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City: Thanks, But We'd Rather Philly Be a Complete Shithole

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The 311 mobile app that launched this week to much fanfare could be a great tool—unless you have a problem the city thinks isn't a problem. Like let's say there's an overgrown, trash-strewn, vacant lot in Point Breeze that's so disgusting, you expect former Mayor John Street to materialize like a blight-obsessed genie and clean it up himself.

Who owns this lot with broken glass and fetid waste? Some irresponsible slumlord who owes copious back taxes? No. The city owns it and—what joy!—it is for sale. Buyers do not flock.

But there is one man who actually wants this craphole to call his own. He sends seven written requests to the appropriate party. He calls 24 times. He goes to the office in person several times. He has no luck.
This neighborhood property owner gives up. Point Breeze isn't the city's No. 1 priority, he knows that. So he goes ahead and cleans the lot anyway. He spends $20,000 and removes an estimated 40 tons of craptacular crap. He gardens. He landscapes. He puts benches in. Neighbors shout hosannas. Shouts the city: This is a bad man. He is a trespasser. Legal action will be taken. But first, the lot must be returned to its original condition immediately.

It is, says the Office of Housing and Community Development's spokesperson, a matter of principle.

Or, to translate: "Thanks, but we'd rather Philly be complete shithole."

· Was spruce-up of Point Breeze lot a trespass? [Daily News]