John Kelly's Washington
Friday, August 21, 2009; 12:00 PM
Post Metro columnist John Kelly was online Friday, Aug. 21, at Noon ET with Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan to chat about what it's like to run a beach town.
John Kelly: Hello, hello. Welcome to another Friday and another chat.
I have to tell you, Washington is dead. Anyone who's still in town must have run out of vacation or, like me, has to work for a living.
Where is everybody? Well some of them are in Ocean City, Md. I was there myself last week, tacking on a few beach days to my family's annual trip to Pawleys Island, S.C. I'm always curious how things WORK and it's no different for a resort town. Not for me the tanned bodies on the beach or the Jell-O shooters in the bars. No, I spent the day with the guy who pilots an advertising boat offshore and the night with the guys who pick up the trash.
Rick Meehan, mayor of Ocean City, is kind enough to be my guest today, answering your questions about the beach town.
What else can we talk about? How about newly signed National Stephen Strasburg? I blogged about the pitching ace and want your help in answering this question:
I hear he's so good his fastball can actually change the rotation of the Earth, like Superman flying around the go back in time.
Unrelated: Hi John, Unfortunately your chat is topic specific today but I was wondering if you had any advice for mice in the house (I remember you had some problems). I'm guessing cleaniness has no factor because I'm a neat freak. I live in a townhome and have had a problem this summer. Had success with traps but there's gotta be a way to prevent them from coming back. Don't see any visible holes but who knows. Thanks.
John Kelly: We can talk about anything you like, mice included. It's been my sad experience that traps work best. We used the live catch-and-release ones but then were told you're not allowed to release mice into the wild. Glue traps are just too grim so we use the old-fashioned spring-loaded, spine-breaking ones.
I think an expert would say you either haven't caught all the mice that are in your house or that you still have a hole somewhere. Mice can squeeze through very narrow spaces. Look around at where your cable comes in, where your dryer vents, basement window wells, etc. Or get a cat.
Reston, Va.: Are there new challenges for you/the town now that it's becoming a more popular destination for fall golf season and winter holiday season? How are they different than the summertime?
what challenge keeps you up at night the most?
Rick Meehan: Golf has really helped us to extend the season in Ocean City. When the town built Eagles Landing Golf Course in the early 1990's it really jump started the golf industry in our area. Today there are more than 20 courses all within just a few minutes of each other in the Ocean City Area. Extending the season just made sense because we already had the infrasture in place. The addition of the Winterfest of Lights and other Special Events has helped grow the shoulder season even more! We entertain about 8 million visitors a year in Ocean City and approx 4 million of those visitors come in what used to be called the "Off Season".
Ocean City, Md.: What is the current state of the Ocean City condominium market following the bursting of the nationwide real estate bubble?
What do you expect will happen to the large inventory of new-construction condos and townhouses currently on the market?
What should current owners of Ocean City condos expect for the condo resale market and the seasonal rental market in the next few years?
washingtonpost.com: Overnight at Ocean City, a Degraded Beach Undergoes a Restoration (Including Video) (Post, Aug. 18) and Bookworms and Beach Bums Keep This Ocean City Hot Spot Brimming (Post, Aug. 19)
Rick Meehan: Ocean City has certainly not been immune to what has happened to the real estate market across the country. However we have seen some very positive activity in recent months. Activity has increased dramatically while prices remain on a slight decline. New construction projects, which were the catalyst for the rise in prices, are now the again influencing re-sale prices. The major new projects on the market today have made dramatic reductions from original pre-construction pricing to meet the market demand. New units are being sold at discounts of 30 to 50 %. This has generated a lot of activity and this has spilled over to the re-sale market. A large portion of the activity in the re-sale market is on properties priced below $400,000. We expect a busy 3rd and 4th quarter in this market. It is the best time to buy. prices are down and interest rates remain at near all time lows.
Michelle's Shorts?: Oh my. Are we becoming the Taliban-U.S. now? A woman can't wear shorts? Who cares what her "role" is in the world -- she now has to cover up at all times, even in 106 degree heat on VACATION to satisfy the fashion mavens and the right wing? Oh my!
