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(Greater Greater Washington)   Your local government may be dysfunctional, but at least it's not "We got a fake e-mail 10 years ago, so now the Office of Zoning only accepts handwritten letters" dysfunctional   (greatergreaterwashington.org) divider line 50
    More: Asinine, local governments, greater washington, Mendelssohn, clay tablet, zoning, District of Columbia  
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6191 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Mar 2013 at 1:35 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-08 01:38:01 PM
Just another reason......FARK YOU WASHINGTON D.C.!!!!!
BECAUSE FARK YOU!

/MURYLAND.
 
2013-03-08 01:41:34 PM
Once burned, twice shy.
 
2013-03-08 01:42:01 PM
In Philadelphia, they'll just punch you if you send them any sort of communication.
 
2013-03-08 01:42:41 PM
It's step 1.1.1 of our sneaky underground plan to get back into profitability. Muahahahaha!

/work for USPS
 
2013-03-08 01:45:45 PM
This has not been news in DC for about forever. Local government there runs about like a developing world, warlord-ruled shantytown.
 
2013-03-08 01:51:31 PM
What happens if you send them a fake handwritten letter?
 
2013-03-08 01:53:02 PM
Psh, that's nothing.  My town government is run by an idiot major who hates technology.  He does not have a computer, nor does most of town hall.  The town cannot accept email in any way, shape, or form.  The police department has to use the library to do online research.  The two fire departments are connected by ISDN @$400/month.  We were the last town in the state to get a computer-for free via a state & fed grant--for managing election proceedings; said asshole mayor went so far as to be out of town the day it was going to be delivered in order to avoid using it.  During the 3.5' snowstorm earlier this year, the major refused to hire contractors to clear the streets, so there were people using snowblowers to clear off their side roads...3 days after the storm hit.  The town purchases properties in downtown, fails to use them, and then sells them at a loss.  Most recently, the sewer line on an old American Legion building (next to town hall) was damaged, and rather than sell it to the interested party and fix it, they'd rather let him walk away as they try to assess blame.  They are already at a loss, and he was the only bidder on the property.

/idiot mayor has been in place for 25 years or so
//town is full of morons too
 
2013-03-08 01:54:56 PM
Does anyone know how to write anymore?
 
2013-03-08 01:55:08 PM
...because no one in the history of history has EVER faked a signature. It's foolproof!
 
2013-03-08 01:55:17 PM
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

If only there were some way to confirm the authenticity of an e-mail message.
 
2013-03-08 01:58:18 PM

Pants full of macaroni!!: Does anyone know how to write anymore?


Not everybody is illiterate.  We leave that to the Democrat controlled cities.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-03-08 01:58:45 PM
This makes it hard for many residents to participate in the forum where the city's land use decisions get made. Not everyone has a scanner handy. It takes a fair amount of time and materials to mail a letter.

If you find it so hard to send a letter that you are incapable of participating then I hope they rezone your house to a toxic waste dump.
 
2013-03-08 02:06:57 PM

Ivo Shandor: -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

If only there were some way to confirm the authenticity of an e-mail message.


Like any other signature, that only works if you've met the person and someone else you already trust who can vouch that they are who they say they are.

Chains of trust are almost impossible to manage in real life. You either have to trust everyone and prosecute liars, or extensively vet and only allow known people and still have to prosecute liars.
 
2013-03-08 02:11:52 PM
Ok, so the headline is a little bit hyperbolic. But, can you blame non-techies for wanting something in hardcopy through the mail if it's supposed to be official input on a decision? Of course there are plenty of ways to do it via email, and if I can e-file my taxes I should be able to contact the zoning board the same way, but how many times have we seen the "Town starts internet poll to name bridge" headline that results in the "GOATSE Bridge" or similar? I can't blame them for making an attempt to stop the flow of random incoherent feedback that was probably pouring in from the interwebs.
 
2013-03-08 02:13:58 PM
Subject: URGANT ASSISTANCE REQUIRED. PLEASE READ!

DEAR SIR OR MADAM

My name is DV OUS, ESQ., and I am represent the estate of DONALD P QUACKENBUSH who is want build a shopping mall in your town. We have located you because MESSR. QUACKENBUSH was a big fan of the WASHINGTON GENERALS and wished to build shopping mall there.

THE ESTATE is in possession 150 MILLION USD American with which for we intend building this shopping mall.

