Journal entries for April, 2005
click here for archives of previous entries

Monday, April 25
, 3:30pm: Got this email this morning ...

** High Priority **

Mr. Taylor:

A copy of your correspondence is being forwarded to the Colonel Deborah Owens, Chief of Patrol, and the Chief Anthony Barksdale of the Organized Crime Division for investigation/handling.

Theresa L. Hill
Special Assistant
Police Commissioner's Office

Thought nothing of it until I got a call while doing some sprucing up in the yard.

"Mr. Taylor, are you home? There a few people knocking on your door right now." Don't know why the dogs hadn't heard them. They were having too much fun in the sun with me, I guess.

Usually when I take pictures of well dressed men getting in fancy SUV's, I write down the plate number and where they're keeping their stash. Not this time ...

Leonard Hamm

This is Police Commissioner Hamm getting into his car with his assistant. He and our State Senator, Verna Jones, came by to respond to our emails. And I do mean "ours." Several readers have cc'd me their emails to the leaders I suggested.

Commissioner Hamm said "we're going to take care of it." Said he'd been in touch with Pedestal Gardens management who "wanted me to sign off" on a list of improvements in their security and supervision. "They look pretty good [the plans]." I warned him that they want his approval to appease the critics of PG, its neighbors, but especially at HUD. Now he knows they are under the gun to shape up or get out. I think he'll be a bit more skeptical since we filled him in on previous sham efforts that disappeared as soon as HUD wasn't watching. I referred them to Marianne Henderson of HUD who has her eye on PG.

Ms. Jones pointed to the Pedestal Gardens complex across the street from us and said "weren't they going to raze that?" I told her some neighborhood activists had wanted to but never came through a buyer or any real plan. I said, "that's changing soon, I think. People who live around here are more than tired of it. We closed down the crack house at 1704 and now the city owns it. Just recently Sergeant Wimmer and his drug squad did a lot of work to close down several "crack house" apartments there. Things can change."

He said the new plans include a passcard gated fence system. I mentioned Major Skinner and other officers I know are not fond of fences, as they have at Park and North's Section 8 complex. Too dangerous for the officers in pursuit. He said this plan would be different and that they were trying to persuade the owners of that complex they needed a limited access system, too. He also mentioned the corner of Linden and North Avenue as an area he intends to target. "The store there is part of the problem." I'm sure Adam, Steve and Paul who live on LInden would say "That's for sure."

These two areas are the west and north borders of Bolton Hill. Rampant Drug Gang activity throughout. Crack and heroin gel tabs available on every corner. Too many in Bolton Hill think the problem is the petty larcenies and muggings. That's the symptom. The result of having drug markets all around you. And let's not get me started about complaining to law enforcement about those evil people who leave their dog droppings behind.

Mr Hamm met Carlton Douglas, of the funeral home on the corner, Vaughn and me a few years ago when we were ranting about the long standing drug market and PG's contribution to it. He recalled the substation and knew the details of the Clarence Weston, 1704 saga. He reads the website.

He mentioned having a meeting about the problems here. I said the problems here, in Bolton Hill and on Linden and North are all related. The Community Council Meeting Wednesday night would be a good place to bring it up. He asked his assistant to see that the Chief of Patrol, Major Sheppard and the Chief of the OCD unit attend.

With that we shook hands and he was off. Driving slowly down the street, talking animatedly. At one point a bunch of people attending a self help meeting at NIMROD recognized him and waved. I'm sure his presence here meant something to them and to the dealers he passed among the kids leaving school.

That meeting is Wednesday night. Here's the email we got from Sergeant Hess, our affable Community Relations Sergeant ...

This month`s Central District Community Relations Council Meeting will be on Wednesday, April 27, 2005, 6:30 PM at the Mt. Royal Train Station Building located at Cathedral Street and Mt.Royal Avenue.

