While D.C. offers the annual PBS "A Capitol Fourth" spectacular on the National Mall, many residents prefer to create there own, including Calvin Scott Sr and his 9-year-old son, Calvin Junior.
"Come out here and we just shoot fireworks until 1, 2 O'Clock in the morning," the elder Scott said. "I mean, we have friends that go to North Carolina, pick up hundreds and hundreds of cases of fireworks. Believe it or not, we just sit out here and have an excellent time."
"We're going to shoot fireworks," he said, his son interrupting to question the wisdom of telling the world about their plans. "It's just something that's, you know, tradition," the elder Scott continued.
What can I do if I see someone engaging in illegal fireworks use or sales?Calvin and Calvin Junior had better watch out. Maybe DC FEMS (God, they need a better acronym) can pull their best fire inspectors off fire hydrant inspections to go look for firecrackers. Sweet. How's that Eastern Market fire investigation going, anyways?
As a citizen of the District of Columbia, it is your duty to report the use of illegal fireworks use or sales to the DC Fire Marshals office at (202) 727-1600 for immediate action.
Have you ever found yourself wondering why that bottle of Miller Light at the bar costs the same as a six-pack at the liquor store? Or, why you have to pay so much more for a martini that only takes a minute to shake when you’re at home? Well, the answer to those questions is pretty simple: Bars charge more than liquor stores because they have to pay more overhead: opening costs, renting a space, paying employees, and interest on bank loans. When you do the math, it all adds up.So which ones of those (opening costs, rent, payroll and interest) don't liquor stores have to pay? It is true that a swanky lounge likely has more overhead than a corner liquor store. They also can turn a lot more profit.
Nikisha is doing something great for the community, opening up more doors for everyone ... who wouldn't want to support that.
I realize this is something unprecedented. My goal is to raise money through the community and via online donations from supporters like you to help cover the cost of opening KINDRED — a for profit business. And I’m hoping to do so with your help and support. Grassroots isn’t just for politics, after all, right?It's unprecedented because it's a terrible idea. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome to get fired up about something and to raise money for a good cause. But there's a reason why bars aren't 501(c)3 non-profits. She even mentions here that it is a "for profit business." Non-profits across the region and the nation are struggling, laying people off and discontinuing vital services to people. And Kindred wants to ask people to give them $100K to open a bar along a trendy (and expensive) strip of U Street?
- It is likely that the operator of the moving train attempted to apply the emergency brake.
- The train was operating in "automatic mode" at the time of the crash. This would indicate some type of failure in the automatic braking system.
- Passenger accounts say the train did not slow down prior to impact. It's unclear how accurate these accounts are, but if true, seem to indicate a massive failure in the braking system.
- The first two cars of the striking train were 2 months overdue for brake maintenance.
- WMATA understated the magnitude of the crash when they put in the call for help to DC Fire. It's unclear how much blame can fall on WMATA for this, but DC FEMS did not hesitate to say that the first crews arriving were woefully unprepared for what they found.
- "In a February 2008 online chat, Mr. Catoe also said the 1000-series cars had brake problems. He vowed a thorough investigation Monday aimed at preventing such crashes in the future." [Emphasis mine]
- "A Metro spending document from October 2008 outlines the plan to replace the cars with new 7000-series rail cars by noting that the cars' aluminum structure was becoming 'brittle and fatigued with age and use.'"
- Metro was aware that Series 1000 cars would likely telescope in a collision, potentially killing many occupants of the car.
- Metro was aware that Series 1000 cars had braking problems.
- Metro was aware that the structure of Series 1000 cars was failing over time.
- The first two cars of the striking train in the crash were Series 1000 cars, and were overdue for brake maintenance.
- If it was known that Series 1000 cars have braking issues, why was a Series 1000 car allowed to be 2 months past due for brake maintenance?
- Were Metrorail operators made aware of the potential for braking problems on Series 1000 cars?
- Since taking the job as Metro General Manager, had you reviewed the NTSB recommendations regarding the Series 1000 cars?
