussions will allow the community to thoroughly examine the implications of gentrification, gentrification and racism, the institutionalized gentrification, the economic implication of gentrification, the implication of culture gentrification, the appropriation of African American cultural icons for the benefits of the ‘gentrifiers’, and the following questions will be addressed:

Have they come to live with us or displace us?
Who owns the planet?
Gentrification: Latest stage of colonial power – or – it’s relationship to colonialism?

I see a bunch of loaded questions and statements. Yes, the word gentrification is loaded, but you can additionally pack it with more explosives and how you pair it with other loaded statements.
I’m going to take a wild guess and say the answer to question one will be displacement. Maybe the idea of living with people you’re implying are colonial oppressors may be batted around for a minute. But seriously, colonialist oppressor is not a nice title and you damage your radical whatever cred by coddling ‘those people’. Does one become a colonial oppresser by virtue of simply living east of 16th St NW? Is this an opportunity to rail against the Fair Housing Act, which allows people to legally live wherever the heck they want.
Here’s a question, is the ideal located in places in DC (parts of NE & SE) where gentrification is not occurring and probably will never even bubble slightly in the next decade or two?

Frost Free gardening

April 10th was supposed to be the last frost date for Spring, so I got out this weekend and played in dirt.
Inside the house I’ve been growing tomatoes from seed in the window. I took a few of the balcony hybrids and replanted them in larger pots. I also have some not-exactly red type tomato seedlings growing in the window as well as I love the odd varieties, the yellows, the green stripes, the orangish and whathaveyou.
Last year, some heirloom varieties we (we being me and neighbor B) grew were duds, producing nothing but lots of vines. I’m going to blame the light, or lack of it, in the rear yard. The front yard produced a bunch of rudely shaped San Marizano (?) plum tomatoes suffering from mild blossom rot. There were tons, and tons of cherry tomatoes that were great for snacking and I’ll do them again this year. The Russian heirloom variety tomato was a late season type that produced these huge monster tomatoes that most of the time I did not let ripen on the vine because one part would look 1/2 way to rotting. Having them ripen in a sunny window (to fight whatever mold-like thing growing on one side) was my best bet.
Besides tomatoes I planted some bean seeds. I’m doing the french string bean thing again. I really enjoyed similar beans I had grown before and a meal at Corduroy featuring buttery string beans reminded me of how great this vegetable is.

Papered Arrests in the TC

From The 5D Court Report for March 2009 (PDF):
Date of Arrest/Time/Charge/ Defendant’s Name/ Location of Offense

3/3/09 20:23 POSS OF A CONTROL SUBSTANCE -MISD ROSE, KARL F/O 1625 N CAP NE
3/6/09 19:39 POSS W/I TO DIST A CONTROL SUBSTANCE HANDY, LEROY A 45 New York Ave, NW
3/18/09 00:30 POSS OF A CONTROL SUBSTANCE -MISD WELLS, TONY D 107 Q ST NW
3/18/09 18:50 POSS W/I TO DIST A CONTROL SUBSTANCE WALLS, LARRY A UNIT BLK OF HANOVER PL NW
3/19/09 20:25 ASSAULT ON A POLICER OFFICER-DANG WEAPON HOWARD, JAMES 1300 N.CAP ST NW
3/24/09 16:10 POSS OF A CONTROL SUBSTANCE -MISD PHILLIPS, HOUSTON UNIT BLK OF HANOVER PL NW
3/26/09 14:50 DIST OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE SMITH, ERIC D unit blck new York Ave, NW
3/28/09 16:00 POSS OF A CONTROL SUBSTANCE -MISD BURNEY, SHENEISE 100 BLK Q ST NW
3/31/09 10:22 ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON HERRING, CALVIN 1200 blk of Kirby St, NW
Not in 5D but close enough to be of interest:
308 3/19/09 02:30 ASSAULT ON A POLICER OFFICER-DANG WEAPON EFREW, KIFLE 1544 NEW JERSEY AVE NW
308 3/19/09 02:30 POSS OF A CONTROL SUBSTANCE -MISD RICHARDSON, OZIAS 1544 BLK NEW JERSEY AVE NW

Hopefully this is the end of crime week at InShaw.