Guest speakers will be Sgt. Dave Wimmer or Det. David Jones from our C.D. Drug Unit and Detective Al Marcus from the BPD Homicide Unit. Central District has experienced several serious shootings during this past month and we want to reassure our friends that no trends are being established and that we, the police, are making special efforts to prevent future serious incidents.

Major Paul Sheppard will attend and give his report on police enforcement activity in Central District.

Our meetings are meant to be both social occurances where citizens from different C.D. neighborhoods can meet and discuss common problems; and informative events so specific topical problems can be addressed by the guest speaker or by the police on hand and possible solutions presented. If you haven`t attended our recent meetings you`ve missed a lot.

The continued success of our Council depends upon you, so please attend and learn what the police are doing or can do to help safeguard your neighborhood.

Sgt. Charlie Hess

It's pretty telling when the man who handles PR refers to the serious shootings. I'm pretty sure some bad trends are being established, but perhaps now we can have hope in the knowledge Commissioner Hamm obviously knows about them.

Friday, April 22, noon:

Email this morning to the Mayor, Leonard Hamm, Keiffer Mitchell, Sheila Dixon ...

"Good morning:

I am very concerned city officers actually are being diverted to other areas, leaving our neighborhoods under patrolled.

Just last week, Santi Hayes, former resident of 1715-1717 Madison Avenue and a known dealer of the Darkside Gang, was shot dead in the 500 block of McMechen. The Dark Side [drug] gang has operated from Pedestal Gardens to Pennsylvania Avenue for years.

There has been another rash of car breakins and an armed robbery* just yesterday in Bolton Hill across the street from the Councilman's home. Check out the Bolton Hill Bulletin Board. This is customers stealing any way they can to make the money to come over here to buy their drugs. A constant problem and one that's worse again now, only partly because the weather is improving.

Last night, I watched as five dealers operated with impunity at the corner of Madison Avenue and Wilson Street, on Eutaw Marshburn School grounds. Right under the sign. I invite Com. Hamm to visit our house one evening and look out the window for a few minutes to see the brisk drive through and walk up business being conducted three blocks from his own home.

Perhaps we should have a covert open house for Bolton Hillers to see the root cause of the crime they experience.

Yesterday, I did not see one patrol car through our neighborhood. Not one.
There was a great deal of proactive work closing down "crack house" apartments in the Pedestal Gardens apartment complexes last December and January. This the result of a meeting with then Major Skinner, HUD and neighbors. Check out this report** from our very dedicated and competent drug squad. There have been good raids along McCulloh and Druid Hill.

Major Skinner was actively addressing issues around here until his reassignment to the Western.
This work is being undone.

I realize there are other bad areas of the city right now getting special treatment. No doubt that's necessary, but a murder and armed robberies in one week and an ongoing surge in petty larcenies tells us all things are going downhill fast here.

Running from one fire to the other and letting the ones supposedly put out flare back up is a waste of manpower. It's a strategy which endangers citizens and officers alike. We need more prevention attention. Perhaps this is where our new found budget surplus should go?

Most sincerely,

Bryan Taylor
1708 Madison Avenue

*From: H. Cahill
Remote Name:
Date: 21 Apr 2005
Time: 23:12:12


My brother came in from out of town this afternoon and was robbed by two men - one with a knife and the other with a gun on Bolton Street (1700 block) at 1:30 this afternoon. I am posting this message just to remind everyone to be aware of their surroundings even in the middle of the day and if possible only to walk in groups.

On January 19, 2005 at 0500 hours we executed search and seizure warrants on eight locations inside the Pedestal Gardens Complex.

