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I am so grateful that someone took the time to put our so-called city officials on public notice about the abandoned properties in our neighborhood (“The Florida Mile,” 9/7). I live in the 1900 block of 6th Street NW—where we were burned out of our home in September 1996 in the firebombing of a crackhouse two doors away. We, the neighbors of this block, had been complaining to the public officials for more than a year when this fire occurred. After we suffered our great loss—everything except our lives—we were finally able to rebuild our home, in 1998. However, city officials allowed the two attached abandoned properties, which were also totally damaged in that fire, to remain standing despite numerous calls from us as well as our attendance at “fake” meetings where we received false promises.

It was not until this year, when a young Caucasian law student purchased a home on our block—and your paper did a story on these properties—that our city officials finally did something. Words cannot express the anger we felt—while also being relieved that these properties were finally torn down.

Now, we are faced with another dilemma: After the city had some folks tear down the houses, they planted grass on the vacant lots. Who is responsible for cutting this grass? We placed calls to the Department of Public Works to find out. What response did we get? A “Clean It or Lien It” sign.

In all fairness, I must say that one city official has really tried to fight for us, and that is our Ward 1 councilmember, Jim Graham. Call him and his office policy is that you shall get a response from someone. I just wish he had all the tools he needs to do all he desires to do for our city.

LeDroit Park