Unfortunately, it is in escrow with the 1st UN International Bank of KENYA. A refundable processing fee of 5 THOUSAND USD American is required for us to access this money and proceed with zoning permit application.

Please respond with ID #, bank routing number and account number if you can be of assistance.

SINCERELY YOURS
DV OUS, ESQ
NAIROBI
 
2013-03-08 02:17:32 PM
getting a kick, because in real life work, I have to sign my signature to dozens of legal documents every day.

i don't have  "a signature" anymore.  Every time I sign something, I like to make it different than before.  My signature is a squiggle. Sometimes, it has two loops.  Sometimes, no loops. Sometimes, there's a few squiggles below the rest, other times, there's none.  Most of the time, there  might be a passing resemblance between the one part of the squiggle and a letter of the alphabet, if you squint real hard, that actually matches a letter in my name.

If you took 5 signatures of mine right after each other, they wouldn't even be close to each other.

If ever asked in court, I couldn't even tell you if something was my signature, someone elses, or just a random squiggle from some psychology test.

They can make me sign it, but there's no law it must be legible.
 
2013-03-08 02:24:45 PM
 if you want to tell the DC Zoning Commission what you think of a development proposal, you have to print out a letter on paper, sign it, then scan it back in,

Or, you could use a digital signature and CutePDF.

storage.canoe.ca
 
2013-03-08 02:33:51 PM
I'm kind of OK with this. If you can't be bothered to send in or bring in a letter than it's probably not that important to you. It's kind of an idiot gate or an analog CAPTCHA.

If you didn't know, one mailed letter to your congresscritter is worth at least dozens of emails.
 
2013-03-08 02:37:59 PM

graeylin: getting a kick, because in real life work, I have to sign my signature to dozens of legal documents every day.

i don't have  "a signature" anymore.  Every time I sign something, I like to make it different than before.  My signature is a squiggle. Sometimes, it has two loops.  Sometimes, no loops. Sometimes, there's a few squiggles below the rest, other times, there's none.  Most of the time, there  might be a passing resemblance between the one part of the squiggle and a letter of the alphabet, if you squint real hard, that actually matches a letter in my name.

If you took 5 signatures of mine right after each other, they wouldn't even be close to each other.

If ever asked in court, I couldn't even tell you if something was my signature, someone elses, or just a random squiggle from some psychology test.

They can make me sign it, but there's no law it must be legible.


Yup, same here.  Although the "C" as the first letter of my first name generally comes out legible.  After that my brain gets bored, and its random squggles from there.
 
2013-03-08 02:48:11 PM
Yeah!  Go DC!!!! We're Freaking AWESOME at this governance shiat!!!!!
 
2013-03-08 02:48:56 PM
Complaining that your local government agency is unresponsive or slow to adapt to modern technology is one thing.  This: "It takes a fair amount of time and materials to mail a letter" is a farking ridiculous complaint.
 
2013-03-08 02:52:29 PM
In the town my parents live in, all the town zoning maps are still done in pencil.  To this day, if they need to change something, they just erase the old and pencil in the new.  There is no history, as there are no copies.  This isn't a rural town, either.  8,500 residents in 3.5 sq miles 30 minutes from NYC.
 
2013-03-08 02:53:38 PM
someone got embarrassed by a Nigerian Prince ten years ago and now is
i2.kym-cdn.com
 
2013-03-08 02:53:56 PM
farking luddites
 
2013-03-08 03:05:17 PM

beezeltown: This has not been news in DC for about forever. Local government there runs about like a developing world, warlord-ruled shantytown.


As someone who has lived in DC for quite a long time, the current system is actually almost immeasurably better than how it was a while ago. The DMV was so bad that people simply would not register their cars - I considered it. The mission of many "staff" at the DMV - and I am not exaggerating or joking - was actually to *not* allow you to register your car. Again, I mean this literally. They actively looked for ways to keep you from registering, at least many of them. I can still recall having to make 5 trips to register a used vehicle - that I held the title to. And each trip was about half your day. I can still remember the lady at the desk telling me that a copy of my rental agreement wasn't valid proof of residency, I had to bring in the *original* agreement that the building owner had.