1. 1717 Madison Apt. 204
2. 1717 Madison Apt. 202
3. 1717 Madison Apt. 302
4. 1512 Eutaw Pl. Apt. A-3
5. 1512 Eutaw Pl. Apt. 104
6. 1521 Madison Apt. 202
7. 1516 Eutaw Pl. Apt A-2
8. 323 McMechen St. Apt. 103

We arrested numerous individuals and seized a significant amount of crack cocaine and marihuana. Also, because of these raids we identified numerous individuals that do not belong at these locations. Special Agent Dan Harding of the Inspector Generals Office was provided a list of all these names and is currently working dilegently to get these individuals removed permentantly. I hope these efforts have made some difference in this community, we have certianly been putting in alot of hard work.We have also identified several targeted individuals and are in the process of writing arrest warrants for these key dealers which should be picked up very shortly. I pray our efforts can be seen and felt."

Wednesday, April 20, 10am: Finally ...

The door

Big crew came by about 8 and put in the SCOPE door to 1704. Selling City Owned Property Efficiently. In this case it has not been efficient at all. The deadline for submitting offers is Friday*, unless it's been extended again. At least now we don't have to worry about people breaking down the boards to get to see it. They even used one of our old panels with the signs. Glad to help.

Now, if we could just get it into the hands of someone who really wants to live here rather than a wealthy developer from out of town.

*Update: A reply to my email asking about the deadline ...

"Mr. Taylor, I just want to inform you that we have spoken with our Listing Agent, and the deadline for submitting contracts will be extended for the initial two week period, beginning Monday. Nobody will be penalize and all contracts will be accepted and forwarded to the City for review within that time frame. Thank you."

So, if you're interested, get ahold of your real estate agent or the listing agent, Kimberly Orange. There is special SCOPE paperwork required and the property must be rehabbed within 18 months of settlement and ultimately owner occupied, at least in part. No aspiring slum lords, please. We have enough of those on this block already.

Sunday, April 17, noon: Most readers here know I don't embellish my stories. Reality is interesting enough. Of course, certain property managers would have you believe otherwise, but no one considers their self serving accounts.

Just watched as one of the three dealers who've posted themselves at Eutaw Marshburn Elementary walked back from reupping at Pedestal Gardens. He checked in with the ten year olds he has cruising around on their bikes, looking out for cops and as he walked past the green door now emblazoned with "RIP Pork" he doffed his cap. I mean truly, raised his baseball cap as he walked past, obviously as a sign of respect. I should not have been amazed, but was. "Comrades in arms," Vaughn said.

Otherwise, it's been a sleepy Sunday morning. Payne Parishoners and crack slingers. A typical Sunday on Madison Avenue.

Thursday, April 14, noon: Watched as a handful of kids painted this on the side of the NIMROD Center last night, about dusk. Mid teen girls and boys, if that. They caught my eye as they walked from their apartments at Pedestal Gardens because they were looking around, as if nervous. They were. They didn't want to get caught doing this ...

RIP Pork

I called 911 as I watched, but it only took moments to make their mark again. Perhaps a memorial to the young man murdered a few days ago, I thought. I'm guessing "Pork" was a dealer for the Dark Side gang that's had its mark on NIMROD for a couple years now. Don't know why it has never been removed. Hope this will be soon. Saw a police car in front of it this morning, perhaps taking a report. They did not show up last night, but they would not have seen the kids. They quickly went back into Pedestal Gardens.

Almost understand the need to put up this memorial, though it's sad to see this handsome building defaced again. I doubt they have any other way of paying their respects. Too many of the kids around here revere the dealers as role models. They too often have lived with them, as in Pedestal Gardens, and see their flashy cars, teeth, jewelry and wads of cash. You must find a way to pay homage to your heroes.

1704 is staying secure. Our warnings and info sheet seem to be doing the trick. Still no door to admit prospects. I guess most of them will just bid blind. They're so smitten with the "comparables' from Madison Park (north) and Bolton Hill (east) that make it seem it's worth so much. The agents don't mention it's surrounded by crack infested and poorly managed Section 8 housing or that to the west and south there are few comparables among the bombed out, abandoned buildings because no one's buying them.

Wednesday, April 13, 10am: Learned yesterday one of the players in our market was found dead, with a hole in his head, a block from Pedestal Gardens main courtyard the night before. One of three brothers who grew up around here, his mother lived for a time at 1715-1717. She's the lady who cursed Vaughn out one morning for interfering with her sons' business.

