Saturday, May 22, 2010
Dex DOESN'T Know - 25 Phone Books Found at Vacant Properties!
Post and Photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman
First, I was critically injured in a phone book mishap right at the steps of the Hawthorne office. After that, John did a post asking RT Rybak to make phone book littering a priority, and included a story about how I chased down some delivery people and actually threw the phone books BACK in their vehicle.
I recovered, and came back stronger than ever, and even emerged victorious against the Dumpinator 3000 yet again.
So when I woke up one morning to find a plastic bag of THREE DIFFERENT Dex phone books, my first thought was...
...I bet once again that vacant houses have these on their stoop too. Surprisingly, there were only twenty-five phone books at vacant properties, but the only part of the neighborhood that appeared to have received phone books was from Lyndale to 3rd and Broadway to Lowry.
Come on now, it's really not that hard to figure out which houses are vacant and clearly don't need phone books. A few examples:
I also stopped by two rather infamous vacant houses that had phone books at them. First up, 2222 4th St N, a house owned by Mahmood Khan. In an odd twist reminiscent of the numbers on my favorite show, "Lost," the 22nd phone book I picked up was at 2222 4th St N. I did NOT plan it that way either.
This was the property where the body of Annshalike Hamilton was found. The building was ordered to be demolished, Khan entered into a restoration agreement, failed to abide by its terms, and is now suing the city of Minneapolis in an attempt to stave off demolition. The buzz in the neighborhood is that he's subpoenaed so many of the city inspectors that scheduled house inspections and other duties are being interfered with. To Dex's credit, the property looks like it could be occupied.
This one, not so much. 409 31st Ave N was owned by Vicki Cox-Maxwell, wife of convicted mortgage fraud felon Larry Maxwell. Shortly before I started working as the Housing Director for Hawthorne, someone was killed on or near the steps of the place. It then went vacant, although various makeshift memorials were left there - often including the odd combination of teddy bears and liquor bottles.
Once vacant, it was a common target for squatters and prostitutes. I lost count of how many times I called it in to 311 as open to trespass. Then when the Feds started to investigate Maxwell, a lien was placed on the property to prevent him from selling assets - as if this house were an asset. THEN, Vicki went to California to declare bankruptcy, delaying the sale of this house even longer. Finally, with the help of Mark Ireland and the Housing Preservation Project, we were able to acquire this property for the purpose of demolition.
On other comment threads of JNS posts, people have suggested we have a phone book bonfire. That could be fun, but I'd really prefer gathering phone books from vacant houses and dropping them back off at the headquarters of Dex, Yellow Pages, etc. Dex will be getting a visit from me on Monday morning for just that. If anyone wants to come along and record video of what happens, contact me.
Another friend of mine suggested that we have a central drop-off location for phone books - either ones left at vacant houses or just unwanted in general. I love the idea, but I have no garage. Is there anyone out there who'd be willing to offer up their garage as storage space to do this?
Regardless, the bright side here is that we got to Dex before they hit much of the neighborhood. Let's make sure that they and other phone book companies hear us loud and clear: NO PHONE BOOK LITTERING IN NOMI!