- If so, how was the decision reached to not retrofit these cars or accelerate their removal from service?
- Will you resign?
Loose Lips is all over this story, combing through the reports from the crash at the Woodley Park station. Here's a back and forth between the NTSB and WMATA:
NTSB:This morning NTSB spokesperson Debbie Hersman said "We recommended to WMATA to either retrofit those cars or phase them out of service. Those concerns were not addressed."
Either accelerate retirement of Rohr-built railcars, or if those railcars are not retired but instead rehabilitated, then the Rohr-built passenger railcars should incorporate a retrofit of crashworthiness collision protection that is comparable to the 6000-series railcars. (R-06-2)
WMATA does not plan to do a heavy overhaul on the 1000 Series, Rohr railcars. Instead WMATA plans to replace these railcars with the 7000 Series railcars on which design has already started. WMATA is constrained by tax advantage leases, which require that WMATA keep the 1000 Series cars in service at least until the end of 2014. The 296 Rohr railcars make up over a third of WMATA’s current rail fleet and have performed well for over thirty years. The railcars will be replaced around 2014. Current Situation: All WMATA rail cars are fitted with anti-climbers on the end of the cars. These are designed to engage during a collision and to reduce the tendency for one car to climb over the other. The newer 6000 design, while retaining the anti-climber feature, has included additional energy absorption in the front end of the car. That absorbs energy as its deforms and collapses in a higher speed collision. This type of design will be used on future procurements.
In view of WMATA’s response to the Board’s recommendation, it appears that further dialogue on this issue would prove futile. Consequently, we have no choice but to classify Safety Recommendation R-06-2 Closed Unacceptable Action.
Of course this is all irrelevent to the fact that one train crashed into another. That, of course, should never have happened. However, the fact that WMATA had been warned about such horrific potential in the event of a crash is unbelievable.
From the NTSB back in 2006:
"The failure to have minimum crashworthiness standards for preventing telescoping of rail transit cars in collisions places an unnecessary risk on passengers and crew."
As of last night, WMATA Chief John Catoe found no reason to suspend the use of the Series 1000 railcars.
Some type of system failure occurred to allow these two trains to collide. Operator error was most likely involved as well (witnesses say train did not attempt to stop before collision). HOWEVER, WMATA ignored NTSB suggestions for years that could have minimized the number of injuries and fatalities. Yes, Metro is low on funds and retrofitting cars is expensive. This is true. However, that's not a reason to run a system that is unsafe. Shut the damn thing down if it's not safe.
John Catoe should submit his resignation by the end of the day or be fired.
[Columbia Heights resident Tazah] Richardson said it is a mistake to think the rejuvenated commercial corridor has done anything to curb shootings and robberies. Many victims erroneously assume that the area is less vulnerable to crime because of the expanded retail presence.
"I saw a woman who just bought something at Best Buy walk down this street, and a guy walked up and snatched it," Richardson said. "Sometimes people seem to forget where they are."
In much of Columbia Heights, violent crime rates have held fairly steady in recent years, said D.C. police Inspector Jacob Kishter, acting commander of the 3rd Police District.
"Some of these gang-related fights have been going on for as long as you and I have been alive," he said.
Black, a recent graduate from Wilson High School, has been working in Graham's office making $12 an hour for about a week and showed up to work after the shooting, the sources said. Graham questioned Black about the shooting Thursday, but Black denied involvement, sources said. Black allegedly admitted his role Friday, and Graham drove him to the police station, the sources said. (Emphasis mine)I don't know about you but I suppose what I find even more surprising than the fact that the suspect was an intern is that Graham pays his interns $12 an hour. I mean, holy shit. I've worked a lot of 'real' jobs (part and full time) that didn't pay $12 an hour. I don't know why this kid went and screwed up a pretty sweet arrangement. At that rate, he could probably have worked his way up to executive assistant to the Mayor or some such and be pulling in $102K before he knew it.