I wonder now if she has regrets, or even remorse. Or if she simply considers her son's death a part of doing business, as so many do.

If it had to happen to someone around here, it was better him than one of so many kids in our neighborhood who still have a chance to make better choices. He'd made his long ago. If indeed you think he had a choice. His life likely never would have changed, destined for this end or prison. He'd been there before and still not been able to shake the addiction that is what so many call a "game." Two plain clothes officers came into the substation while I was making coffee this morning. Someone said, "dealing is as much an addiction as using." The easy money is a powerful drug in itself.

Now we all wonder if this is the beginning round in a turf war here. I see the extra patrols already. I've also reported seeing fresh "blues" in my neighbor's unsecured back yard and fresh "reds" in ours. Different colors. Different dealers. Not good. If anything good will come from this death, it's that we'll be a blip on the radar downtown, yet again. We'll be a number at Citistat meetings for a while. The embers left neglected have flared up.

I do not subscribe to the predominant theory here that these murders do not affect "normal" folk, as I heard a caller say Monday on the Marc Steiner radio show. I usually avoid these shows so I don't have to hear the hate mongering, usually by those who long ago ran away from Baltimore's problems. The ones who turn around now and, from a safe distance, excuse themselves by pointing at our troubles. But that day readers of the site emailed me to suggest I speak to his guest, Leonard Hamm, our new Police Commissioner. 

I called in and waited. When I got on the air, I voiced our agreement with his planned return to "community policing," reminding him that we've worked hard to encourage police and citizens to work together, even offering a restroom in our home. He remembered that. I then asked him what could be done about the thriving drug market here. The one beginning at Pedestal Gardens, just three blocks from where he lives. Seems a good example of the sort of entrenched drug zone we have in so many places in the city. His reply was good PR. But I do recall hearing him say he'd be working on it.

That night, young Mr. Hayes was found dead in the middle of that very same drug zone.

My camera isn't fast enough. Just looked out the window to see the brightly colored train of knee high elves, all hand in hand, being led down the sidewalk to their Head Start class. Then, as if on queue, one of our squad cars came down the street slowly and a black gloved hand waved to the kids and their teachers. Many little hands fluttered back with big smiles.

There's hope yet.

Sunday, April 10, 8am: Interesting article in the Sun this morning. One that may help explain why we're seeing fewer city officers around this block. There's still no explanation why we're seeing Pedestal Gardens security guards so seldom, never at night. And no excuse either.

The headline reads ...

New cards, DVD put message from police in hands of suspects
Hamm calls the tactics 'psychological warfare'

Click here to go to it.

I know there are worse blocks in this town, but the Wilson Street corridor from Eutaw Place to Pennsylvania Avenue here in West Baltimore has been a crack haven for generations. We can't just put out fires and walk away while it still smolders. We have to maintain the progress. I wish more property owners and managers here understood that ... or cared to.

No one has tried to enter 1704 again yet. We've met several more prospects. They seem to understand the clear threat that we will call the police if anyone attempts to break in again. And they will be arrested for trespassing. There's still no door. One prospect told me it doesn't matter. "Most who are interested will assume it's a total gut and just be surprised if it isn't." I think they see the fine neighborhoods of Bolton Hill a block east. Madison Park a block north and assume this block is ripe for a rebirth. That's just what I thought five years ago. I find myself shaking my head, wondering if they're right. Still passionately praying we find ourselves with another homeowner who lives here. One who will work with us. That might well be the turning point here.

Was putting together a poster together for our alley:

NO Dumping. We are watching!

The city's recent run through to get all the illegally dumped trash has me all the more adamant it not revert to what it was. Put an eye staring on it. A bit creepy, Orwellian, I thought. Though entirely true. Plan to post them all over the alley. It occurred to me I should post the same poster all over our streets, except with deal replacing dump. Seems a bit like the same psychology Mr. Hamm is trying.

