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What's the 311?

An Occasional Look at What People in the City Are Complaining About

Chris Landers

By Chris Landers | Posted 4/22/2009

Working for the city is hard, especially in these uncertain economic times. There's really no need for a bunch of complaining taxpayers to make it worse. Nonetheless, Baltimoreans called 311 almost 600 times in the first three months of the year to complain about our civil servants. This chart shows who they were calling about, and here are some of the more interesting complaints.

Jan. 15, 2009, 1400 block N. Calhoun Street, Department of Public Works employees. "Caller states city workers were riding up and down Calhoun Street in the Bobcat No. 086979. 1 guy was in the bucket and the other was driving.

Jan. 21, 2009, unit block of Willow Spring Road, Water and Wastewater employees. "Citizen reports that every day all day long crews who is suppose to be working on the water main break arrives around 9-10 a.m. and block the road then proceed to go into the truck and sleep until 4-5 p.m., after which they wake up and start working until about 9-10 p.m. This is not acceptable because citizens are without water from 4-10."

Jan. 30, 2009, 500 block of E. 32nd Street, Department of Transportation employees. "Loitering in neighborhood not working--the city workers are not working in the area they are inside of a restaurant getting something to eat not putting the salt down at this location."

Jan. 31, 2009, 4 a.m., Citizen complaint of employees, 3300 block of Oakfield Avenue, "Unknown party said police officer towed party's car away and threatened to lock her up if she did not shut up. Other . . . Party was at Crazy Johns on Baltimore Street."

Disclaimer: What's the 311 is based on data from the Mayor's Office of Information Technology (currently from Sept. 20, 2005, until Nov. 30, 2008). It has been folded, spindled, and mutilated along the way, and no attempt has been made to verify the accuracy of the calls. This reporter has never had a complaint about the quality service rendered by our valiant city employees. Please don't tow his car.

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