Henry was likely trying to show-off, driving on the wrong side of the road at a high rate of speed. He collided head on with a car, though somehow he survived the crash. He was charged in DC Superior Court on June 24, 2008 with Involuntary Manslaughter.
In December he pleaded guilty to the charge of Negligent Homicide. Five months later in May of this year he would finally receive his sentence. 18 months in prison, 15 of those months suspended. 18 months of probation and 200 hours of community service. Also, a $100 payment to the victims of violent crime fund.
Katrina and I both started working at a hardware store the same day. Well, she'd always say she started the day before me, but we went to orientation on the same day. We had come to that job from completely different backgrounds. I was temping and working the door at a rock club, and needed more money. She was raising a baby girl and needed work. Her commute to the store would some days be upwards of 2 hours, on the bus and Metro. But she always came in.
Everyone at the store loved her, and when I left in April of last year to open another store, I knew I would miss her. Fall of 2007 had been a rough time for me, and she'd always hear me out when I had something to complain about. She had a way of making me shut up when I'd complain that life wasn't fair or some other similar drivel.
A year ago, I was waiting on our delivery truck at the new store. I knew they'd be stopping at my old store first, so I called them for a status update. I knew something was wrong as soon as they answered the phone. I started to ask about the truck and was cut off with "Dave, Trina is dead."
This is an intensely personal post for this site. I can't speak to whether or not justice was served in this case. She left behind a beautiful little girl, and I can tell you with certainty if I had talked with her and she mentioned riding on a motorcycle with some guy she just met, I would have told her she was being stupid. I would have told her to think about her little girl. But that's all beside the point. There's nothing that can be done about it now. It's a tragedy and that's all there is to say.
She always had a way of making other people realize what's important, and not to let things get to you. She was great with customers and could disarm even the snottiest, rudest people. She was going to attend the DC Fire Academy in the Fall of 2008. Sadly she didn't get the chance. She was so excited about that.
This has nothing to do with the mission of this site. I just wanted to share that story. Going through the emotions of this helps me put into perspective what is important. It's easy to get wrapped up in things, to be consumed by them. Take a deep breath and tell your friends and family how much they mean to you.
Jerry N. Johnson, who oversaw the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority when high levels of lead were found in the city's water, was chosen today for the top post at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the troubled Maryland utility whose underground water pipes have been breaking in record numbers.
"There's no doubt that Loudoun County would be a fantastic place for a soccer club. It's ground zero here for soccer on the youth level," said David D'Onofrio, a Leesburg communications consultant and soccer fan who has pushed for a D.C. United move to Loudoun. "If you take a look at where Major League Soccer is finding success, it's in suburban areas as opposed to urban areas."
"Developer Chris Donatelli, who is working on the property along with Mosaic Urban Partners LLC, confirmed that he is in talks with the group for a new restaurant at 3815 Georgia Ave. NW. Donatelli and the city recently negotiated a land deal for the spot."
But if you do want to follow the mold of DC restaurants, follow these easy steps:
1. Fucked up fusion food is your friend. Asian/Mediterranean tapas. Belgian and Southern cuisine. Since those are taken, feel free to think outside the box and blend two relatively disparate food sources and countries: San Marino Sautéed Potatoes. Finnish Spaghetti Barn. Gullah gumbo and Bhutanese hot wings. Also, fucking up comfort food staples can never steer you wrong (mac and cheese made with Mongolian kumis, meatloaf seasoned with Yemeni qat, Kobe beef hot dogs. Oh wait, that’s at Policy!).
2. Take advantage of urban blight. Lower rents mean that yuppies and hipsters will be banging down the door, begging to eat overpriced food in the ghetto. This will rapidly gentrify the neighborhood and in 10 years, it will look indistinguishable from Gallery Place. U Street is taken and H Street NE is being sold one parcel at a time. May I suggest Barry Farm?
3. An avant garde approach to breakfast. Any jackass can do eggs and bacon. How many can do chorizo and quail eggs? (ok, a lot of people). Thousand year old eggs and pork sashimi will really get people’s attention (and waivers signed beforehand will ensure you won’t get sued if some moron actually eats your culinary abortion).