Closed the guestbook yesterday. Got tired of deleting postings for erectile dysfunction remedies, women with large tits, and poker websites. Far worse were entries by the far right fringe of hate mongers who hate my politics and virtually everyone else. Seeing the bad postings each morning was demoralizing, though not nearly so bad as adding numbers to the odious odometer of deaths in Iraq. Going to put the archived entries back up and leave it with Sergeant Wimmer's posting. The one where he proudly describes his team's accomplishment at closing down all the crack apartments at Pedestal Gardens last January. That seems the one to end it on.

I hope you will enjoy this glorious day. I plan to. After this journal entry, I intend to concentrate on working on the house and not dwell on reasons not to. I enjoy fixing things usually. If indeed someone, even the evil speculator, begins work on the crack house next door, I expect I'll feel a lot more enthusiasm about fixing things at 1708. Not coincidentally, progress on this house has been as sporadic as progress on the block.

Friday, April 8, 8pm: A warm spring night. The trees are all in bloom. The flowers sprouted. I'm sneezing. And the dealers are out in force. Seeing a taste of the drug season to come this fine Friday night. Five dealers, two on bikes, working the corner of Wilson at Madison Avenue. Two whom we know by name are hanging out on the school grounds of Eutaw Marshburn. All the checks have been cashed by this time of the month.

The guys are reupping themselves and/or sending fresh faces every so often right across the vacant lot of Pedestal Gardens into that building without worry. No security guards to be seen, as usual most evenings. Not that these guards could or would do any more than glance at the boys flagrantly dealing to drive throughs and the PG residents who now have the inconvenience of a 30 second walk for their fix. Just last fall they used to be able to step out their doors.

None of us believes anyone is watching the cameras. Not the dealers. Not me. At least no one who gives a damn or understands what they're looking at. City cops I speak to ask me "what's happened to the PG security? I thought the deal was we close down the dealing there and they keep it that way." See the guestbook.

That was the deal. But now we have a different Central District Major. One who does not seem interested when I call him with specifics. And one who did not attend the strategy session in December to force the wretched management of Pedestal Gardens to do right. He doesn't know. I really must speak to our neighbor, Leonard Hamm. Perhaps have a soda with him in the yard so he can listen and watch what's happening two blocks from his home. I wonder if he'd care more. Commissioner Clark came here, watched and understood.

I guess we're looking at renewing the fight with Pedestal Gardens. This time we will likely just circumvent the methods and people who have failed yet again. It's often happened here that when you reach an agency or bureaucrat who gets in the way, the only solution is to go over his head or around them. I certainly abandoned all hope for current PG management last year. I'll leave this threat at that for now.

Spoke to two persons interested in 1704 today. One as an investment so he can make a killing off this idiotic system we're using to sell city houses. P5K sounded great at the time, but now that I see it is only profiting the well connected investor, I see it for what it is. The wrong thing. I have said it before: the city should make sure anyone buying a project house from them is financially able to do so. I don't wish this effort on someone poor as us, but they go the opposite route, coming up with ridiculous, formulaic rules that make it impossible for a direct homeowner occupant to finance and renovate. No, instead, we must put the developer/investor in the mix to make sure he makes a killing.

It seems my signs and possibly some advice from the Realtor had their effect. No one broke in yesterday or today. No one pretended to be a city employee. That surely won't happen again. If I'd let them and those bureaucrats downtown (the ones so out of touch with reality if not complicit in a scheme) have their way, the dealers I'm watching on the corner would already be inside, setting up a cozy shop like they had before.

The deadline for submitting offers on 1704 is April 22. Yet no one can legally enter the building until it has a proper door, they sign a release and are given permission. We cannot allow them to break in again without a door because they will leave it wide open. And the people downtown I sparred with Wednesday wonder why I turned on them. I will fight dealers, rats, dumpers and incompetent city employees forever.

