This building is a garage on North Christian Street, Lancaster. A previous, responsible tenant kept the weeds trimmed. Now that it's vacant, the owner doesn't bother. An already over-burdened city code enforcement department had to make him take responsibility.
"What a great canvas," i said. "That will probably have graffiti on it within two days."
The older maintenance guy laughed and said he'd give it even less time than that. I asked him if he lived in the city. He laughed again and said no, no way would he live in the city. I said, it's people like you who make the city what it is.
The younger maintenance guy who'd been drilling suddenly spoke up.
"Fucking bitch," he said.
I looked around and didn't see Alan Cherkin anywhere so I said, "Did you just call me a fucking bitch?"
He smiled and said yes. I said to older maintenance guy (omg), you stand there and let him speak to me like that? You make cheap, ugly fixes that don't fix anything. How would you like this in your neighborhood?
"You need to mind your own business!" omg shouted.
"This is my city. It is my business," I said.
They got in their truck and left.
Caring homeowners and rental property owners on this block have invested a lot in their houses. No matter where you live you are part of this community. The city is as heavenly as you want it to be. Would you want to live next door to this blighted property? If not, why would you make caring neighbors do so?
We keep our properties according to city code, a woman in Alan Cherkin's office said when I went to report what the men had said.
But city code is virtually dictated by, if not flat out written by, people who own investment properties. Would they themselves want to live in these properties? Well, you can't live in a garage, she said.