John Kelly: I'm bit torn on this. I don't begrudge her the right to wear shorts on vacation but I think she should have worn slacks when she was getting off Air Force One and then changed into shorts. And what would we think of the president wearing shorts? He was in long pants, I noticed.
Remember too that it's August. Newsrooms all over the country--no, the world--are desperate for some kind of silly news.
Linthicum, Md.: Hello Mayor Meehan,
I love the city of O.C. and just arrived back from a 10-day vacation. My third O.C. vacation this year! Recently, I took my two kids to the Movie on the Beach at 27th ST. It was very enjoyable and I would like to thank O.C. for keeping O.C. family- oriented. Between 28th and 27th in a parking lot across from the Dunes, we saw two young woman hanging in the parking lot who were clearly not tourists. I am somewhat street-wise and these woman also were street-wise-looking for a quick dollar in the form of prostitution. I watched them from a distance and because I wanted to shelter my kids from the sight, I left but did notice an O.C. police officer cruising down the street so I did not bother to call the police. I also read in the paper the same week, about a bust of a few prostitutes. What is the town of Ocean City doing to prosecute these individuals and keep this from being a problem like in Atlantic City?
Rick Meehan: First Thank you for visiting Ocean City! The scene you described is not a typical one you would see in Ocean City. I can only remember a handful of this type of incident occurring in Ocean City in the past 25 years. This is not to say that we are not aware of the potential for this type of activity and our police department is very pro-active in monitoring suspicious activity and the internet looking for potential problems before they develop. Anyone involved in this type of activity will be arrested and prosecuted by the States Attorney of Worcester County.
John Kelly: Can I just add that I was not able to find a single prostitute while I was in Ocean City.
John Kelly: Rick, can you tell us how this season has been, overall? We hear a lot about the economy and I'm wondering if Ocean City has been hurt by the downturn. Or has it been helped, in that people are preferring to save money and vacation closer to home? Also, how much of a season's success is dependent on something as simple as the weather?
Rick Meehan: Ocean City has done very well this summer. I don't think we will break records but we expect our numbers to be very close to last years and that would be terrific. We have been very aggressive with our advertising and promotions and I think the fact that Ocean City has a great 'Tradition" has helped. We are located within 150 miles of 3 major markets and you are right we are close to home and a great value. The weather is always important, especially today when travelers tend to schedule their trips more often on short notice.
Silver Spring, Md.: Is it true Steven Strasburg struck out Chuck Norris?
John Kelly: Yes, it's true. He's THAT good. And starting last Tuesday, all DVDs of "Field of Dreams" have been re-edited to show Stephen Strasburg coming out of the corn field in a Nationals uniform. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it.
Cedar Grove, Md.: Yo, JK, my good man. I like your hat.
I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning with a vexing question, and I know you're the man who can put my mind at ease. Do British fellows really say "Pip pip." If so, in what context? Can I have the answer in the form of a sentence that might actually be answered by a red coat?
You da' man. For that I'm thankful.
John Kelly: I have never heard a British person say "pip pip." I have heard them utter other Britishisms that strike American ears as cliched. I have heard English people say, "Oh I say...." I've heard them say "frightfully," as in, "Oh I say, that shopgirl was frightfully rude."
It goes without saying that they say "bloody," as in, "Bloody Yanks, drink their beer cold."
But "pip pip"? No. I may run with the wrong crowd, though.
Washington, D.C.: Why the commotion over Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi? The event happened in 1988, which many of us are too young to remember. We should all move on. Obviously, the judge in Scotland has moved on. Others need to move on too. Not that the U.S. has been the pinnacle of human rights, freedom and justice for the past decade.
John Kelly: There's something to be said, in general, for "moving on," but look at the crime this man was convicted of: blowing an airliner out of the sky and raining death down on a Scottish village. It's hard to move on from that.
Now what I confess I don't know are the details of his involvement. He maintains his innocence. Can that be possible? And even if he was involved, surely others had to be as well. Why haven't they been punished?
