September 24, 2009

Don't call us, we'll call you

Note to applicants: If you're hoping to land a city sanitation job, getting a citation for improper trash storage is probably not going to help.

That's the ironic situation brought to light by these photos, which accompany a city citation for "trash on sidewalk, street, alley or public/private lot" in Baltimore's Patterson Place neighborhood. (The bags aren't in a can with a lid.) A close-up on one of the pieces of trash shows a filled-out employment application. For -- yes -- the "Sanitation Department."

But hey, it could be worse. It could be an application for a code-enforcement job.

Tip of the hat to sharp-eyed reader Matt Gonter for noticing this.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Code enforcement

September 4, 2009

Smile! You're on code-enforcer camera

Baltimore housing-code enforcers have new authority to fine property owners who get violation notices but don't do anything about the problems -- a change from the old system of no recourse but court. That's for housing issues that require a warning, from broken gutters to vacant and unsafe homes.

The city has long been able to issue immediate fines to property owners for trash problems, though. And now it has the photographic proof online for all to see, a feature that went live a few weeks ago.

I threw "Canton" into Baltimore Housing's citation search tool, and up popped more than 100 citations with pictures. There's the Baylis Street property -- an in-process rehab? -- with wood and other construction materials piled up behind the open-to-the-elements rowhome. The Belnord home with trash all down the front steps, an old couch slumped on the back patio. The Conkling property owner who dumped a mattress and other trash in an alley -- including mail with name and address. (Doh!)

Baltimore Slumlord Watch, a blog that calls out problem property owners and expresses frustration with city reaction, thinks this feature is pretty keen.

Continue reading "Smile! You're on code-enforcer camera" »

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Code enforcement, Home maintenance
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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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