The listing itself is also absolutely careless, fraught with totally erroneous "facts". "Bedrooms: 3. Bathrooms 1." There are six horrible apartments, each with it's own pathetic bathroom. Some with two bedrooms. Everything else is listed as "other." There's a huge basement.  The one that had two feet of sewage in it for a month. No heat, no electrical systems that should be relied upon.

No where in the listing or any information we can find online, or anywhere else, does it stipulate this house must be owner occupied. No wonder the agent (Kimberly Orange 410.653.2500 x 101) did not know about such a requirement either. I suspect we've been lied to now. No one at DHCD cares if we sell it to another Clarence Weston so he can rent it out to crack dealers again and collect his rents and kickbacks, living in the burbs like the owners of 1700. Such progress, Mr. Levy (410.396.4598). I'm so impressed. And you wonder why we're incensed.

Perhaps Sheila Dixon and the Mayor need to know. I'd like to think they don't yet.

Friday, April 8, 9am: Spent Wednesday dealing with developer types and others in a mad dash to get into 1704. In two cases, persons told me they were city employees, as they tried to jimmy their way in. Stupid me, I believed them at first.

Three guys came to the back of the fence, on the substation parking pad. Get this: One was almost over our fence when I confronted him with all the venom I could muster. All three of these, especially the one caught scaling the fence, were arrogant, defensive. One suggested 1704 included the lot at 1706, which is our yard. After making clear that no one would be permitted to trespass here and that until they come with a real estate agent, no one is breaking in to 1704, I then explained the situation. Even commented that we want a responsible homeowner there very much, but that the property cannot be allowed to hang wide open while it is marketed. We're very tired of the city leaving us to first close this property and then to keep it supervised all this time.

Made several calls and emails to my bureaucrat friends while this feeding frenzy was going on. Think I may have lost a few as friends now if they were ever. As I told one, "to put a door with a lock on the building for the agent to let in prospects is not rocket science ..." You know our big concern is that the property will be left open and that very night we will find dealers, users and prostitution moving to set up shop again. Thanks to the prying, the boards we personally put up have no more removals left. I'm hoping the city will will simply come by and put up a door before any more prospects try to help themselves.

Spoke to the real estate agent yesterday. She said she would not have listed it had she known it was not ready to show. She denied she'd told anyone to go on their own or that the lot was part of 1704. She suggested we call the cops next time someone tries to enter without an agent there. We put a sign to that effect front and back this morning.


The sign in smaller type says ...

"This property is not ready for interior inspection.

Do not attempt to enter or you will be trespassing and subjected to arrest.

This property must be kept secure at all times for the safety of the block.

A SCOPE door should have been installed for access before it was listed. After one is, please contact

Ms. Orange, the listing agent: 410.652.2500 x101


Mr. David Levy, DHCD: 410.396.4598

An agent is required present for an interior inspection.

Further info:"

Again, I suspect this irresponsibility on the city's part has to do with our questioning bureaucrats who "know they're right and those who live here are wrong." I doubt they understand how personally we take the management of this property.

But that's not the attitude of some city employees...

1700 block alley Madison/McCulloh

I have never seen it so clear. I guess we're going to have to cancel our Super Spring Sweep Thing event. A city crew came through this morning and emptied it and some neighboring blocks right out. They worked hard and quick. Now of course the dumpers will see again that if they dump, the city will magically take it away. But they may also notice some signs posted threatening to unleash irate neighbors. I think I've personally perfected irate since living here.

At the end of the alley, the apartment house and store of 1700 Madison has seen the light. They have three steel cans out and nothing more. Druid House is taking its trash God knows where else, but neither is feeding the rats now. Next it'd be great to shore up the rotten old garage behind 1704 to stop housing them.

Our sincere thanks to Sanitation Enforcement Supervisor Ms. Dale Thompson and Enforcement Officer Dorsey for attending to our block and forcing the bad neighbors to stop trashing the alley. We'll do our best to maintain the progress you've started. And have already begun visiting neighbors with our information sheet.