4. Have a clever name that somehow ties in an esoteric fact for DC. Marvin is so named because Marvin Gaye, a DC native son, spent 2 months in Belgium where he wrote and recorded “Sexual Healing”. There are dozens of DC celebrities to choose from, mostly B-list, and they each have hundreds of obtuse life experiences that can serve as the name of an overpriced bistro. Where’s the American diner named in honor of local boy Maury Povich, serving up greasy fare with clever names such as the “Are you my daddy?” flapjacks and “when the chair hits your eye like a big pizza pie” pepperoni pizza?
DC is overrun by government types, so in my restaurant I’m going to honor them by naming it after the government’s comprehensive personnel form, the SF-86. The restaurant will serve government regulation food in neat, orderly lines and every server will ask if you’ve ever had ties to a group seeking to overthrow the government of the United States.
My restaurant will be opening in the old dry cleaner's slot on 14th and U. All the local bloggers will be invited to a friends/family/enemy night where you can sample the shitty fare and write glowing reviews of it on Yelp, complemented by photos you took on your cell phone. It'll be like the Emperors New Clothes, or Red Rocks, in that no one is brave enough to speak about how terrible it is because all the cool kids shout its merits from their rowhouse rooftops. Estimated time burden: 2 hours.
From the article:
The backlog not only puts the department on the wrong side of the law, but is forcing Chief Cathy Lanier to rush the remaining hundreds through training before the annual summer surge in violent crimes. The remaining officers will be trained in two shifts every day, and the training won’t be finished until at least July 2.
“I wouldn’t think there would be any,” she said. “Any officer that didn’t go to firearms training or stuff like that would be suspended.”
“During the most violent time of the year, 20 percent of the people are going to be in training,” police union Chairman Kris Baumann said. “That’s a public safety issue and that’s bad management.”
- Why are they not protesting outside of the owner's current residence? This address was published in the press release about the protest.
- Why is the main thrust of this protest to protect the "historical" property, and not to focus on the real dangers that can happen when people rent out unsafe properties?
- Why not protest outside DCRA?
- Have you tweeted to @DCRA about this?
why.i.hate.dc exists to provide timely, informative and often humorous commentary about the difficulties and problems of life in Washington, D.C.
“Today’s event should be a wake-up call for why we must work to fend off the controversial gun amendment that was most recently attached to the DC…Voting Rights Act, and will certainly resurface as part of future legislation,” said D.C. Councilman Michael Brown. “Loosening the District's gun laws is a deadly proposition.”Yes, because the hidden text buried deep within the Ensign Amendment makes it legal to go on armed rampages in support of the agenda of radical domestic terrorist organizations. I'm sure glad that the Hatch Amendment of 2000, which would have legalized crashing airplanes into buildings was never passed.
“Congress needs no more evidence than today’s tragedy, which occurred blocks from the White House, for the justification of the District’s strict gun laws, which protect the President, Members of Congress, D.C, residents, and millions of tourists who travel to Washington, DC each year to visit monuments and other sites like the Holocaust Museum,” said D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson in a statement.Oh man. I sure hope the mayor holds a commemoration ceremony for the anti-gun laws that took down the shooter at the Museum. While were at it, maybe we can stop wasting money on all of these All Hands On Deck weekends, because hey, we've got all these laws that make crimes like murder and robbery illegal. And hey, who needs the Secret Service, it's our gun laws that keep the President safe.
DC wouldn't go for this at all, because we are still thinking that letting people legally purchase firearms will somehow make crime even worse than it is. Clearly this would put some sort of burden on the city to register all these sniper rifles and tanks and nuclear weapons and so forth that would be legalized. Also people were up in arms (ha ha, but not taking up arms) because the Ensign Amendment would allow DC residents to purchase guns outside of DC. They say this creates interstate weapons trafficking problems. That might be so, except, DC isn't a state, and it's ridiculous to say that people in DC can own firearms but can't buy them anywhere except at the maybe one gun dealer in the city. That would be similar to saying people who live in Richmond can't buy guns outside the city limits.
