I woke up this morning to gray skies and the promise of rain for the rest of the weekend, so I hopped up, sucked down a breakfast smoothie (thanks, E., for the gifts!), and took the bike over to Collington Square Park to meet Odette Ramos, candidate for City Council from the 12th district for a bike tour of the district. The ride took me through neighborhoods and along bike paths I hadn’t seen yet–what a treat! Ramos arranged for a number of stops to explain what she has seen change in the district after years of community organizing and what she wants to see change if she’s elected to the council. We stopped to check out new artists’ lofts as well as this block of rowhouses that have recently been purchased through the receivership process where after enough 311 calls and code violations, the city sells the properties at auction–to people or groups who prove they can and will rehab them. This block looks bad, but it’s on its way to a livable future. Next stop, getting a hold of these vacant lots that have largely been abandoned and putting them in receivership so they too can live new lives. That’s next on Ramos’s agenda, and she made a good case for it; I’m still new in town, but I have already figured out that vacant properties are a huge problem, and there are lots and lots of proposed solutions. We continued the ride up through Station North and to Charles Village where I peeled off to stock up on junk food at Safeway in preparation for a rainy night alone with cats, that bottle of wine J. gave me, and movies.