And when Scottish authorities agreed to release him on humanitarian grounds they should have stipulated to the Libyans that his arrival in Tripoli be low-key. Instead, he was greeted as a hero. That's just sick. Some people were even waving Scottish flags. I think he should have served out his sentence in Scotland. If he died in prison, too bad.
John Kelly: Rick, I should have asked you this before: Tell us about your history with Ocean City. When did you move there and how did you become mayor? Is being mayor a full-time job?
Rick Meehan: John, I first visited Ocean City with my family in 1962. I grew up in Towson and began working at the beach while in high school in 1964. I worked every summer until I graduated from college in 1971 and moved here year round. I ran for city council and was elected in 1985. I served 14 years as Council President and became Mayor in 2006. It's a great job and I could not think of anything I would rather do!
Washington, D.C.: John, Do you have any insight into why a number of trees have been cut down in the Dupont/Farragut North area? It appears that the missing trees are always the ones closest to the corner. Will they be replaced?
John Kelly: I have a call in to the D.C. Department of Transportation about this. Do you have any specific locations? Are the trees on city property?
What???: Does Your Lovely Wife know you were looking for hookers in O.C.?
John Kelly: Did I say I was looking for them or did I say I didn't see any?
Mouse House: I second the advice to get a cat if you have mice in your house. Better yet, get two cats: they will keep each other company and double your mouse-interdiction capabilities. (This assumes, of course, that no one in your household is allergic to cats, and that you aren't in a place that prohibits them.)
John Kelly: We haven't had any mouse problems lately but I think we're more likely to have them in the winter. I think during the summer they lounge around outside. At the first sign of freezing weather they decide they'd rather live inside, the wimps.
Not a baseball follower: Could you briefly explain the hoopla about Steven Strasburg? I don't follow baseball (I like some other sports, but this one just isn't my thing -- fine, call me un-American, but don't dare say it during football season), but I was intrigued by the front page story the other day, because it all sounded very exciting, but then it completely failed to explain WHY this is such a big deal -- because apparently everyone was supposed to know already. Well, I didn't, and still don't. I mean, if the kid pitched several perfect games in college, or something like that, then that would explain the buzz. So could someone please just summarize what it is about his record that created all the enthusiasm? Sure, I could probably spend the day Googling to find out for myself, but I'm not sufficiently interested. But as a casual observer who expected the newspaper to, I don't know, provide some freakin' context for its big-deal story, I'm still waiting!
John Kelly: Don't you know: Stephen Strasburg has the speed of a cheetah, the cunning of a wolf and the wisdom of an owl. Plus he has eight fingers on each hand. And laser beams for eyes.
Actually, I don't know why he was so hyped. He was the first pick but I don't know what he did to deserve that. Can anyone out there give us some specifics?
John Kelly: Mayor Meehan: I was in one of the outlet stores outside of Ocean City when I saw a big cutout of Rodney the Lifeguard. What can you tell me about that? Was that part of an advertising campaign? Oh, and shouldn't it be "Rodney the Surf Rescue Technician"? (I was talking with Capt. Arbin and he told me that's what they're called.)
Rick Meehan: John, Rodney is our spokes-guard! He is the focus of our new advertising campaign developed by our agency, MGH, out of Baltimore. Rodney will rescue you from your everyday routine and bring you to Ocean City! We have expanded our advertising into New Jersey and New York and we needed something different to grab the viewers attention. Rodney has done that and more!
Silver Spring, Md.: Funny that you have the Mayor of O.C. on today! I was just talking to someone recently about O.C.'s bus system and how easy it is to use, but how few people seem to use it. If we could wave a magic wand full of money at you, what would your perfect O.C. transit system look like?
Rick Meehan: We actually we ride over 4 million passengers a year on our bus system. When we went from the set fare to the ride all day price in 1991 our ridership went from 900,000 per year to today's numbers. It is still the best deal in town! But if I had that wand it would be free!!
BBC pips: Chris Moyles refers to the four little beeps that mark the top of the hour as "pips." Apparently "pips" is the official term for those BBC top of the hour beeps.
John Kelly: We used to love singing along to those at the 10 o'clock news on the BBC.