Honestly, I'm not trying to gain favor with the NRA here, I just think this whole thing is stupid. I believe the DCeiver touched on this a while ago: This is probably one of the only times in the history of the human race where a government wants to give people both voting rights and guns. We are asking for more representation, we are angry, and the government wants to give us guns? Why don't we just take them? C'mon!
People are also upset that Obama hasn't commented on this issue and didn't put pressure on Congress to make this work. Well, that probably is some crap. Barack's got bigger fish to fry and whatever, he's not changing his voter registration to DC. He's got all sorts of representation back in IL. But dude. You've still got some political capital.
In the end, Norton and the DC Council and everyone else should have just bit the bullet and accepted the Act with the amendment. It gets us a vote, we can stop complaining about not having it, and we can have some pretty sweet gun parties. And, if, down the road Congress decides to stop being assholes, our for realsies Congressperson can propose a repeal to the Ensign amendment. This was never about statehood. Even with a voting member of Congress, we'd still have to bend over and take it anytime Congress wants to dabble in our business. With our without the Ensign amendment, Congress could still repeal our gun laws without giving us votes. Sure, we have a Democratic and maybe even liberal majority now, but that's not going to be forever. It's a lot easier to take the voting rights now, which would NEVER be repealed and work to change the gun laws at a future date.
How about we stop bitching that democracy isn't fair when we are bitching that we want a slice of that democracy. Attaching amendments to bills is part of the sausage factory on the hill. Maybe we should just attach DC voting rights as an amendment to the "Don't Slaughter Puppies on Live TV Act of 2009."
In a story that may or may not make the rounds on the blags (sic), the on-time graduation rate for D.C. public schools students has dropped below 50%. From the Post:
The study, released today by researchers affiliated with the trade publication Education Week, examined data from 1996 to 2006, the latest available federal figures, to calculate the percentage of students who graduate from high school within four years of starting ninth grade.To compare, Maryland and Virginia were at 73.5 and 69.2, respectively. Of course, this is comparing states to a troubled urban area, so those statistics are not particularly helpful. In reality, this story is mostly a non-starter. Back in 2006 USA Today reported (this was most recent data for metro areas I could find during my mid-morning Googling), school districts in Detriot, Baltimore, and New York City all had much lower graduation rates. Detriot was at 21.7, and Baltimore at 38.5.
In 2006, the study found, the D.C. graduation rate fell to 48.8 percent, down 8.8 percentage points from the previous year. The figure did not include public charter schools.
For stupid comparisons, Baltimore County had an 81.9% rate, and Fairfax County was at 82.5%. No real surprises there.
My favorite part about this whole thing, though, was the statement at the end of the Post article.
[D.C. Schools Spokesperson Jennifer] Calloway declined to comment on the study's graduation numbers, saying that it was D.C. school policy not to discuss performance data from the period before schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee took office in 2007.I suppose this might be a very valid political move, don't talk about bad things. However, this is setting up some awfully high expectations for when studies come out in the post-Rhee universe. What about if the on-time graduation rate falls again, maybe by 5% or 10%? You should have commented today, saying the figure is very troubling and that there is still a lot of work to be done.
But nah, it's all spin spin spin. Of course, I mean, Rhee was on the cover of Time Magazine and got name dropped by Obama at the debates. She's doing a heckofajob, I'm sure. Hell, maybe she is, but I also know that the D.C. schools is a perennial topic of "oh gee whiz doesn't that suck" amongst most people in this town. You know, except for the people who actually go to or send their kids to, a school with a 30% graduation rate. Hell, even the Obamas don't actually trust Michelle Rhee with their children.
Maybe we can just throw even more money and even more vouchers at the public schools. Oh, and maybe planting some gardens (or building soccer fields) can help improve things as well. We won't ask the hard questions about the systemic failure of the schools, which have been (literally) crumbling for decades. No reason to make the nation's capital have the best schools in the country (or world). This isn't the 1800's, we aren't a city on a hill.
