Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Even in the city home to the world’s largest library, some questions seem unanswerable. There might not be a book that tells you how to find a partner in their seventh decade of life or the appropriate price to pay for a newspaper that also empowers and supports unhoused vendors, but there is the Washington City Paper Answers Issue. 

As in years past, we’ve dug into archives, probed the depths of Twitter, and pestered D.C.’s public information officers to resolve your lingering queries about life in the District.  We didn’t make it inside a pink bathroom, but now we know lots of you have one. —Caroline Jones

The suggested donation for Street Sense is $2. Is it cheap just to pay $2 or should one donate more?

Yes, donate more if you can. Street Sense vendors are unhoused or impoverished individuals who act as independent contractors, investing 50 cents per newspaper and collecting 100 percent of the profit they earn from selling the paper throughout the District. (If you don’t have cash, you can pay specific vendors through the Street Sense Media app.) Vendor Moyo Onibuje found housing in Columbia Heights last year, but still works for Street Sense as a writer and vendor. He notes that the majority of buyers donate the suggested $2. 

“One in a million is very generous,” he says. 

Street Sense Media provides services to empower folks in search of housing, work, and health care, in addition to spotlighting stories about people experiencing homelessness in D.C. That’s worth at least $5, don’t you think? —Amy Guay

My backyard is too small for an inflatable bouncy castle. What public spaces in D.C. could I get a permit to blow up a bouncy castle in? My 25th birthday is coming up in August, so I’ve got to figure this out!

You’re in luck. It is possible to blow up a bouncy castle and have a party in some of D.C.’s public parks. But you can’t just pick a park, book the rental, and show up ready to catch some air. Party planners must apply for a permit through the Department of Parks and Recreation website. A DPR representative says that not all parks are a go, so for best results, apply for space in some of D.C.’s larger sites, like Garfield Park on Capitol Hill, Fort Lincoln on the D.C.-Maryland line, Oxon Run on Mississippi Ave. SE, and Langdon Park in Northeast. DPR also requires that it be added as a rider on the rental company’s insurance, so be sure to book with a bouncy company that will insure your event. You’ll also need access to a grounded outlet on a circuit breaker, which is a good thing to bring up when working with DPR on your event. National Park Service-managed parks in the District, among them Fort Dupont, Hains Point, and Rock Creek Park, do not allow moon bounces. —Laura Hayes

Why are there so many pink bathrooms in condos, co-ops, and homes of a certain age in D.C.? 

Modern architecture and design lore attributes the fad in part to First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, who had a storied love affair with rosy hues, decking her living quarters from top to bottom in the same shade. People eventually took to referring to the shade as “Mamie Pink.” But it’s not just pink that was popular: Mint green, pale yellow, and cornflower blue, to name a few, also had their moments, according to home design literature from the mid-20th century.

D.C.’s housing stock is old––an average of 75 years—and a significant chunk of it was built between the early 1940s and mid 1960s, when those colors were stylish. In the five years between 1942 and 1947, the U.S. saw what’s considered one of three great housing booms of the last century. 

I asked the good people of Twitter to share photos and stories of their own pink-tiled homes. There are some real beauties across the area, from Tenleytown to Arlington and Brookland. —Morgan Baskin

Is there any scenario under which the weed pop-ups will legally continue?

I hate to break this to you, reader, but as of this writing, the weed pop-ups you are referring to—not-so-secret parties and other operations where you can “receive” weed as a “gift” for another “purchase”—are technically illegal. Because D.C.’s marijuana laws are so hazy (selling weed is illegal, but you can “transfer” up to one ounce of marijuana to a person over the age of 21), people are getting creative in their interpretation. Thus, weed pop-ups. 

“While individuals have gotten very creative as to how to avoid the language of the law, [weed pop-ups] are in violation of the spirit of the law,” explains Justin Strekal, the political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. These weed pop-ups are, more or less, operating as if they are legal because the Metropolitan Police Department isn’t cracking down too hard on them. Strekal notes that in the instances when law enforcement does take action, it’s usually happened because someone reported them. 

“In a lot of ways, the MPD has been a good faith actor in enforcing these laws,” he says. But the only way for these weed pop-ups to actually be legal is for the law to change and allow for the taxation and regulation of marijuana sales. D.C.’s local government wants to do that, but Congress keeps it from happening. —Matt Cohen

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Am I crazy or does PETA’s crying elephant sculpture on 16th St. NW occasionally rotate? I swear I’ve seen it facing different directions.

