Where’s Cato.org when you need them?

So they are closing the area around the Convention Center. Ok.
They are closing the streets to cars.
They are restricting parking.
They are fencing the streets surrounding the Center and restricting resident and pedestrian access.
Oh, no. That’s sounds like someone’s 4th Amemdment rights are going to get violated!
I do hope residents do get a lawyer because it just seems to me that their American right to move freely and access their homes, entertain guests will be violated for 48 (or more) hours. And though some of you would gladly give up your Constitutional rights for any length of time for the shiny beads of security, nobody should be forced to have to carry around ID just so they can go home. Seriously, if events like this require this level of security, they really should have it somewhere in West Virginia or Camp David or somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.
Today it’s the residents of Mt. Vernon Sq for 48 hours, the next day it may be a few weeks for the residents of Trinidad….. oh, never mind.

Addition- Looking around I came across Flex Your Rights when trying fond info on what citizens can do regarding police barricades around their homes.

Starting a Rumor- Angelina Jolie @ 7th and PA NW

There have been cars blocking one land of traffic since I came into work and many are still there. On my way to Momiji I saw what I guess are catering trucks or vague vendors with snacks and coffee outside the Starbucks. When I asked a friend what was the commotion he said that Angelina Jolie is filming something at the Navy Memorial.
The only thing I can confirm is there is a film crew, and a big crowd at the Archives Navy Memorial metro station.

Historic Preservation & Sex: Never underestimate the power of spite

As reported in the Sunday Washington Post, the owner of a hunting and fishing store in Old Town Alexandria wanted to expand, was told by the city he couldn’t, so he rented the space to a shop specializing in lingerie and ‘martial aids’. The then owner of the hunting & fishing shop, Michael Zarlenga, according to the Post did work with city historic preservation staff and a staff member of the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review in developing his plans for expansion of the sporting store. When the plans came up for the Board of Architectural Review to review in 2007, they rejected it The Board staff member Zarlenga was working with decided that the changes would cause an “unreasonable loss of [the] historic fabric.” The Board chairman said that the changes would have changed the roof structure.
What makes me feel badly for Zarlenga is that he was supposedly working with city staff and taking their advice and the city just strung him along. Any way the city of Alexandria was mean and made him cry. He closed his store, and until this year it was vacant. And this is where the spite comes in….
Zarlenga rented his space to an adult store, and is thinking of selling the property to them. The owners of the adult store have several other locations in NoVa and was able to get into Old Town because unlike other landlords, Zarlenga was willing to rent to them. The city of Alexandria has received complaints about the store’s presence. However, in the long run this may be much ado about nothing. The Pleasure Place, a similar establishment, in DC has two locations, both in historic districts. In addition Zarlenga has another Alexandria property, I’m not sure if it is a part of Old Town, that he’s leaving derelict and apparently patching up with duct tape. So with the adult store and the vacant property, that seems like spite.
For clarification I am not supporting spite, nor supporting stringing people along.

Be aware of your surroundings

Even as a blogger I do value the MSM (main stream media*)for reporting on things beyond my general vicinity and digging deeper on things that are going on around me, but lately I think MSM has lost its ever loving mind. The message I’ve been getting is that nobody getting lent any money, my bank is going to go bust, and the world as we know it is going to end.
Take a deep breath and try to match that with what you can ascertain yourself, match that with what is going on around you. I know Poets and Bustboys just opened up a location this week near the Shiney Swanky Safeway, a Safeway mind you with a nut bar, a counter just for nuts. That does not signal a bad economy. Yes, there are foreclosures and short sales on my street. However, several of them involve investors, and there are many more failed flips several blocks around. Their stupidity, bad judgement, and poor cash flow makes me as sympathetic to them as I am to SUV drivers who are suffering due to the high cost of gas.
My bank, unless they are lying to me, is not going to shut down. I belong to a credit union. A boring, fuddy duddy, pain in the butt to get to, non-sub-prime credit union. And the credit union is still offering car, boat, student and house loans, as well as Wachovia, were I keep my food/mad money allowance. When the Wachovia branch at Dunbar and Penn Quarter shut down or cut back, then I’ll be concerned. I also own some shares of Wachovia, but their value is pretty much the equivalent of dinner for two at Equinox.
I also have stocks (also the equivalent of dinner for two at a good restaurant, tax, tip and wine included) in Pepco and Washington Gas. I’ll worry about them if I can’t have lights and there is no heat this winter. And we all have no light or heat then the price of the stocks are the least of our worries.
What of development in Shaw? Well considering all other sorts of other things can stall that, like the developer saying the community can’t agree on what design of ugly the library should be, being one example. Or a crazed puppet-regime ANC, throwing a wrench in the works. Or Jemal doesn’t feel like it. Or insane taxes on an arts venue.
Take a deep breath. Take a good look at your surroundings. Take off your ipod buds and hear what’s going around you, on your street, in the store as you shop. Get off the damned phone and be observant, factor in that people are still driving (like maniacs), they are still fixing up their yards, or still ignoring them like before. People are still walking around, going out, still illegally parking, still doing stuff that does not signal the end of the world.
If you are aware of your surroundings not only do you reduce your risk of being a crime victim, you also may keep yourself sane.

