Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hawkman Makes 311 Calls, Develops Close Personal Relationship with Connie

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Okay, not THE Connie. But last Saturday I went around the neighborhood and did something of a Hawkman patrol. As the "to demo or not demo" discussion builds up, I wanted to get a sense of what kind of housing conditions we have in Hawthorne. I do this from time to time, systematically driving up and down every street, seeing what I see, talking to people, and calling 311. (Or on a weekend, emailing 311 or taking photos to use for 311 calls on Monday)

So this week I made several such calls, and three times in a row, a very helpful woman named Connie answered. For the sake of clarity on this blog, we'll refer to her as Connie 311 (pronounced Three One ONE, it's numeric).

The picture above was for a property open to trespass, and was the only call Connie 311 did NOT answer. Interestingly enough, though...

...I spoke to a resident on the 2500 block of 4th St N about this property. The lock was cut on the front door and the back door was open as well. He said he'd seen people coming and going who didn't look like they should be there. So I told him if that happens again, call 911 and report a TRESPASS IN PROGRESS. The police will get there much faster.

Earlier today, I drove by and saw him on the block again, and pulled over to talk. He said he did exactly as I said and the police came right away. The squatters may have gotten away, but the house was immediately secured.

Next up, Connie 311 helped me log two other boarded/vacant properties that were open to trespass.

The most heartbreaking call came from 2127 Lyndale Ave N, where a dog was tied up behind a vacant/boarded property. My guess is that either someone abandoned this dog here or that it belongs to the tenants of 2131 Lyndale Ave N, a Bashir Moghul property. Connie 311 referred this to Animal Control.

There was no 311 call needed at 2120 Aldrich Ave N, but there was a raze/demolish order on the place. I want to be able to document as many of the houses that either get demolished or come up for demolition as possible. This comes not only from a preservationist streak, but also a sense of history. Dream Homes aside, the houses that get demolished in Hawthorne are ones that are close to or over one hundred years old. Generations were raised in these homes, and even when demolition is necessary, it feels only right that someone should recognize their passing.

Speaking of things that need to be torn down, John and I encountered more sign spam. This time around, a plumber posted signs on plenty of boarded properties throughout Hawthorne - even ARSON houses. Who in their right mind is going to drive past a burnt out shell of a house, see these signs, and say, "THAT'S the plumber I want"?

We took down roughly 25 of this plumbers signs off of vacant houses. I also saw about a half-dozen signs nailed to telephone poles. They're no longer up, and I have dedicated this song to the signs coming down.

I hope to encounter Connie 311 again sometime soon!


Johnny Northside! said...


Yeah, baby.

(Commenting from Lapeneer, Michigan)

Anonymous said...


Shouldn't you work on getting the zoning/ADA issues straightened out with the Hawthorne property before you worry about other people?

What I see here is hypocrisy, and that damages the credibility of the whole Hawthorne neighborhood association.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Anon 10:59,


The zoning issues take many months to wind their way through city bureaucracy. From a purely technical standpoint, I'm not sure we even have an ADA "issue," although making this site more accessible is on our radar screen.

The bottom line is these things take time to work through and if we drop everything else then the neighborhood suffers.

We (meaning myself and the organization and community members) can walk and chew gum at the same time.