From March to May, there were 17 such door incidents, all but three involving eight-car trains that were not properly berthed. Most took place during the rush period, and the largest number occurred on the Red Line, which is Metro's busiest. Three incidents involved six-car trains: Two berthed short on the platform, and one opened its doors on the wrong side.
Virtually all improper door incidents occur because operators forget they are in an eight-car train, officials said, and don't pull the trains all the way to the front of the platform. Instead, they are berthing them as if they were six cars long, with the end cars no longer abutting the platform.
In my wallet, I never keep a condom but a couple of Ben Franklins—a number of contingencies far more likely than that for which one hopes—and some foreign currency, a plastic bill adorned by Queen Elizabeth for a homeless man to come.
The muggers never get my wallet, a tattered curvilinear fold of black leather, fraying at the edges, a part of my body. Steel, aluminum, plastic, something taps the back of my head, demanding that other part of me and now there are four faces, to which I assign names. One’s fat. His name is House. One wears a yellow and black rag on his head: Mosque. The other two I name Dudley and Leroy; don’t ask why, it just pops—rote—into my mind and I turn to run.
You might zigzag but I don’t. Fear mixes with anger and I see House from the back of my head, staring and pointing.
This blogger does not have AIDS.
Tags: Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.
My youth burning several years ago to a cosmic crescendo, I joined colleagues in building a quintessential Washington experience—forming an adult kickball team in one of several metropolitan-area leagues.
Though my recollection of those Monday nights in Adams Morgan remains hazy, I believe we called ourselves the “Kicktards,” registering with the World Adult Kickball Association, known as WAKA, of Washington, D.C. Wearing oversized blue jerseys, we drank Pabst Blue Ribbon while challenging other teams at flip-cup, stripping to boxers and panties for little to no reason whatsoever.
Last week, the satirical newspaper The Onion nailed the experience in a feature, quoting a fictional bar owner in St. Louis who sponsors one such team:
“[N]ot one of these brats can order a drink without using a fancy-ass name for it," Henton added. "You want a 'Cape Codder'? It's called a vodka-and-cranberry, dickhead."
After confirming that sales of Pabst Blue Ribbon had doubled since he began sponsoring the team, Trimble confessed that the new business was coming from patrons he never wanted in his bar in the first place.
"These are people I should be beating up, not bankrolling," Trimble said. "Now this place is turning into a total hipster nightmare."
Does anyone still do this? Thankfully, I haven’t seen any of that bullshit since moving to Arlington.
This blogger does not have AIDS.
The bets start now.
First “hipster” DC bar that will instantaneously lose hipster cred once the film crews set up: Wonderland. Start writing your obits now.
Days until they visit H Street NE: Ten. They’ll barely last a week and a half before they’re clamoring to play putt-putt in the hood.
Days until they visit Bloomingdale: NEVER. Deal with it, Bloomingdale! You are nothing but gang-bangers, former hippies and indie kids who need a good shave. Try not to get a cap in your ass when you’re walking 10 blocks home from the metro tonight.
First “DC resident” activity they’ll partake in: Start a blog with photos of neighborhood row houses as a backdrop.
Second “DC resident” activity they’ll partake in: Blog about how much DC sucks (but hey, it’s better than when Barry was in charge, right folks?)
First blog to provide proof of the Real World house (in the form of a heavily redacted copy of the lease) in the most prosaic, banal post on God’s green earth: Prince of Petworth. Hey, maybe there’ll be a PoPTrekker to search for the row house’s lease at city hall, too! Keeping my fingers crossed!
First blog to dig up evidence of a cast member’s criminal background: City Desk. Good to know their special Creative Loafing bailout will be going to good use.
First blog written by an old man who complains about these “damned kids” taking DC’s attention away from such pressing things as trapeze school and focusing on where the cast whores are drinking and by the way they totally need to get off the old man’s lawn: Farm Fresh Meat. If his whiny, “I hate Brightest Young Things because I’m too old and/or physically unappealing to go to their events” post is any indication, we can only expect more curmudgeonry.