Forest Hill, Md.: I'm headed to O.C. in about 3 hours, do I need to be worried about the hurricane?
Rick Meehan: Fortunately Hurricane Bill will past well off the coast of Ocean City. The only way we will know the storm is out there will be by the high surf. We expect 10 to 12 foot wave action starting late today through Sunday morning. The surfers are excited! We suggest that everyone enjoy the beach but stay out of the water during times of increased wave activity. The life guards are on duty and will continue to monitor the situation carefully. WE look forward to seeing you at the beach!
Philadelphia, Pa.: How much, if any, money does Ocean City spend a year to replace and retain sand? If this is a problem, how much worse, if any, has it gotten in recent years?
Rick Meehan: I will try the short answer. In the late 1980's we partnered with the Federal Government, the State of Maryland and Worcester County to create a Beach Replenishment District. We built a sea wall along the boardwalk and create a dune protection system from the end of the boardwalk to the Delaware Line. We then pumped in sand to create a level of storm protection based on the 100 year criteria. Today we place $500.000 a year into a maintenance fund with are partners and every 3 or 4 years, based on sand elevations, we pump in sand to maintain required levels of protection. By protection I am referring to Hurricane protection. We have not experienced any damage of property from the ocean since the inception of this project!
State of confusion and unemployment: John, Welcome back from your vacation. Shame that America's basement (Smithsonian) won't help you clear your office/help you move.
My question is this: I'm a D.C. native ... I've always wanted to drive a bus, since O Roy Chalk was running D.C. Transit. My problem is this: I have a CDL B w/passenger endorsement, and Airbrakes, I'm a D.C. native, knowing all the major streets and even landmarks, I have over 10 years experience at one of the Washington airports driving buses, I have NO prior criminal history (I even have the mattress tag on my mattress), so WHY won't WMATA hire me?
John Kelly: Have you applied and been rejected? Are you willing to work part time? I think that's how all new bus drivers start.
Arlington, Va.: A question for Rick Meehan: So you live at the beach and run a beach town. Where do you go on vacation -- Topeka?
Rick Meehan: Honestly I hate to leave Ocean City! We are busy during the spring and summer and the fall is the prettiest time of year! When we do travel I guess I am just a beach guy and like to travel south down A1A! I love Sanibel Island on the West Coast of Florida.
Michelle O: OK, I can't come up with a good pic of Michelle in shorts -- can you link to one?
washingtonpost.com: Michelle Obama On Family Vacation Out West
John Kelly: When I went to Ocean City I had to think about what I was going to wear. I'm most comfortable in a suit and tie, but thought that probably wouldn't be appropriate for reporting on the advertising boat and spending time with the beach-cleaning crew. Plus, I was worried about my own health. I thought I might pass out from the heat. So I went with shorts. But I felt weird about it. I did notice that everyone else was in shorts, though.
Falls Church, Va.: John, have you been hanging around outside the Real World house in hopes of getting on camera? Should we look for you when the next season starts?
John Kelly: You can look for me but you won't find me. I haven't even been over there. I have a real problem with reality TV shows. I love documentaries. I love learning about how people live and work and DO THINGS. But reality shows like "Real World" and "Survivor" strike me as incredibly...what's the word? Corny. Corny like a summer camp skit. I can't believe that grown-ups get serious about "challenges" and "confession booths." It all reminds me of pre-teen girls playing dress-up.
O.C. Mayor: What tomorrow supposed to be like with Bill hovering off-shore?
Rick Meehan: The only real effects we should see in Ocean City will be increased wave action. We are expecting 10 to 12 ft surf but other than that it should be a great weekend! They are calling for chance of thunder storms but that is not because of Bill.
Laurel, Md.: Rick Meehan: "We look forward to seeing you at the beach!"
Do O.C. and its businesses prefer bad-weather days, because people spend more money instead of sitting on the beach for free?
Rick Meehan: Good weather is the best for everybody. It brings people to town and keeps them happy while they are here, which we love. During the real hot busy time of the year a cloudy day once in awhile is probably even appreciated by visitors and the merchants look forward to a couple here and there.