They used to have a policy for registering liened vehicles of requiring the original title, and original title *only*, from the loaning institution. They would send them a receipt in lieu. I found this out when I first tried to register a vehicle. The *only* thing on paper that affirms in a court of law that I owe them money, and they have to trust it to get there via mail and not be lost in processing. When I asked the rep at the bank (not in DC) about it, he just said "yeah, it's DC."

When I paid off the car, they sent me a receipt that I took to the DMV, where they gave me a new title, not the one created when I purchased the car.

So like I said...it's better. And that's just one agency.

Flipside: the cops didn't stop you/detain you for anything short of selling drugs or killing someone. Speeding? No time for it. Having a beer in a public park? Hell, why not just have one in the Post Office, sir. Fistfight? I don't see any weapons, let 'em have at it.
 
2013-03-08 03:15:29 PM
I worked as IT consultant for the LA Department of Building & Safety. You know all those seemingly far-fetchedtall tales about lazy do-nothing incompetent public employees? Sadly, its all horribly true.
 
2013-03-08 03:16:50 PM

Ivo Shandor: -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

If only there were some way to confirm the authenticity of an e-mail message.



imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-03-08 03:25:37 PM
As someone who's had this problem, in 2013, I'm ok with this. I'd be more ok if you had to leave a DNA sample and hand deliver it to the office. Under penalty of perjury hanging.
 
2013-03-08 03:30:16 PM
Droog8912:
The town purchases properties in downtown, fails to use them, and then sells them at a loss.

This screams "corruption", not "incompetence" to me.

cefm:
"It takes a fair amount of time and materials to mail a letter" is a farking ridiculous complaint.

Compared to an email, it does.  My nearest mailbox is four blocks away, and I live in Canada where half the government isn't actively trying to murder the post office.  The only reason I even get to it to mail letters is that it's on the way to the daycare.
 
2013-03-08 03:32:01 PM

Droog8912: idiot mayor has been in place for 25 years or so


Run for mayor yourself, hire a secret band of ninja to assassinate him, move away or STFU.
 
2013-03-08 03:40:16 PM

No Such Agency: Droog8912:
The town purchases properties in downtown, fails to use them, and then sells them at a loss.This screams "corruption", not "incompetence" to me.

cefm:
"It takes a fair amount of time and materials to mail a letter" is a farking ridiculous complaint.

Compared to an email, it does.  My nearest mailbox is four blocks away, and I live in Canada where half the government isn't actively trying to murder the post office.  The only reason I even get to it to mail letters is that it's on the way to the daycare.


Do Canada's postal carriers not pick up letters from the mailbox at your residence? Never tried to mail anything in Canada other than a postcard... genuinely curious.
 
2013-03-08 03:46:58 PM
new_york_monty:
Do Canada's postal carriers not pick up letters from the mailbox at your residence? Never tried to mail anything in Canada other than a postcard... genuinely curious.

As far as I know, that hasn't happened in years.
 
2013-03-08 03:49:47 PM

foxyshadis: Like any other signature, that only works if you've met the person and someone else you already trust who can vouch that they are who they say they are.

Chains of trust are almost impossible to manage in real life. You either have to trust everyone and prosecute liars, or extensively vet and only allow known people and still have to prosecute liars.


Well, sort of. PGP uses a "web of trust" where you don't need to know the sender directly as long as he/she has a few key signatures from people you do trust. And even if you don't trust the identity associated with a key, PGP still ensures that the message wasn't edited in transit and that any later follow-up messages are from the same person.

There is also S/MIME, which relies on the same PKI infrastructure as SSL certificates for webservers. In this case it's a paid agency like Verisign who's vouching for someone's identity, not just a collection of random Internet users.
 
2013-03-08 03:59:12 PM

No Such Agency: new_york_monty:
Do Canada's postal carriers not pick up letters from the mailbox at your residence? Never tried to mail anything in Canada other than a postcard... genuinely curious.

As far as I know, that hasn't happened in years.


How odd. The carriers are there already to drop off the mail. I wonder if the PO stopped picking them up, or if people stopped putting out?

/Giggity
 
2013-03-08 04:06:52 PM

No Such Agency: Droog8912:
The town purchases properties in downtown, fails to use them, and then sells them at a loss.

This screams "corruption", not "incompetence" to me.