*If I fall into the jargon abrev. trap bring my attention to it.

Road to Hell: DCs renter protection laws

I’ve been meaning to post something about the problem with nuisance renters, the neighbors who have to put up with them, and the landlords who can’t get rid of them. And then I spot this on the 5D listserv:

I live in a privately-owned 2-story (total of 4 units) apartment building in Ward 5. It is a relatively quiet block. However, one of the residents has blatantly moved in other people, and refuses to pay rent (not since July). That is not my battle to fight (NOTE: The property owner, a federal government retiree/widow, recently went to court to get an eviction order); however, there is constant ‘traffic’ in and out the building at night…for quite a while now. Often, the exterior (front and rear) security doors are left unlocked – an obvious security issue/violation. We suspect that the rear exterior door lock has been ‘jimmied’ to allow ‘anytime’ access. Do I suspect illegal (drugs?) activity? I don’t know what to suspect anymore. I know that it’s not NORMAL to see someone (female) walk out of the building at 1:30am to an awaiting car, stand at the driver’s side window and talk for 2-3 minutes, get into the car, and 20 minutes later, she is being dropped off. YES..I stayed up that late to observe that happen. In particular, there are at least two cars (a dark green Cadillac-MD tags driven by a black man with thick long braids) that come and go as much as the building residents. This would not be a problem except that at one point, he obviously had his own set of building keys. I understand that he has a lengthy criminal record – as well as some as the others that come in as late as 11:30pm and may not leave until 5 or 6am. The building owner has expressed her frustration at not being able to legally remove this resident (who, incidentally, moved a girlfriend in, but denies this fact when confronted about it, and has refused to have her name added to his lease). She/property owner has been told that the Marshall service will not be able to serve the eviction order sooner than 60-90 days. Keep in mind that she has not seen any rent from this tenant since June. I’ve often heard how difficult it is for landlords to evict tenants; therefore, tenants can ‘live for free’ for months at a time….until they are forced to move on and inflict the same thing on another unsuspecting landlord.

[SNIP]Our sense of safe and security is gone. We don’t know WHO and WHAT is living around us anymore…and for those of us not yet retired, heaven only knows what goes on in the building while we are at work.

At the last BACA meeting the DC Attorney General (I think that was her title) for 5D mentioned that dealing with nuisance renters who endanger the safety of neighbors is ‘challenging’.
I am not attacking the good intentions and the desire to save DC renters from unscrupulous landlords. However, the neighbors who get terrorized by bad renters have little recourse it seems. I know of a situation where crackhead renter blasts music so loud that it shakes the neighbor’s wall among other things. The neighbor has been told that landlord is sort of making the attempt (maybe, this was mentioned a good while ago), but in the meantime there is calling 311 or 911, police maybe showing up to quiet things down, and repeat.


So I’m outside staining my fence. I tried using the pressure sprayer, but I think I ruined it since the stain protectorant is too thick. I had to use the old cup and brush method.

The whole time I’m out there doing 2 panels worth, from 5:30 till after dark, the house across the alley is nothing but screaming. She’s screaming at her, someone screaming at the kids, loudness, agruing and being very vocal for about 2 hours straight. I hear threats “What you going to throw at at me?”. I hear commands. I hear declarations. I hear cursing. The whole gamut. If there was a murder and the cops were to ask me, what were they fighting about? I would have no clue. About a guy someone was dating? Getting the kids to eat? There was no singular topic.

It’s not really worth noting except I was out there for the whole time. Normally I hear the yelling and screaming. But I don’t stick around long and I’m back in my own environs with the window shut and the sound of the neighbor’s spirited discussion muted.