Re. Mouse: Well it's a townhouse so cats are allowed, but my partner is deathly afraid of cats otherwise I'd get one because I like them. Although I read some article about how dogs and cats will cost you thousands of dollars per year...
We left all sorts of traps out and caught two, which I think did the trick for now. Don't see signs of anymore. They didn't like peanut butter but loved cheese for some reason. Of course, I think there must be a hole somewhere OR my neighbor has a problem...I thought mice came in during the winter!
John Kelly: I'm not too crazy about cats, either. Evidently they are familiars of the Devil and try to suffocate babies while they sleep.
City Girl: John, Does O.C. still have horse patrols? They used to leave some large, nasty piles on the boardwalk.
Rick Meehan: We do have horse patrols but the officers are suppose to be responsible for those piles!
Shorts: Hi John, As a woman sweltering in this heat, I respectfully disagree with you. Michelle wore shorts going on vacation. I think that is her right. Plus, she looked fab. If she had put on a skirt with the same top, no one would have said a thing. Plus, don't we have better things to do? I'm more concerned about the nut jobs with the Obama with a Hitler moustache people.
John Kelly: Of course we have better things to do, but who wants to do them? I see your point, although I think the point of fashion isn't necessarily to be comfortable. That may be unfair, and I imagine it's one of the reasons Michelle was reticent about her husband running for president. She may have thought, "I won't be able to wear shorts in public for four, possibly eight, years!"
O.C. Pet Friendly?: I'm always looking for new places to go on vacation with my dog. Is Ocean City a pet friendly place?
Rick Meehan: Yes! Especially during the off season. We do not allow pets on the beach or boardwalk from May 1 through Sept 30th because of the crowds but before or after you will see many, many people out walking or exercising their dogs. We also opened our first Dog park on the bayside off of 94th Street just last year!
Mice: If you have mice problems, plant mint around your house. They don't like it. I've used a paper plate with toothpaste and a small bowl of peppermint oil to discourage the fuzzy creatures. It worked!
John Kelly: Fascinating. And any mice who DO get in have minty fresh breath.
I wish my dog would eat mint. The fish oil pills we feed him give him a lovely shiny coat but they don't do his breath any favors.
Laurel, Md.: Mayor, I know Sussex County, Del., had a LOT of new homes built this decade on former agricultural land just inland from the shore, much of which has remained unsold or foreclosed. Was there a similar faux-boom in Wincomico Co?
Rick Meehan: Actually Ocean City is in Worcester County. There has been significant development west of ocean City in the Ocean Pines - West Ocean City Areas. However our counties 2nd largest industry, next to tourism, is agriculture and the County Commissioners work hard to protect and preserve the agriculture properties.
John Kelly: The SeaBoard, the new advertising boat I wrote about, is moored in West Ocean City. I thought it was just at the end of Ocean City so I was late getting out there after not realizing I had to go back over the bridge. There's a big commercial harbor there.
Please help!: I can't find any information on what's being built across Veirs Mill Road, near Aspen Hill Road, in Rockville. It's been vexing me for weeks and a vexed me vexes my husband. Do you know? Thanks!
John Kelly: I know exactly where you mean. Send me an e-mail -- email@example.com -- and I'll try to find out by next week. I was gonna say the Intercounty Connector, but that's way too far south for that.
Langley, Va.: Hi John,
Bet a fisher cat could get those mice (yeah, it's me again)
John Kelly: Shouldn't you be finding bin Laden or something?
Radical CIvilitly Needs to Go Viral!: I'm fortunate enough to get a seat on Metro every day as I board in Silver Spring and can catch an empty train. I usually sit near the door so I can hop up easily if someone else boards who needs to sit. We all know it's been rough since the crash.
Tuesday morning: train sits at SS for a while and when it pulls out, it's full with some standees. I'm in -- admittedly -- the priority seating. Also in priority seating are three other seemingly able-bodied people, reading, no headphones.
At Takoma, a man enters the car with a seeing eye dog. I look up as do the others and I'm the only one who offers my seat. I thought the young woman next to me would scoot over to allow him to easily sit. No, she went back to her Soduku and he struggled to get himself and dog settled.