Surprisingly, it is not.  They bought a property from a developer 100 yards back behind the police station.  The town council & mayor are so incompetent and unable to decide what to do with it, it has sat unused for 15 years.  A building next to town hall was purchased to knock down and turn into parking, but someone complained and it was classified as historically significant.  Now the town is trying to sell said building (decrepit POS), and no one wants it.

Dinjiin:
(A) Run for mayor yourself, (B) hire a secret band of ninja to assassinate him, (C)move away or (D) STFU.

A) Mayor has been in so long that it's hard to get him out.  He's an embarrassment, but he doesn't screw up in public enough ways to get removed (basically, taxes are low compared to nearby towns due to longstanding corporate headquarters in town).   There are other, more qualified candidates running for mayor whom I do vote for/support.  B) Murder is illegal, C) Mortgage, pretty good school for my girlfriends kid. D) EABOD.
 
2013-03-08 04:09:10 PM

graeylin: getting a kick, because in real life work, I have to sign my signature to dozens of legal documents every day.

i don't have  "a signature" anymore.  Every time I sign something, I like to make it different than before.  My signature is a squiggle. Sometimes, it has two loops.  Sometimes, no loops. Sometimes, there's a few squiggles below the rest, other times, there's none.  Most of the time, there  might be a passing resemblance between the one part of the squiggle and a letter of the alphabet, if you squint real hard, that actually matches a letter in my name.

If you took 5 signatures of mine right after each other, they wouldn't even be close to each other.

If ever asked in court, I couldn't even tell you if something was my signature, someone elses, or just a random squiggle from some psychology test.

They can make me sign it, but there's no law it must be legible.


I have three signatures, depending on what I'm signing. About the only thing consistent is my first initial. I suppose a handwriting analyst could verify that any three of my signatures are mine, but anyone else, no.
 
2013-03-08 04:26:38 PM

graeylin: getting a kick, because in real life work, I have to sign my signature to dozens of legal documents every day.

i don't have  "a signature" anymore.  Every time I sign something, I like to make it different than before.  My signature is a squiggle. Sometimes, it has two loops.  Sometimes, no loops. Sometimes, there's a few squiggles below the rest, other times, there's none.  Most of the time, there  might be a passing resemblance between the one part of the squiggle and a letter of the alphabet, if you squint real hard, that actually matches a letter in my name.

If you took 5 signatures of mine right after each other, they wouldn't even be close to each other.

If ever asked in court, I couldn't even tell you if something was my signature, someone elses, or just a random squiggle from some psychology test.

They can make me sign it, but there's no law it must be legible.


I often scrawl cogent obscenities on stores' electronic signature pads.  Some get a chuckle from cashiers.  But guess what?  They're considered my signature, legally.

Proving I wrote it is another matter.
 
2013-03-08 04:50:41 PM

new_york_monty: Do Canada's postal carriers not pick up letters from the mailbox at your residence? Never tried to mail anything in Canada other than a postcard... genuinely curious.


No idea on Canada, but down here where I live they don't.  We don't have mail boxes, we have slots.

If you had a letter to mail and asked nicely, they'd probably do it.  Never tried.

And most of our public blue mail boxes were not returned after Katrina.   I'm lucky that I'm only 3 blocks from the post office.  Otherwise its a major pain in the butt to try to mail anything.
 
2013-03-08 05:17:10 PM

downstairs: new_york_monty: Do Canada's postal carriers not pick up letters from the mailbox at your residence? Never tried to mail anything in Canada other than a postcard... genuinely curious.

No idea on Canada, but down here where I live they don't.  We don't have mail boxes, we have slots.

If you had a letter to mail and asked nicely, they'd probably do it.  Never tried.

And most of our public blue mail boxes were not returned after Katrina.   I'm lucky that I'm only 3 blocks from the post office.  Otherwise its a major pain in the butt to try to mail anything.


I've never lived in a place with a mail slot, but IIRC, if you leave your outgoing mail trapped in the slot door, the carrier is supposed to take it for you. Where I live now there's a communal box. All of them are keyed, except for the outgoing box, which only has a slot and opens from the back with the USPS key. Of course I work a block from the PO in town, so I've never actually used the one at my house.
 
2013-03-08 05:30:33 PM

new_york_monty: downstairs: new_york_monty: Do Canada's postal carriers not pick up letters from the mailbox at your residence? Never tried to mail anything in Canada other than a postcard... genuinely curious.