You are spot on. PETA President and cofounder Ingrid Newkirk explains: “Good eye! PETA’s statue, named Ella PhantzPeril (get it?), has been rotated, although we had to take part of the fence out to do it. She’s been outside our D.C. office since the days when the now-defunct Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus used to come through Washington and is hugely popular with passersby, especially children, who often stop to discuss what she means and take pictures with her. Teachers tell their students who gather near her about empathy and respect for all living, feeling beings during story time with her, as well as how baby elephants are taken from their mothers and their homes in Asia and Africa to be used in traveling shows. Ella stands outside PETA’s office to send the message that, like elephants, we don’t forget and that everyone can make a difference for animals simply by making kind choices.” —Kayla Randall

Where can I find single, straight men in their 60s?

Based on your question, we assume you’re a single straight female looking for romance. We don’t know how old you are (30? 60? 80?) and we don’t know what you hope to do with these men—whether the end goal is a relationship or a brief encounter. We have no idea how you like to spend your leisure time. But we’ll do our best.

In terms of advice, single and partnered people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s in the D.C. area independently said: Do activities you love, whatever they are, and the romance may follow. (An unsatisfying message, we know.) 

Others offered more practical advice: Look for a widower. Go to a bereavement support group. Well, bereavement support groups are for the bereaved, so unless that’s you, City Paper can’t endorse this strategy.

We can suggest a tangential strategy, which is joining a congregation. Lots of people who are searching for something—whether that be romance, community, or the meaning of life—land in a place of worship. If you hate organized religion, this is not a good option for you. But if you can survive a service, there is probably a coffee hour, and maybe some organized events, waiting for you on the other side of the sanctuary door.

Another idea: Seek out places where you are highly likely to find people in their 60s. MGM National Harbor offers senior specials, including 20 percent off food and drink at select eateries, every Wednesday.

Stuart Rosenthal, publisher of The Beacon Newspapers, an area outlet for the 50-plus crowd, says that “senior centers and recreation department centers throughout the region have lots of social events,” including speed dating. Coming up, the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Recreation Center in Silver Spring is having a Casino Royale event with a live band on March 30 from noon to 3 p.m.

The Jewish Council for the Aging in Rockville offers several activities. None of them are about finding romance, but romance you may find. Staffer Jodie Rasch runs the JCA’s Career Gateway program and says people from all religions and backgrounds come to her course, which is for people age 50 and up. Some are simply seeking  new jobs, while others have been out of work to care for a loved one or recover from illness. Last November, two people who came to her class looking for jobs found love instead. They were engaged by Valentine’s Day. “When they shook hands it was electric, and they knew right away,” says Rasch. (JCA receptionist Margaret Bright confirms the electric handshake.) “Just like you never know where you’re going to find a good job, you never know where you’re going to find love.” 

Our next suggestion is extremely basic, but it works: Go online. This reporter created a profile on ourtime.com and found, on a random Thursday, 11 available straight men in their 60s. Not a huge number, but a search of the interwebs reveals that a wide range of dating service websites have worked for people age 60 and up. And don’t forget Craigslist. Online dating also means you don’t have to limit yourself to the D.C. area, if getting on a plane to meet someone is no problem for you.

A scan of the New York Times marriage announcement page, selecting for couples who are 60 and up, yields another strategy: Break out your old address book. Twenty-year-olds have the advantage of nearly swimming in potential matches. You may not be 20 anymore, but you were once, and some of the people you met back then might be available now. Maybe the object of your affection is no longer married to another person. Or maybe you and a former partner had an argument that, three decades later, doesn’t seem as important. —Alexa Mills

How the heck do we foster a counterculture in a city so focused on the system? The people of D.C. need revolutionary spaces, if only for our own sanity, not the good of the government.

You don’t need to look hard to find D.C.’s robust counterculture. Sure, we’re surrounded by “the system” that is the federal government, but for as long as we’ve been paying taxes without voting representation in Congress, D.C. residents have been pissed off. And there’s robust and longstanding counterculture to reflect that. 