At Fort Totten, someone gets off and I get a seat further in. How nice. The next stop, people board and as we herky-jerky take off, I see there's a woman standing with a cane, next to the priority seats trying to stay upright. Again, everyone looks at her (except the man who took my seat earlier) then GOES BACK TO THEIR PAPERS! I caught her attention and offered my seat. Which she very sweetly gave back to me when she got off at Union Station.
Now, I don't care about not having a seat. But seriously, NO ONE ELSE OFFERED????? Each of those passengers in need should have had four seat offers.
Texting in movies is annoying. Ignoring other human beings in need is unconscionable.
John Kelly: I've been looking to see how those priority seats are being treated, now that they have blue arrows above them and that poster of the baleful looking man with a cane. I haven't noticed much difference from before. That is, I usually see able-bodied people there. I did notice last night a guy sort of scanning the crowd as people got on, as if looking for someone to give the seat to. But mainly people have their heads down. I doubt we'll get to the point where no one sits there BUT the disabled. The lure of a seat when you're dog tired is too much. And I'll say again that as nice as it would be if people gave up their seats unbidden, there's nothing wrong with asking for a seat if you need one. When that happens, the person should quickly get up.
For Rick: Silly question --
How long into the autumn will the water stay warm?
Rick Meehan: September is the best and maybe into early October
Harrisburg, Pa.: How is it to live in a resort town during the late fall/winter? Is O.C., Md., as "quiet" during the off-seasons as, say, the south Jersey shore towns?
Rick Meehan: It's great! Locals like the fact that we have 2 seasons -the summer season and what we call the 2nd season. Although not as quiet as it used to be the fall and winter seasons are definitely more laid back. It's a great time for locals to re-connect with all of our friends that have been busy all summer! There is always something going on now in Ocean City and even in the off season weekends are busy so I definately think it is more exciting than the Jersey Shore.
NoLo, D.C.: We had a rat problem in our crawlspace when the rowhouse next to ours was being renovated, and had to call in an exterminator due to the holes they were gnawing in the floor...but the one rat that made it into the house proper was promptly dispatched by our vicious, rodenticide-committing, and utterly adorable dog. (she's also caught rats, mice, and squirrels around our neighborhood and Dupont Circle, performing a needed public service!)
Said dog is also a huge fan of Ocean City, and though she'd much rather go for walks on the beach during the summer, she instead settles for chasing the ducks and geese in Northside Park. Fortunately for the waterfowl, she's afraid of water.
Rick Meehan: Northside Park is a very special place in Ocean City for everyone!
Silver Spring, Md.: I saw Rodney on a billboard in York, Pa.!
Rick Meehan: Hey it's working!!
Arlington Gay: Is Harrison's Harbor Watch still open at the end of the boardwalk? I haven't been to O.C. in many years, but I lived there the summer of '86 and worked at Harrison's. Always enjoy going back for a visit.
Rick Meehan: Yes Harrison's is still open and serving their famous oyster stew at the raw bar! Fabulous views of the inlet and ocean!
John Kelly: Hey, Mr. Mayor, if you notice an uptick in visitors this weekend, I want a cut!
Strasburg is a big deal: because he's a freak (in the good way) and will inject some much-needed young blood into the Nats's slowly collapsing veins.
Awesome as he is, he IS beatable: UVA outdueled him in the CWS to send SDSU home (go Wahoos!).
John Kelly: What's freakishly good about him? Is he extraordinarily tall? Great fast ball? Wicked breaking pitch? I'm assuming the answer is yes, yes and yes?
Bowie, Md.: Mayor, are there any rival claimants to being the "white marlin capital" of the world?
Rick Meehan: Not that I know of. We just had the White Marlin Open Tournament the first week in August and it is the largest Bill Fishing Tournament in the World!
John Kelly: Which must be troubling to anyone named Bill.
