Monday, May 05, 2003

Hmmm. can't say it looks much like there are fewer users or dealers around to me.

Oh, I'm curious to know who keeps submitting things to the Wor of Mouth website? Are you looking for information from me? Since you obviously have my email address, why not just write and ask me what you want to know?
This morning started with a very common 311 frustration- I had been told, by a sanitation person, that I could call 311 to have my neighbor cited for the stupid tree that I have been complaining to him about for years, so that he could be cited for a sanitation violation. Now, I guess that I assume the sanitation people would know what constitutes a violation and what doesn't? But 311 tells me that it is a civil suit since it is on private property. So, I wonder what I do about the tree in 30 N. Montford that is already taking out the wall to 28? The tree in my neighbor's yard prevents me from seeing much in the alley so if I want to do surveillance back there I'd have to figure out a new place to put the camera.
I finally dicsovered, after walking right up to the back of 2317 E. Fairmount that the house, which appears from the alley to be boarded, is actually open but the opening is below the sidewalk level so it isn't visible from the alley. I called that in and the confirmation number is: 161764. Won't be holding my breath or anything for that to be boarded.

I've been collecting vial caps and it is a pretty even distribution among the colors except for gold which is pretty rare. I had considered posting the counts but I'd hate to give the dealers more advertising than they get already. Along those lines, I have adopted a path in Patterson Park with my neighbor. We selected one that among the highest trafficked by users and started doing edging and weeding there on Saturday. What a treasure trove of vial caps!! Interestingly, only one needle was found all morning and that was on a different path from ours.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Can someone explain the color code on crack vials to me? I know that the Madison guys hear the call for green tops and blue tops- are the vials actually those colors? I ask because I've started paying more attention to the caps around here and there aren't really very many that are green or blue but lots of yellow, orange, red, and purple. We also have green and blue, white, black, pink, and this weekend I saw two silver and one that was kind of bronze or gold. Oh, and a few clear. So, are those all different, what, grades? amounts? purposes? There seem to be different sizes too.

The block has acquires a clean freak, a gentleman who lives up on Baltimore St. who seems to like to collect everyone's trash into one pile. In theory, this is great, but in practice the guys don't pick it all up because they think it all belongs to one person. But he also sweeps like crazy and the alleylooks great. Rumor has it that he may have been the force behind the clean up if 25 N. Bradford and 2321.But that was a lot more work than he looks capable of.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Apart from the usual druggies who come back to spend their seven minutes hidden in the corner of 2317, it's been pretty quiet out back. Someone cleaned up the yards of both 25 . Bradford and 2321 E. Fairmount and the alley looks great!! I sort of wish they hadn't done it after trash pickup on Tuesday of week when Fridya is a city holiday but it doesn't seem to have spread or made a mess up there at the end. Most ofthe left over stuff has been stacked neatly up against the back door to 2321. Including some old appliance and a mattress that has been moved from yard to yard.

I hate to sound greedy but I really wish the city would fulfill their promise of doing the yard at 2319 since it is big for stashing. A new twist, a pack of feral dogs was hanging around inside of 2319 the other day. This wouldn't be amazing for a vacant house but the first floor is boarded of that house, they used the trash as a step to the wall, walked along the wall, to the roof of 2321, then up onto the balcony and into the house. I checked to make sure my cat was in but since none of the dogs had bloodies noses I figured they were safe.

With the warm weather, I'm noticing more users in the park again. I find them downright amusing. Well, in that way that I find most people who are trying so hard to act normal that they stick out like a goose in with ducks. Since I am usually in less of a hurry than they are, I often hang around and around and around, watching them get more and more uncomfortable because they have the needle in their hand but they don't want me to "catch" them actually sticking it in their arm (or wherever they have a vein left).

I've heard a rumor that there is money to have the park patrolled for off leash dogs. While I definately think that something needs to be done about the dogs being off leash, I'm not sure that I would make it my absolute top priority. Not when 13 yr old girls are threatening park users with knoves, anyway.

Monday, April 14, 2003

I guess being around this weekend was a bit off putting, only two people even walked in the alley yesterday between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm. One went into the yard of 2317 for 7minutes to do his thing and one just seemed to be a little lost. I have the camera on today to see if it picks up now that I'm back at work.
We did get to see a bunch of prostitute action this weekend. The woman named Michelle (who just doens't look like a prostitute to me) got into a car on Saturday at 6. Either she is amazing or they didn't make the deal because she was back on the corner in about 5 minutes.
Yesterday, the other brunette- withan eyebrow ring and a very short denim skirt- hopped into a lincoln continental (tag number LGB 733) with an old old guy.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Heard a great story the other day at the Community association meeting. Apparently, 1 N. Port St has been having the kind of activity in the back that 2321 used to have (now moved to 30 N. Montford). My neighbor was coming home form walking her dogs and saw a lot of activity in the alley so she went back to see what was going on (without the dogs). As she was walking down the alley, there was a buyer in front of her who turned around and said "C'mon, hurry up before he runs out." My neighbor decided to saty on her own property but got a good eye full.