I’ll spare the details on the history of hardcore punk—a genre of music grown right here in D.C. that was literally built on the ethos of being anti-establishment—and jump to what’s been going on in the past few years. D.C. has a rich culture of protest; between 2016 and 2017 there were at least 321 marches, rallies, protests, demonstrations, and actions in the District alone. As for “revolutionary spaces,” you need not look hard, either. It is our First Amendment right to organize protests in public spaces like Freedom Plaza or even the National Mall. But on a more grassroots level, there’s a number of DIY spaces in the District that host counterculture programming: Rhizome DC in Takoma, Dwell near the H Street NE corridor, and perhaps most notably, St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Mt. Pleasant. 

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Mark Andersen, founder of Positive Force DC and a longtime punk activist, on fostering and sustaining counterculture in D.C.:

“First, we foster a counterculture by knowing our radical history, which serves as a beginner’s index of possibility. D.C. has always been home to subterranean currents challenging our imperfect status quo to live up to the lofty words on the monuments. The 20th century African-American movement of independent culture, politics, and economics, centered especially around the U Street corridor (“The Black Broadway”) and Howard University, is a sterling example. We know it can be done, because it has been—and is being—done.

We also do it by knowing what we believe in—people—and what we defy—The Money God—and discovering allies, even in the most unlikely places. For example, from the 1980s until now, the D.C. punk scene was able to find common ground with some community-minded, inner-city churches to do shows, even though this might seem incredible to some. Despite disagreements, both tend to put human need before profit, and that shared disdain for the Money God is a powerful magnetism, a glue for a shared journey towards something past capitalism.” —Matt Cohen

Has there ever been a Hispanic or Latinx politician in local politics besides Franklin Garcia?

Although there have been local Latinx and Hispanic politicians in the Home Rule era, none have been elected to the Council or mayor’s office.

Franklin Garcia, the District’s shadow representative since 2015, rattles off a few notable names. Hector Rodriguez ran for the Ward 1 Council seat in 2002, but never won. He now works for At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds. Victor Reinoso was appointed the deputy mayor for education and was an elected member of the D.C. State Board of Education from 2004 to 2007.

Garcia also notes that Hispanic and Latinx people have been elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions over the years, including Walter Deleon, the youngest elected official in the history of D.C., and Joshua Lopez, who found himself caught in a bit of controversy during the 2018 election after he held a microphone for a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs at a “unity” rally .

As for the difficulty in electing a Latinx person to the Council, Garcia believes one major problem is the relatively small percentage of voters in that community. 

“When Latinos come out and they identify themselves as part of the Latino community, other people in the city may perceive them to be too partial to one community and that community isn’t strong enough to sustain them, to carry the electorate,” he says. “That probably explains why we haven’t had an Obama. You have to be someone who appeals to a broader base.” —Mitch Ryals

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Why does the District have so many psychics/fortune tellers/card readers and how do they afford such prime real estate in places like Georgetown and Dupont Circle?

City Paper was unable to discern any particular reason why D.C. has the number of psychics it does, but based on some Yelp prowling, we seem to have roughly the same amount as similarly sized cities like Denver or Boston. 

From past City Paper reporting on psychics, we’ve learned that many fortune tellers and tarot readers operate out of their private apartments or homes, so they’re often not paying for a separate storefront. Additionally, many of them have been in their locations for a long time, so real estate values might have been wildly different when they set up shop. The Psychic Shop in Dupont Circle has been in business for 26 years, and owner Charlie, who only gave her first name, says she chose the area because “it’s a melting pot kind of neighborhood.” Unsurprisingly, most mystics we spoke with were hesitant to broadcast their rental arrangements, home sale values, or business profitability (it is generally considered rude to ask such questions, even of an all-knowing entity), so we may never know how they afford their digs. There’s always the option of consulting a crystal ball on the matter. —Stephanie Rudig

How much money do bands make on average at 9:30 Club or The Anthem? And how about at smaller venues like U Street Music Hall or Rock & Roll Hotel?

This is a tough question to answer, mostly because venues don’t really want to answer it, and the rates vary wildly per artist. I can say, though, from personal experience as a musician in the D.C. area over the years, that artists don’t typically make that much—especially if they’re the opener, and especially if they’re a local opener. 

For touring artists that employ a booking agent, they’re typically paid a guarantee no matter the outcome of the show. But if an artist doesn’t have a booking agent, or doesn’t negotiate any kind of guarantee ahead of time, well, there’s a good chance they’re walking away with just a small percentage of what’s collected at the door. 

