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Letter to the Editor: Don't Ignore the Carson Street Landslide Problem

Resident and local school teacher Sarah Creeley writes about the Carson Street Landslide.

Dear Editor,

There is a landslide on in Hercules that has been a problem for many years.

This landslide threatens peoples' homes,  including that of the Vogele family.

The Vogeles'  are good people. Augie Vogele and his parents, Billy and Barbara built our school garden at Hanna Ranch. 

Matthew Vogele is serving our country in Afghanistan. This family deserves our city leaders'  full support. 

There are city safety ordinances related to public nuisance that are not being enforced. I hope this public nuisance safety violation will be treated seriously, and the Vogeles' family home can be saved. 

On November 11 there was a meeting with Patrick Tang, John Macguire, Billy Vogele and HOA representatives. This was a good first step. Now a plan of action must be made. I urge everyone to imagine that the the home at risk were their own family home. Would anyone feel that waiting for month after month, for over two years, is an acceptable response?

I hope that all of the leaders involved with solving this problem will treat the Vogele family the same way they would like to be treated if the threatened home were their own. It's way past time, please do something,  

Sincerely,

Sarah Creeley

Ani December 27, 2011 at 08:05 PM
From reading the majority of the posts, its seems as if this keeps going around and around in a circle. If the city is liable and is being uncooperative, then the HOA needs to take action via lawsuit to make the city respond ie. nuisance or "general plan" violation. If the city is not a partner to this, then the HOA is wholly responsible and therefore the members. The HOA owns the hill, it is responsible for whatever happens, whether they take action now or wait for the determining final slide and destruction to take action. They may have to file bankruptcy if HOA cannot assess its members. However, that in the end will not let the homeowners off the hook, I would assume. Just my thoughts. I live in a CID and would love the city to take care of anything the HOA can't/won't but it doesn't work that way.
Jeffrey Boore December 27, 2011 at 08:41 PM
@Ani - I agree with you, but I want to add a few minor points: Some people keep saying things like "IF the city did something wrong . . ." but so far no one has presented one shred of evidence that the city is in any way liable. The burden of proof is on those who want taxpayers' money to pay for this private matter, not the other way around. The city is under no obligation to prove that they didn't do anything wrong other than by responding to requests for information. I don't think that the HOA can sue the city to take action via nuisance laws. There has been a request that the city enforce such laws against the HOA, although it seems clear from what has been said here that nuisance laws are (as the name suggests) about barking dogs and untended lawns, and that a house-crushing landslide is far more than would be covered as a "nuisance." The HOA will not be bankrupt until there is a lien on every house for their full market value. I would guess that to be on the order of $100 million, so their assets are significant.
Ani December 29, 2011 at 01:14 AM
@Jeffrey Thank you for a reminder that the HOA can lien its members. I am not sure that they would need to have a vote by the membership for the assessments IF they receive a bill or claim against the HOA which its insurance did not cover.
Billy Vogele January 06, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Carol: What's to deny? I still don't understand your point. What role did I have to play in the matter in 2009? Please answer. What do you know about agreements and who signed them? You better get your facts straight. You said that you are not in this HOA and thereby haven't been involved in its matters, so whatever information you are getting has to be scuttlebutt. Right now there is a nuisance on my street and the city needs to step up and address the matter. Sec. 4-10.04 Nuisance Conditions. It is declared a public nuisance for any person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge of any premises in this City to maintain such premises in such manner that any one or more of the following conditions or activities are found to exist: (a) Land, the topography, geology or configuration of which, whether in natural state or as a result of grading operations, excavation or fill, causes erosion, subsidence, or surface water drainage problems of such magnitude as to be injurious or potentially injurious to the public health, safety and welfare or to adjacent properties; (b) Buildings which are abandoned, partially destroyed, or permitted to remain unreasonably in a state of partial construction;
Giorgio C. June 03, 2012 at 04:44 PM
The city of Antioch has hired outsiders to help them address vacant (nuisance) housing in order to ensure compliance with city codes. Is this something Hercules needs to consider? http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_20769986/no-takers-antioch-blight-fighting-position-so-city

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