7th & RI- only a matter of time

Blocking off the sidewalk on Rhode Island & 7th St is an accident waiting to happen. There is a bus stop there and the bus lets people off. Those few traffic barriers are an island unconnected to safe passage. Okay, say the bus lets you off at the stop there and you’re in the barricade island. How do you get to the metro station? You have to walk out into traffic.
Today I spotted the G8 stopped at the corner of 7th and RI to let people off, blocking cars coming north on 7th. It looked like a safer course of action than deserting them in the barricade island.
Its only a matter of time before someone gets hurt as long as that sidewalk is blocked with no connection to a safe path.

Pray for Jennifer

I really hate hearing about these sort of things. Because everytime, I swear everytime, things begin to look better, when it looks like the past has passed, crap like this pops up. I got the following in an email:

I am surprised that there is no mentioned in your report of the assault on Sunday of Jennifer Ragins of ### Bates Street. She was one of the instrumental people that started Bates Street Civic Association. She was attacked by a wantobe thug. This thug blind sided her with punches.
She was taken to the hospital. This thug lives at ### P Street NW.

This is a house that has been raided by the police several times. This 15- year-old thud attacked a person twice his age. He is twice her size and weights twice as much. What African American parent raise a child to seek and attach a grown woman. I cannot say an alleged attack because there are witnesses that saw it and also heard him brag about it.
It was not a robbery because he took nothing. This was a set-up by the drug boys to silence someone who has been instrumental in improving this neighborhood. The 20 years plus I have live here, I have been a mentor and tutored to many young folks. However, there are those that are not reachable and need to be dealt with accordingly. This is one. I hear that a warrant has been issue but he has not been arrested. Where can a 15-year-old go to avoid arrest unless he has criminal help.
Jennifer needs your prayers and support. I hope that as this crime was occurring, those folks who were aware of it assisted in helping her as I did when a white woman on my street was attached. I did not bother about the color, I placed my self in harms way and I think if I had not she would have received more harm as in the case of Jennifer.

We can not just look out for our clicks or have our private groups. You cannot have an e-mail system or group that only glorify your click. For this community to address these types of criminal elements, all of us need to take a stand.

I’ve blocked the house numbers for privacy reasons. Jennifer and I don’t see eye to eye on the neighborhood’s name, and some other things, but she’s in need of our prayers, thoughts, and support. Pray for healing and justice.

Sexual Assualt in 3D

I wish I could find another source other than DCist on this about a home invasion on Marion Street NW in Shaw. The MPD website has nada, this isn’t the first time I haven’t been able to get wanted/information posters, whatever from the MPD site. According to DCist:

The suspect, described as a medium complexioned black male in his late 20s, 5’10”, wearing a black jacket and blue jeans, may have entered through an unlocked door. Kucik reminded residents to ensure doors and windows are locked at night, and to call 911 if you see any suspicious subjects in the area.

UPDATE: Source on the 3d listserv- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MPD-3d/message/6273 &
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MPD-3d/message/6265

The new people

My block is special.
About a couple of weeks ago we got two new households on the block. One was a single guy who bought a house and the other was a couple who where friends of another couple who’ve been on the block as long as I have. There has been a lot of back and forth between J&L and their friends as they help them get settled in. We’ve left the new guy alone for a week.
Then this wonderful weekend with the weather we’ve been having, so many of us were out in the front yard. So when the new guy poked his head out to tackle the overgrowth in the front yard we got him. I polled him about paint colors, as I’m repainting my house and asking neighbors’ their opinions.* While we were chatting I called over another neighbor who introduced herself and pointed out her husband. Then we noticed another J who was in the middle of running back and forth from the new couple’s house and called him over. Then J after some small talk took the new guy over to the new couple’s house.
In time we’ll see how the new people fit in. I think ours is a relatively friendly street. When the weather is good we hang out in our yards, chat over the fence, give each other unsolicited advice/opinions/warnings, lend/trade/give stuff (tomatoes, tools, etc), and at the very least, we wave hi.

*If you know where I live you’re welcomed to give input on the two finalist (there were more) colors. Though I like the lighter color, neighbors have pointed out that it will probably fade. I’ve been told the darker color is bold, and the darker color is winning the popularity contest. I’ll settle on one color this weekend.