Happy to say I heard a now unusual chant yesterday. Rather I mean to say I'm happy it's not everyday anymore: "Reds out, reds out, reds out." No one on the corner of Madison and Wilson except one man in a blue hoodie who was yelling this to a young woman as she crossed the school yard. I caught his eye as I stood in the doorway, staring. He went around the corner as he yelled "whoo-hoo, whoo-hoo." I didn't see the police car that call usually warns about. I think I may have a reputation.

Tuesday, April 5, 9am: 1704 Madison is finally on the market officially. Got the news yesterday. There've been people poking around it for the last week or so.

But get this: The asking price is $20,000 and the estimated cost of the renovations is $362,772. The geniuses at the city property disposition office arrived at this estimate because the rule of thumb is $75 to $100 per square foot for a proper rehab "done according to standards of historic preservation." They guesstimate the house to be over 5,000 square feet. According to one deputy bureaucrat I spoke with yesterday "that's what a house that size in Canton needed recently."

She had no clue when I tried to explain that our neighborhood is not Canton. Another staffer wrote me The cost estimate was not done in a "rule of thumb" manner, but through staff doing a site inspection. Yes, a city guy did spend five minutes looking through the place. And to require the rehabber to restore it to standards of historic preservation is ridiculous. Every remaining original row house on this block has been bastardized many times over. This is not Bolton Hill or Historic Madison Park as the residents from Laurens to North Avenue like to call themselves.

The way this house is being marketed virtually assures it will be purchased not by a little guy who wants to make a home here, but by a developer who can financially qualify to make renovations that are simply not viable on this block ... not yet at least. According the real estate agent, she's sure she'll get at least five offers in a couple weeks because she knows several developers "who'll have no problems with those requirements." Doesn't mean they'll have to invest that much. They just have to "qualify" for it.

Bizarre. I can't help but suspect requirements like these are rigged to make money for a well connected group of developers and to save the bureaucrats the inconvenience of having to learn and understand the dynamics of a given block. From another email: "This is the approach that has been so successful in Reservoir Hill.  We are doing this offering now in response to your request and that of President Dixon.  If you are right that it does not receive the kinds of offers that it needs, it will get a market-driven "shot in the arm" in a matter of months when the other properties also go on the market."

"Matter of months." I guess by some city employees definition, months is a short time. It'll be two years this July that we boarded Clarence Weston's former crack whorehouse. As readers here know well, we literally boarded it in more ways than one. And before that it was two years battling this jerk. A huge thanks again to the many neighbors from all parts of the city for their help with that. He was forbidden by the terms of his probation to contest any foreclosure, as we helped arrange. We were asked to find prospective buyers a year and a half ago. We did, last year, only to be told 1704 was being grouped with several homes in the Upton area to be marketed in the miraculous ResHill manner.

Anyone want to make an offer on 1704? Then give Ms. Kimberly Orange a call at 410.653.2500x101. If you have any questions about the wisdom of how this house has been managed by the city, by all means, please email Mr. David Levy with the Department of Housing at Perhaps I should put a for sale sign on this house now that we've got people looking. I'm pretty damned tired of battling crack dealers, criminal landlords, dumpers and bureaucrats who know they're right and those who actually live here are wrong.

We've been assured that a developer will have to sell it to a homeowner/occupant because it's a "SCOPE" property. I had to advise the agent of this. She didn't know. That's good. I'd be far more than irate if this house becomes yet another tenement with someone whose only concern is collecting the rents. That's about all we've had on both sides of this street for 40 years. No coincidence it became such a crack slum.

On a positive note: A belated thank you to Susan for another donation of bottled waters for the officers. They go fast, especially now. There were 20+ signatures on that sheet I put in their pit stop asking for officers to sign to let me know if it was worthwhile to them. Susan's help and the officers thanks is so very much appreciated and one of very few reasons I can think to stay here.

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