No idea on Canada, but down here where I live they don't.  We don't have mail boxes, we have slots.

If you had a letter to mail and asked nicely, they'd probably do it.  Never tried.

And most of our public blue mail boxes were not returned after Katrina.   I'm lucky that I'm only 3 blocks from the post office.  Otherwise its a major pain in the butt to try to mail anything.

I've never lived in a place with a mail slot, but IIRC, if you leave your outgoing mail trapped in the slot door, the carrier is supposed to take it for you. Where I live now there's a communal box. All of them are keyed, except for the outgoing box, which only has a slot and opens from the back with the USPS key. Of course I work a block from the PO in town, so I've never actually used the one at my house.


Probably.  But except for Netflix (which I rarely use via DVD anymore because of streaming)... anything I'm physically mailing is probably very, very important.  Legal stuff or whatever.  So I'd be a bit nervous just having it out there.

All my bills and general communication are handled electronically nowadays.
 
2013-03-08 05:37:06 PM
love the clay tablets linked in the article.
 
2013-03-08 06:20:35 PM
This is why we can't have nice things.  old farks who have a fit because of one fake email.
 
2013-03-08 07:00:39 PM
Not really seeing the butthurt over this.
Seems as far back as I can remember, I. Know it started way before then, a signature is required for an official document.
And the part that it can be inconvienent? Uh, what did people do for like forever, to do just that.
And when computers started taking over the complaint was that it would be inconvienent because not everyone had one. But woaw neally. No its inconvienent to not use one.
All this seems to be butthurt because some pain in the ass wants to do it his way and is making a big shiat stink that they said do it our way.
 
2013-03-08 07:08:17 PM

DownDaRiver: Not really seeing the butthurt over this.
Seems as far back as I can remember, I. Know it started way before then, a signature is required for an official document.
And the part that it can be inconvienent? Uh, what did people do for like forever, to do just that.
And when computers started taking over the complaint was that it would be inconvienent because not everyone had one. But woaw neally. No its inconvienent to not use one.
All this seems to be butthurt because some pain in the ass wants to do it his way and is making a big shiat stink that they said do it our way.


The butthurt is over the REASON they want to do it their way. Not because they want an original signed document, which is not unreasonable, but because a decade ago they had a faked email, so now they don't want to have to worry about it. Because nobody ever faked a piece of paper, I guess.
 
2013-03-08 07:08:59 PM
Hand written? Even before I got a computer like 20+ years ago I used a fracking type writer and didnt hand write shiat.

Do they want me to get a feathwr quill andan ink well while Im at it?
 
2013-03-08 07:39:06 PM

Gyrfalcon: DownDaRiver: Not really seeing the butthurt over this.
Seems as far back as I can remember, I. Know it started way before then, a signature is required for an official document. ~

The butthurt is over the REASON they want to do it their way. Not because they want an original signed document, which is not unreasonable, but because a decade ago they had a faked email, so now they don't want to have to worry about it. Because nobody ever faked a piece of paper, I guess.



Exactly. My guess is someone got screwed over a rezoning issue. Maybe a residential got turned into a commercial and the next thing is they had a CVS going in next door.
And if someone was taking me to court over something like that I would want signed documents. If forgery or whatever became involved, well I guess that is something else altogether.
But there really isn't much to go on with this article, so all this is just guess work. But still, it seems reasonable to me.
 
2013-03-08 07:39:43 PM

DownDaRiver: Seems as far back as I can remember, I. Know it started way before then, a signature is required for an official document.


do you ever question why ?

very easy to fake, no real value, nobody checks them until it is far too late to bother
 
2013-03-08 07:54:38 PM

Slartibartfaster: DownDaRiver: Seems as far back as I can remember, I. Know it started way before then, a signature is required for an official document.

do you ever question why ?

very easy to fake, no real value, nobody checks them until it is far too late to bother


If you question why. I think the answer is simple. Forgery is illegal and can carry severe punishments. So I quess deterent comes in as a factor.
But really, everything can come down to "in a perfect world".
 
2013-03-08 09:58:09 PM
The "journalist" from the article. His "manly" pic has me confused

greatergreater.com

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington. He has had a lifelong interest in great cities and great communities. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater.
 
2013-03-09 03:15:59 AM
I've actually dealt with companies that would only accept a fax but not scanned and emailed document. LOL
 
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