First blog to snap photos of supposed cast members but it’s actually a bunch of interns looking to get high: 14th and You
First blog to snap actual photos of real cast members: Those insiders at DCist because they’re the only ones who will get a real press release and credentials.
First blog to write a Real World post that nobody will ever read or care about: DC Avenger (your mission statement sucks, by the way. The witty revolutionary banter ripped off from V for Vendetta and hot pink “kisses” tagline are about as interesting and hardcore as a stack of Avril Lavigne t-shirts at Hot Topic).
First blog to actually write a semi-interesting piece on the cast that doesn’t involve the word “change”: Going Out Gurus. The Washington Post site was clearly designed by a blind man on meth, but they’ve got good content when your eyes aren’t bleeding from the horrible set up.
When I first saw this practice I thought “Oh, that’s cool. Street vendors.” and walked on. They tend to mind their own business and just stand there, unlike the CD and filched goods salesmen lining U Street who yell and plead with you to buy their wares. I’m sure the people tending these carts and coolers, handing out shaved ice and bagged fruit to passersby are nice, upstanding citizens. I’m not saying otherwise. What I am saying though is no matter how well-intentioned, this is flagrantly illegal. And not because “the man” said so to be a dick but because they present a real and present health risk.
I’ve seen many shaved ice carts tended by children far too young to be manning anything that requires handling money and customers. Hell, these kids are too young to ride their bikes in the street, let alone man a cart in the sun for four hours. Not only is it illegal child labor, but I wouldn’t trust a kid to make me a shaved ice. It’s not hard, but I doubt they use gloves when they scoop the ice and for all I know the bin they’re scooping hasn’t been cleaned out in months. Kids are also not known for their personal hygiene.
The little old ladies selling Ziploc bags of mango slices aren’t free from this, either. Proponents say they’re just trying to make a buck doing something relatively easy and appreciated by the community, what’s the big deal? The big deal here is that it’s unsanitary and at times can create a public nuisance, crowding the small area behind the bus stop on 16th and Irving. Some might say “Why bother fighting this? It’s a victimless crime”. Yes, and so is prostitution, but just because it’s victimless doesn’t make it legal.
What’s more, it’s not entirely victimless; any number of communicable diseases and bacteria can be spread by improper food handling and packaging. How about some Hepatitis A with your mango? Or if not that, could I interest you in some norovirus? All it takes is that little old lady hawking bags of sliced fruit to cough a little or neglect to thoroughly wash her hands after using the bathroom and then grope some mangoes. Next thing you know you’re hunched over your toilet cursing God, your impulsive purchase of street fruit, a random conquistador you remember from high school Spanish class, and Jim Graham.
Of course, as in anything in life, caveat emptor or “buyer beware”. If you’re dumb enough to buy fruit or shaved ice off the street without knowing if it was produced in a reasonably sanitary manner, you deserved that diarrhea. But that’s why laws about food handling and operating a legitimate business exist: because you shouldn’t be put in that situation, anyways. Getting food poisoning from your local restaurant sucks and shouldn’t happen, but it does, and when it does you have a proper legal process to file a complaint against the restaurant. Health codes are there for a reason (and not just to give money to those companies that make the “wash your hands” signs). Don’t believe me? Read The Jungle.
The only reason Jim Graham allows this to continue unabated is because these folks are keeping him in office. If he were to crack down on this he would lose his seat to – GASP – someone who would probably represent the yuppified hipster class that’s elbowing in on his territory and are scheming to rid themselves of Graham’s lunacy. Listening to his primary constituency of Hispanic immigrants and tending to their needs is wonderful and all, but turning a blind eye when they are blatantly disregarding sanitation and business laws is wrong. Blaming crime on legitimate business like Jumbo Slice, Alberto’s, and fining LEGIT businesses who advertise with sidewalk sandwich boards just makes this transgression even worse.