In 2001, Regino Flores petitioned the city for a sidewalk to be built on 4th Street SE, along the bus route that runs by his home in Anacostia. That July, the Department of Public Works agreed to build it as soon as the funds were available. And according to the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center, the deed has been done. A few times over, in fact. Over the past two-and-a-half years, Flores says he’s been given a half-dozen grievance-tracking numbers to follow his request through the call center. There’s still no sidewalk, but some of the tracking numbers say the problem has been solved. The other numbers lead to administrative phone tag. “They say it’s fixed when it’s not,”

Flores says. “That’s not the way [the call center is] supposed to work,” says Sharon Gang, deputy director in the District’s Office of Communications. “The whole idea is that people shouldn’t encounter bureaucracy.” —Dave Jamieson