Here’s what Seth Hurwitz, owner of 9:30 Club and The Anthem, said when I asked him how much money bands make on average at his venues: “More than I want and less than they want.” That’s capitalism for you. —Matt Cohen

How long does it take for the Zoo to install ZooLights every year? How many people does it take?

It takes a village to deck the National Zoo out in a winter wonderland of LED lights. According to spokesperson Annalisa Meyer, setup for ZooLights 2018 began on Monday, Oct. 8, and continued until Friday, Nov. 23. The work crew averaged out to 12 people per day, Monday through Friday, resulting in about 3,200 total hours of work. “Typically there are about four people that actually climb the trees, three boom lifts to reach the outer branches, and eight ladders ranging in height from 6 feet to 22 feet. The boom lifts range in size from 45 feet to 60 feet,” Meyer says. Big Blue, a tree in Great Cats Circle, boasts the most lights, most recently shining with a total of 209 light strings and 12,630 lights. —Kayla Randall

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

What is Sulaimon Brown doing nowadays?

Though he was once an oversized presence in the small world of D.C. politics, Sulaimon Brown is now an elusive fellow. His number is unlisted. He has no easily searchable social media presence. And neither veteran reporters nor former mayor and current Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray could point LL in his direction.

Asked recently if he knew how to get in touch with Brown, Gray gave a hearty chuckle.

“I have no idea. I haven’t seen or heard from him in years,” Gray says.

Brown, for those who are new in town or have already forgotten, was a nuisance candidate for D.C. mayor back in 2010. He later claimed that Gray paid him to needle then-Mayor Adrian Fenty on the campaign trail and was promised a cushy job in Gray’s administration in exchange. Gray has denied any such agreement.

Gray won the election, and Brown got a special assistant position that paid $110,000 a year. It didn’t last long—less than a week after the Post announced his hiring, Brown was placed on administrative leave and escorted out of the Wilson Building by security.

Sulaimon, if you’re out there somewhere, give us a call. We’d like to know what you’ve been up to. —Mitch Ryals

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Why are there so many Episcopal churches in D.C.? I thought it was a pretty small denomination.

We started with a question of our own: Does D.C. have an unusual number of Episcopal churches? City Paper counted the number of Episcopal churches in four cities of about 700,000 residents and got the following totals: D.C. has 32; Seattle, 13; Denver, 14; Boston, 17.

The story of how this happened starts about 400 years ago. The Episcopal Church descends from the Anglican Church, or the Church of England.

“New England was founded by people who were running away from the Anglican Church,” says Susan Stonesifer, historiographer for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. British colonizers, meanwhile, founded Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. As they settled land, they founded Anglican churches. “Our first church, the first quote ‘Anglican Church’ in Maryland, is Trinity Church, St. Mary’s Parish in St. Mary’s County and was founded in 1638,” Stonesifer adds. In 1692 the settlers established, through an act of their General Assembly, 30 parishes in the Province of Maryland, and most of them are still active.

After the British lost the American Revolution, the Anglican church in the U.S. stopped accepting clergy salaries from, and praying to, the King of England. Clergy and laity had a series of meetings, and by 1783 a group of them chose the name “Protestant Episcopal Church.” The first parish in D.C., Christ Church, Washington Parish on Capitol Hill, was founded in 1794.

Stonesifer explains that the church made a big push to found more parishes in the 1840s. The Church of the Epiphany on G Street NW was one of them. The city grew and the church founded more parishes. People walked to church, meaning that a new neighborhood was likely eligible for a new church.

She keeps a mental list of beautiful Episcopal churches that have been torn down, like the Epiphany Mission in Southwest, demolished in the 1950s, and Trinity Episcopal Church at 3rd and C streets NW, once a beautiful brick building where Supreme Court justices worshipped. That land now houses the Department of Labor. 

To learn more, start with A History of the Episcopal Church (Third Revised Edition) by the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Pritchard of Virginia Theological Seminary. —Alexa Mills 

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

How come there are so few pigeons in D.C. compared with other American cities, especially New York?

One possible answer: More people, more pigeons. Where there are people leaving behind bits of food and other discarded waste, there are pigeons angling to eat them. In addition to finding food sources, pigeons have adapted well to city living on ledges and rooftops. 

But to adequately address this perceived disparity, one must first get a pigeon census of the District. As far as local wildlife rehabilitation center City Wildlife is aware, that’s not something that exists—yet. 

