This past week, DC’s Office of Tax and Revenue sent out the FY 2015 (which begins in October 2014) appraisals for property taxes in the city. That means: if you own a house or a condo or a plot of land, the city assesses the value of that land and property so it can tax it appropriately. Property taxes represent about a third of the annual budgetary pie for the District, and the largest single revenue line item on the city’s budget. This year, I got the assessment from the city and had to go find a place to sit down.
My assessment had gone up 20%, a growth of about $80,000 in assessed value, and at current property tax rates, about $680 in additional taxes. Now, I’m no Tea Partier, and I’m certainly a believer in the necessity of taxation, but it ought to be on a fair market value evaluation of the property, and this new figure just wasn’t coming up as kosher to me.
Fortunately, you can appeal the OTR’s assessment of your home, and the process for that is pretty straight forward.
With the latest blast from the Arctic slated for DC tomorrow night – and forecast to bring single digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills – I thought to myself: how the hell do you dress for that level of cold? I grew up in the Central Valley of California; we didn’t spend a whole lot of time below 32°F, let alone down below zero with the wind chill. My mother’s family, though, grew up on the shores of Lake Superior, and some of them have ventured further north into Alberta, Canada. My uncle would regularly work in Fort McMurray, Alberta, four hours north of Edmonton at 56 degrees north latitude.
I asked them to help us stay warm this week, and they came back with the following:
So this popped out the other day.
It’s no secret how I feel about the whole name thing with the Washington football team. I oppose it. I think it’s racist. I have several personal issues with the name. But that’s not why I decided to post something about it.
The letter is a poor public relations attempt, mostly to mollify diehard team fans who will, unto the bitter end, support the racist moniker. Not out of reason, but blind emotion.
Hey, I get it. I understand why. Team fandom is a complicated, deep, personal thing that involves a lot of emotional investment and history. It’s difficult to hear that your beloved franchise is doing something wrong – simply by using a name (and by extension, mascot and other fan accoutrements).
The problem comes when that moniker is unveiled to be racist. The Washington issue isn’t anything new; it’s been around for decades. The movement today has found new momentum and has begun to find rightful traction in righting a wrong. (Just like the Civil Rights Movement began finding traction nearly one hundred years after Emancipation.)
The first third of Snyder’s letter is a play on his loyal fanbase’s emotional strings. “I still remember…the passion of the fans…the ground beneath me seemed to move and shake…he’s been gone for 10 years now…” All phrases and words evoking emotions and certainly causing the reader to recall their own cherished memories. Setting them into their defensive stance, so that the rest of the letter, which uses standard PR spin and deft deflection, only ratchets up the emotional volume for their impassioned – and misguided – defense.
Oh, and then there’s the trite “Our past isn’t just where we came from–it’s who we are” phrase. Bolded and italicized, even. Because it’s important! Continue reading
Leonardo da Vinci may not have mastered manned flight the way the Wright Brothers did, but his initial sketches of ornithopters from the late 15th century were structurally sound, if not necessarily possible in his day. Fortunately, we have the National Red Bull Flugtag
to help us determine if man can fly using nothing but creativity and basic materials. This weekend at the Southpoint Waterfront at National Harbor just south of the city, teams will attempt to defy gravity as they leap off the tower built over the Potomac.
This is definitely an awesome, crazy event, and we’ve got four tickets to give away – in two pairs – for our awesome readers. Just add a comment below with a valid email address and we’ll pick a winner Thursday at 5p and get in touch.
“It can be absolutely hilarious, painful, provocative, just plain bad, surprisingly good… I guess, rather like sex itself,” is what Jenn wrote in an e-mail after we got word that the Air Sex World Championships Tour were thrusting its way into H-Street’s Rock & Roll Hotel this past weekend. I’ve heard of the event before, if you think the idea of an Air Guitar Championship is silly, I don’t want to know what you think of the idea of pretending to have sex on a stage. In front of a crowd of people.
What I saw that night was more than petty stage humping or imaginary love-making, honestly I don’t know how to describe what I saw that night. Luckily I took photos, you can judge for yourself.