Strasburg!!!: The reason for the excitement about Strasburg is that he throws a 100 mph fastball, and he's got a curveball that turns batters into jelly. The thing about a curveball is that, if it's good, when the pitcher releases the ball it looks like it's a fastball headed straight for your head, breaking over the plate at the last moment. One's general inclination when one sees a 100 mph fastball coming at one's head is to get out of the way. The history of baseball is littered with players who could murder a fastball, but simply could not hit a curveball. It's also why throwing a fastball at the batters chin is such a critical part of pitching. The pitcher has to remind him that maybe, just maybe, one of those 100 mph fastballs might slip away. It makes makes the curveball all the more effective.
John Kelly: Thanks. God let's hope he stays healthy. I think he should be surrounded by a phalanx of expendable ballplayers wherever he goes.
Reston, Va.: As mayor, what keeps you up at night?
Rick Meehan: Normally everything runs pretty smooth in Ocean City and I sleep great. The only real exception to that would be when there is a storm, not Bill, projected to come close to our area.
John Kelly: I must say that the beach cleaning operation was one of the coolest things I've witnessed.
Falls Church, Va. : The little box listing the chats says you have someone from The OC with you. How is Mischa Barton doing? And is Adam Brody just as cute in real life?
John Kelly: Har har. hey, do you watch "Glossop Girl"?
Mayor Meehan: What fraction of Ocean City's budget comes from parking fines?
Rick Meehan: Very, very little. Our new parking systems make it easier for customers to use credit cards and to pay in advance for longer periods of stay.
Alexandria, Va.: Mice -- I had a lot of success with a Victor electronic mouse trap. It's clean and you don't have to worry about getting your fingers (or your dog's nose) caught in a snap trap. It sells for about $20 at places like Lowes and Home Depot.
John Kelly: A little electric chair for Mr. Mouse, huh? Meet Old Sparky, Mickey.
Cameron, N.C.: I'm retired in N.C. The only time I wear long pants is outdoors in Jan-Feb and up north in winter.
John Kelly: This is why the Confederacy lost the Civil War.
State of confusion and unemployment: Yes Ive applied. Several times through the years. Passed the tests, told them yes I'd be willing to work part time. weekends, split shifts, groundhog day, arbor day, full moons, solar flare days, code red days, Panda birthdays. . . . . it seems they are very selective and only want to hire former prisoners, drug addicts, Republicans, (heaven forbid), and Dawg Punchers. I know in this day and age 2009, there wouldn't be reverse discrimination, or affirmative action quotas, or would it?
Makes me wonder. . . Hmmmmmm
John Kelly: I'd say go to the union but they're probably interested in helping current drivers, not getting new ones.
Langley, Va.: I'm a vet(erinarian), not a vet(eran). Not with that huge agency.
John Kelly: Ah. You're excused then.
Re: fastball/curveball: See, now THAT'S the kind of explanation I was looking for. Thank you. (If only the Post had seen fit to throw in a sentence or two to that effect for those of us who didn't know.)
John Kelly: Now go on and buy your season tickets now, you hear?
20001: So, this morning our office building had no water because WASA was fixing a water main. The work was supposed to be completed at 7, but we didn't have working bathrooms in the building (or any other water) until after 11 a.m.
Thankfully, the hotel across the street said we could take our "business" to them...TGIF!
John Kelly: That was awfully nice of them. I hope you didn't wake any of the guests as you slipped into their room to shower.
From the Hinterlands: On a recent trip downtown, I received a parking ticket for parking too close to a stop sign. I appealed the ticket, saying that I wasn't aware of this rule and that there was no sign to this effect. The response I received asked me to provide a photo showing the lack of a sign. But I don't remember exactly where I parked, and even if I remembered, I live more than two hours away and getting a photo would involve taking off at least a half-day of work. Do you have any suggestions?
John Kelly: I know there are rules about parking too close to an intersection and I assume that's where the stop sign was. But, since you can't remember where it was and it's so disruptive to come in, I think this one you'll just have to pay. They've got you.
John Kelly: I want to thank Mayor Rick Meehan for answering our questions this afternoon. That sounds like a fun job.
And thank you for stopping by today. Enjoy your weekend, wherever you're spending it.
Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.