“I’m living in the D.C. area and visit NYC from time to time and, although I’ve noted there are many differences between Washington and the Big Apple, I was not aware that they beat us out in the pigeon population department,” says City Wildlife director Jim Monsma. “City Wildlife has not done a census of pigeons, but perhaps someone has.” 

Without that concrete data, it’s tough to answer this question. However, City Wildlife can definitively say that pigeons are the birds they most regularly treat. And thanks to this question, Monsma will focus more attention on the pigeons he treats. “I feel we must work harder to rehab pigeons or New York will totally leave us in the dust when it comes to numbers of pigeons. And we can’t have that!” —Kayla Randall

Just how is Dan Snyder so rich? The football team can’t be that profitable and his company doesn’t seem that successful.

Even though the Washington football team has alienated its fanbase through decades of dismal management and subpar performance on the field, it remains one of the most valuable sports franchises—not just in the U.S. but around the globe. According to Forbes, the local NFL team is valued at $3.1 billion, which ranked 10th in world in 2018.

The man at the helm, Daniel Snyder, bought the team in 1999 for a then-American sports franchise record of $800 million when he was just 34 years old. Now 54, Forbes estimates Snyder’s net worth at $2.2 billion. Snyder has owned and sold several companies over the years. He infamously bought a stake in the amusement park operator Six Flags in 2005, only for it to declare bankruptcy four years later. In 2007, he purchased Dick Clark Productions and the restaurant chain Johnny Rockets and sold them in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Last year, Snyder exited the radio game after his Red Zebra Broadcasting company sold its final radio property, WTEM-AM.

In 1988, he and his sister founded Snyder Communications Inc. and sold the marketing firm in 2000 to Havas Advertising of France for stock worth about $2.1 billion. According to the Washington Post, the money Snyder earned while running that company allowed him to purchase the football team. —Kelyn Soong 

If I wanted to hire Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, how would I go about doing that, and how much would it take?

Short answer: We don’t know exactly because Evans is potentially in some trouble with federal law enforcement, so he’s not returning our phone calls.

Long answer: Evans, a lawyer, started a consulting firm, NSE Consulting, in 2016 with well known local lobbyist N. William Jarvis. It’s located in Evans’ Georgetown home. The feds are now investigating connections between Evans’ firm, a digital sign company, and legislation Evans promoted that would have benefited the company.

The Washington Post got its hands on some emails that Evans sent to lobbying firms in 2018 in attempts to cash in on his political influence and relationships. Evans’ pitch to one firm involves “cross-marketing my relationships and influence” to benefit clients looking to do business in D.C.

“My legislative record demonstrates that I have been a stalwart champion of recruiting and retaining new technology companies, creating a regulatory environment friendly to business, and countering policies counter to these aims,” Evans writes in the proposal.

Evans reported in a financial disclosure statement from 2017 that he made between $100,001 and $250,000 through his consulting firm.

Let’s make a few assumptions and say his return was on the higher end of that range and he spent 20 hours per week doing work for his consulting firm. We’ll assume he spent the other, let’s say 30 or 40 hours of his week, working for the citizens of the District as an elected representative, drawing a $140,161 salary.

That comes to an hourly rate of about $240. —Mitch Ryals

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Do any of the Capitals players not drink? How did they handle the Stanley Cup celebrations?

The Capitals, led by captain Alexander Ovechkin, celebrated their Stanley Cup victory with a multi-day bender, so it’s a fair question to ask. Several of the indelible moments from the festivities involved extensive public consumption of alcohol: Ovechkin doing a keg stand out of the Stanley Cup, players chugging beer during the victory parade, and of course, T.J. Oshie showing off his party trick of downing a bottle of Bud Light through his jersey. (For what it’s worth, all the players were of drinking age last summer.)

“The entire team took part in post-game celebrations,” Sergey Kocharov, the Caps’ vice president of communications, tells City Paper in an email.

In other words, it’s safe to say that all of the players drank alcohol. Champagne and Bud Light flowed freely during the post-game locker room celebration. But just to make sure, I cross-checked the Stanley Cup roster with photos and news reports to determine whether or not all the players drank alcohol, and confirmed all but three—Jakub Jeřábek, Christian Djoos, and Philipp Grubauer. They were among the players that signed a commemorative Stanley Cup bottle of champagne, though. —Kelyn Soong

Why doesn’t Tom Sherwood run for mayor, or some other office?