It’s been a hot weekend. As someone whose air conditioning unit is currently on the fritz, I can understand if the heat can drive people to do some rather stupid stuff. My friend Mark witnessed such an act yesterday while enjoying some drinks at Tony & Joe‘s on the Georgetown Waterfront.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of copying. At least somebody said that. I said it on my tumblr a while back and I didn’t think I was being original at the time, anyway. It should thus come as little surprise that there is now another bar called Passenger. What does come as a surprise is that it’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, whose hipsters are known for dismissing anything remotely unoriginal. Brooklyn’s Passenger is train-themed (obviously) although it substitutes a small upstairs space for the DC original’s narrow railcar.
The Brown brothers reacted on Twitter, with Derek tweeting, merely, “Ahem” and Tom asking, “Have you ever heard of this thing called ‘Google’?” Tom added the #FakePassenger hashtag, which I think sums the whole thing up rather well.
Hey, Brooklyn? We knew the Passenger before it was cool.
Gangnam Style has certainly taken America by storm this summer, and if this week’s appearance at the American Music Awards says anything- Psy might be around just a bit longer to be more than a one-hit wonder. On YouTube the video is currently the second most viewed of all-time and is poised to beat out the Biebz as #1.
Recently I took to the streets of DC to bring some local flavor to everybody’s favorite galloping dance. Watch the video below to see what happens when you walk around The Mall, White House, and U.S. Capitol dressed up as your favorite Korean rapper.
In an interesting turn for The Internet’s Latest Meme: Texts From Hillary, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited the Meme’s creators to meet with her and receive her own submission for the site.
The tumblr, which collects and produces fictional text conversations between celebrities and Secretary Clinton, has been burning up the web ever since it was created last Wednesday. Adam Smith, the Communications Director of campaign-finance nonprofit Public Campaign, says that it’s been a crazy week ever since.
Lexi + background actions
courtesy of Fitsum Belay/iLLIMETER
This is a real thing. If you are a Hipster, and you want to live in Arlington, the Arlington County Housing Division wants you! There’s an event running at Rooftop Bar next week to lay out your options for buying in Arlington, and door prizes total $2,000 (that had better be in Natty Boh, PBR, a nice record player, some DURKL gift cards and a fixie.) to help you buy a home.
Hipsters. Buying in Clarendon. Riiiiiight. Did you confuse them with the bros in brown flip-flops, perhaps?
courtesy of Ack Ook
Via Jalopnik and the Washington Examiner, Virginia residents don’t need to sweat the dreaded “speeding ticket via plane” in Virginia, mostly because the state doesn’t think it’s worth the $150/hr cost of keeping spotter planes in the air. Instead, they’re just going to keep nabbing you via squad car, and in some parts of the state, speed camera.
I always thought it would be hilarious/awesome to see the Air National Guard field a couple of A-10 Warthogs as speeding spotter aircraft. A few barrages from the Avenger 30mm cannon would pretty much stop all speed limit violation in the entire state.
D Block, Alcatraz
courtesy of itjournalist
We only gave Harry Thomas Jr the #3 slot in 2011′s Worst of Scandals list, but it appears he will be the number one figure in DC politics for the next few weeks. WUSA9′s Bruce Johnson is reporting that Councilmember Thomas will resign as part of a plea deal that will send Thomas to prison for 2-3 years. In addition, according to comments obtained by the Washington Post, Thomas failed to make his second scheduled $50,000 payment this week.
Thomas’ resignation would leave Ward 5 without a seat on the council (excepting At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who also lives in Ward 5) until a special election could be called. The District, according to law, must hold the election on the Tuesday after 114 days from the certified vacancy. Should Thomas’ vacancy be certified by Friday of this week, that election would take place on April 30th, but a May election date is more likely. Thomas faced three challengers in the 2010 primary, with none gathering more than 19%. No word yet on if any of his 2010 challengers would make a run for his seat.
Should Thomas resign, it would be nice to see the Council take efforts to, give the financial situation, amend the charter to add more flexibility to the special election options, including alignment to nearby primary and special elections, as well as provisions to allow for the Board of Elections to avoid days that could limit voters for religious reasons.
courtesy of kimberlyfaye
If your company participates in Metro’s SmartBenefits program, Congress has likely given you an unexpected pay cut. Those who participate in the program get pre-tax dollars put on their SmarTrip card each month, up to a maximum allowable limit that has been up to this point $230/month. Because Congress did not extend the ceiling, the new pre-tax ceiling is a little more than half that, at $125/mo.
