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.....