The illustrious Mr. Sherwood has been asked this question for decades. In fact, when he responded to this writer’s email asking whether he’d ever consider a run for office, he sent a photo of a button a friend mocked up for a 1998 mayoral campaign. The slogan: Making the news work 4 you.

Many Sherwood fans, who’ve read his words, watched him on Channel 4, or heard him hold court on WAMU’s Politics Hour over the years, would love to see him use his knowledge of the Wilson Building to effect change on the dais or in the mayor’s office, but he’s not convinced and will only consider it under specific conditions.

We’ll let him explain in his own words: “If I were to run, I likely would run only for an open seat. I ethically would be uncomfortable covering any politician while also considering a campaign against that politician. In the unlikely event that I ever were to seriously consider running—and I appreciate all those who have suggested it—you would know because I first would quit any journalism activities well before.” —Caroline Jones

I’ve submitted over 200 311 requests during the time I’ve lived here, but only 5 have been addressed; the rest were closed as “resolved” but nothing was done. Who holds DPW and 311 accountable in D.C.?

The good news: D.C.’s 311 help/information number answered about 1.6 million calls in fiscal year 2018. About 560,000 of those cover “service requests,” such as parking meter repair and enforcement (81,441), street lights, potholes, and road signs (33,828), and missed trash/recycling pickups or Supercan delivery (19,366), according to FY 2018 reports from the Office of Unified Communications (OUC). There were 2,926 calls related to dead animals.

The bad news: There’s no official accounting that all of these service requests are, in fact, dealt with by responding agencies. “The 311 division does not close service ticket requests—this is the responsibility of the respective agency,” the OUC says in its report this year to Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen. “To be clear, the OUC is not responsible for the provision of city services.” It may be easy for DPW to keep track of Supercan replacements, or for DDOT to address potholes and streetlights, but other tasks take more time and not all of them get fixed. So when 311 reports that an issue has been “resolved,” that actually means that it has been passed off to the agency responsible for it. —Tom Sherwood 

How do you pronounce Chloethiel Woodard Smith’s name?

According to the Reston Historic Trust & Museum, which featured Smith in their “Women Pioneers of Reston” program last year, that particular tangle of letters comes out like this: clow-teal, with “clow” rhyming with “glow.” Armed with this information, you can better enjoy the architect and urban planner’s many D.C.-area designs, which include the Blake Building (one of three of her creations that sit at the corner of Connecticut Ave. and L Street NW), National Airport’s Metro station, and the Waterview townhouses in Reston. —Will Warren

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

There are a few buildings up on Mass. Ave. NW near the Cathedral that are well over 12 stories. Are they not subject to the height rule for some reason?

Generally speaking, the Height of Buildings Act of 1910 restricts building height along residential streets to 90 feet, and along commercial avenues to 130 feet (or the width of the street that it faces plus 20 feet, whichever is shorter). There are several notable exceptions to this, listed in the Act’s “schedule of heights,” but it actually places further height restrictions on buildings that are situated in the immediate vicinity of certain federal structures.

As for the buildings you mention on Mass Ave., here’s food for thought courtesy of a spokesperson from the Office of Planning: “It all depends on how the height is measured. … In [these cases], they may well be measuring to the top of the penthouse, which is construction permitted above the height limit. Also, where a building is constructed on sloping land, the height of the building measured from the lowest grade may be higher than the legal height for building permit purposes, which is measured from the center of the building at the front, relative to the street curb height.

“Several of these big apartments on upper Mass Ave are set on the edges of a steep valley, so at the back the buildings are taller than their measured street height.  Same with some apartments along Connecticut backing onto Rock Creek Park.” —Morgan Baskin

What happened to the quarter of a million dollars that Karl Racine loaned himself for his first campaign?

Actually, Racine loaned his 2014 campaign $451,000. The campaign took in $692,800 in contributions, and the AG used $100,000 of that to repay himself. He ate the rest of the debt when he officially closed the campaign at the end of 2017, according to campaign finance reports.

On a side note, that same campaign was dinged with a $5,000 fine for accepting $3,500 in illegal contributions.

“We corrected and refunded the money, and accepted our fault in not having as comprehensive of bookkeeping as we should have in 2014,” says Alethia Nancoo, the campaign’s treasurer. —Mitch Ryals

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