So, when the changes come in a week, remember that it’s not WMATA’s fault, for once, and that the Congress that DC has no vote in snipped your transit benefit in half.
courtesy of ‘Rukasu1′
Anacostia’s Uniontown Bar and Grill has been the subject of a lot of favorable coverage and attention for bringing new life to the Martin Luther King Jr. Ave strip in Historic Anacostia. Unfortunately this morning the coverage will be different, as its owner Natasha Dasher is the subject of federal drug trafficking charges, as she and two co-conspirators apparently had 65 kilograms (140lbs) of cocaine delivered to a Fort Washington office.
There are a lot of unanswered questions right now, especially given the future of the restaurant. The Post’s coverage revealed that Dasher is behind on the rent for the restaurant, which is not a good sign.
courtesy of ‘MissChatter’
The Nationals’ catcher, Wilson Ramos, is feared to have been kidnapped while playing winter baseball in Venezuela. This evening, numerous reports, including one from his winter ball club, indicated that the Nationals’ young catcher has been abducted from his home in Valencia, Venezuela by parties unknown.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ramos and his family, and we hope for a quick resolution.
Update, 8:20pm Spanish language newspaper El Nacional has an article on the reported kidnapping. Google Translate gives us these paragraphs:
According to respondent, 4 gunmen approached the grandeliga Washington Nationals near his home in the Santa Ines, capital of Carabobo, and took him away.
“They are still waiting for the kidnappers contact the family,” continued the insider. “At the moment the only thing they have done is to inform the police.”
courtesy of ‘Max Cook’
We’d known this was coming. We’d heard that since Sulaimon Brown’s allegations of impropriety surrounding the Gray campaign, and Brown’s subsequent flame-out, were being investigated that this could turn criminal at some point. The Post dropped the bombshell in a Sunday A1 story that there was a grand jury impaneled to hear testimony concerning actions within the Gray campaign. The testimony to date, according to the Post, centers around Howard Brooks, Lorraine Green and Brooks’ son Peyton Brooks, and some shady dealings with cash and money order contributions, as well as the concerning matter of Sulaimon Brown.
The Examiner has some additional analysis concerning the immunity deals, which are certainly not what the Gray administration wanted to see right about now. They can just hope at this point that it’s just a few rogue individuals working without knowledge of the top of the campaign. If that’s not the case, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
‘Hippo hanging around after lunch’
courtesy of ‘afagen’
Who’s got the saw? And how many feet in a cubit anyway?
Well it looks like the internal domain name the We Love DC team uses to communicate amongst themselves should have been sandbagged – it floated away in the night and our ability to coordinate anything along with it. So instead of our usual Weekends feature here’s a picture of a hippo.
We miss you Happy. For reals. Peace.
Anyway, we’re re-assembling our excretion into a coherent gathering and hopefully will be back on track soon. We haven’t forgotten you!
As you all know, an Earthquake has hit the East Coast. When the quake happened I was in the middle of a video shoot with my co-worker Danny when all of a sudden our 14th floor office in Rosslyn started to shake. Watch the video to see Danny’s reaction.
‘Hi Honey. I’m home!’
courtesy of ‘cruffo’
When you consider that the winning campaign in the 2008 Presidential Election spent about $800M or so to achieve victory, Zillow’s prediction concerning 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at $262M of value seems a bit off. Now, the 16 bedrooms and 35 bathrooms, not to mention an attached garage, make it a pretty nice house, not to mention all of the security features that it contains, many of which aren’t listed in the property detail.
At 55,000 square feet, it does cut a stunning profile, and there’s central air and heat, so you’ve got that going for you. I hear the owner’s in a load of debt, so they could probably turn it into some quick cash if you threw a bunch of money at them.
courtesy of ‘christaki’
DC magazine Metroweekly reported late yesterday an incident that occured between two local men and a cashier at the new Safeway store in Southwest DC. The new location on 4th Street has been a real boon to the neighborhood, but apparently the staff hasn’t undergone any kind of real customer service training. The two men, purchasing groceries last weekend, were subject to harassment from the cashier.
It’s hard for me to imagine why this cashier still has their job five days later, even with a weaksauce apology. Then again, given our recent trips to the Starburst Safeway (famous for selling unrefrigerated expired ground turkey), attention to the needs and wants of their customer base isn’t exactly priority one over there, is it?