30 N. Montford has been very busy of late- they aren't going in but the house cuts back so there is an excellent hiding location there. Today I was out back trying to clean up some of the mess my fence builder left last year and decided that I really don't need to do much more than make sure they know I'm around and can see. Not necessarily that I am watching, but I might be aware of things. So I turned on some music and opened the back gate so I could see the alley and just continued with my clean up efforts (luckily, I didn't run into any rats *shudder*). The "new" dealer, a Black man, tall, thin, mid 20's had been selling out of 30 and then was hovering in the alley. Apparently he couldn't stand it so he had to stop, I'm not sure if he was stashing or just checking on his stash in the back of 2317 but he spent a little while looking hard at the trash- something most law abiding citizens don't usually do, and then exited the alley at Bradford. The Fairmount exit is the favorite but there are men working on 34 so it's too inhabited. I decided that I thought I could get a shot of him so I went upstairs- left the music playing and got the camera. So here he is with a couple buyers picking up the 2317 stash. He was nervous about me, it was clear, kept kind of glancing at my house and then took the buyers off to the vacants at Bradford to complete the sale.
One defining feature, he was wearing a stack of shirts- I guess for easy chenge of clothes- white, dark blue, light blue, grey, etc. Faded baggy jeans, pretty clean looking.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Yes, that stench is me. I just got back from taking part in the Mayor's clean up. The alleys weren't looking all that bad until we got to the hundred block of N. Port St- what a disaster! The bad thing about alley clean ups is that I find myself rehearsing mean and judgemental things to say to the people who live nearby when I know that, really, many of them are in the same boat I'm in when it comes to not being able to control what happens with the trash in the alley. We had lots of help from two great kids- William and Nick who put up with teasing from everyone (William is famous like a movie star in the neighborhood).

Of course, the real point about this is that we are still waiting for the city to make good on the promise they made at the last clean up in- um- October? When they told neighborhoods that they would clean up five problem yards in each neighborhood. We got one yard cleaned- months after the clean up took place. You know, we would have been happy with just that one yard if that's how they presented it, but since they told us they'd do five, I feel like they should follow through and learn their lesson abotu better planning. No, I'm going to resist making one of the obvious cliche's about "Believe" it's too easy.

I did get a good look at two of the users I see frequently on my block going into 114 N. Port St which is one of those vacant-in-a-lived-in-rent-free kind of way. I checked my sources, Apprently they are just users at this point in time. Now that I'm thinking about them, I'll have a picture soon.

Last night was quite exciting, I was watching a movie and heard all kinds of noise out front. Went to check and could still hear yelling but couldnt' see anyone but some onlookers who were kind of laughing at whatever was going on around the corner. Next thing, my neighbor comes aournd the corner in a rage (and yelling things I'd rather not post because I'd rpefer not to have people find this by searching on those terms). Apparently someone kicked his car and dented the door. He was probably angrier than I have ever seen anyone in my life so I took the phone and went outside to make sure he didn't get into any trouble or hurt anyone else.
The cops came about 10 minutes after the incident- two cars, an unmarked car, and the paddy wagon- I think that's all the cars we get for the entire sector? He eventually calmed down but he and my other neighor tell me that the gay men on the block are constantly being harrassed when they walk up and down the street. He claims that he asked them why they harrass him and, this part isn't clear, they either kickedhis door just because of the question or they said it was because he called the cops on them.

The whole thing makes me, again, want to send the people in the drug trade a letter telling them that we don't really care how they live theirs lives or what they do as long as it doesn't interfere with us. I actually think this is what my position is now. I wouldnt' even care abotu seeing them on th ecorner so much if they didn't bring down the block by littering and harrassing people. The problem is that there is no way they can't interfere with us- one of their users is eventually going to rob someone or break into a car or house, one of the kids playing in the alley is eventually going to have a run in with a needle or a vial and test it out, someone is going to think a woman who is just waiting for a bus is a prostitute and will harrass her. The conditions just aren't possible. Even if the dealers could control themselves, they can't control a bunch of unknowns who are high or doped up half the time.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

OK, so I haven't been around to look out the window in a while- yeeks! Driving home today I noticed a largish crowd in the alley (6-7 people) so I popped out of the car and let the dog out back to do his thing. ThHere was a whole tour group hanging around the back of number 30. Mostly White guys buying and two Black guys who appeared to be selling. it's interesting, the White guys were only focused on the Black guys and the Black guys appeared to be on the look out, looking around to see if anyone was watching. Um- except that they were completely ignoring me even though I was standing up on my raised garden bed and facing (but not looking really) in their direction. How sad that I'm not a threat?
One of the white guys must be a runner although he's in no shape to be. He appeared a bit later, late 30's? Bald with what hair he has shaved a while ago, glasses and a limp. He was carrying an aluminum crutch as he limped down the alley towards Baltimore St. Based on the way the dogs barked I'd say he's been around a bit.
I sat out front for a while, reading a magazine and watching the comings and goings of various people. A yellow Suzuki motorbike, with red flame decorations, made and appearance twice, stopped an dchatted with the corner dealers the first time. It was driven by a man and also had a blonde woman passenger. Both wore yellow helmets. The tag was a temporary and had a bunch of 3's in it (but maybe they all do?).
Then a sad looking guy sat on the steps across the street (number 33?) where he just kind of hung around until a tall, good looking, curly haired strawberry blonde- looked awfully clean cut to be wandering around on my block- wandered by and kindly rolled him a joint. Here they are finishing the transaction- wish I had a better picture of the blonde, but his extreme preppiness makes him quite memorable.

I'll be moving all surveillance to the front soon since my neighbor's stupid and annoying weed tree will be in leaf in a matter of weeks and I'll lose my view of the alley. Apparently, I can call 311 and have him cited and fined for it though.....