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A Lesson in Beating a Broken System and Getting City Hall to Fix Broken Sidewalks: It’s the Law

It’s time we started getting clear about some things. I’m coming up on my fourth anniversary of speaking publicly about what’s on my mind, in the way I choose to do it.

If any of you ever spent a week working in a stifling corporate environment or a government job, you know what it is to try to do your best, bound and gagged.

That’s what has been so liberating for me.

But it’s time I admitted I don’t know nothing. I make up all this stuff out of the facts I choose because they line up in a narrative way that enlightens me.

Down the road, I may or may not come to believe exactly what I wrote. My hope is that what I put into words that I published before the world in my own name — as opposed to the unsigned editorials and headlines and bylines of reporters I hid behind for so long – moves the discussion forward for you and for me.

Can you imagine what it means to me to have the freedom for three years and 11 months to put my name on my work and not be totally ignored or arrested?

I don’t know nothin’. That’s the truth. But a lot of nobodies in this town are just like me and they do know a lot of stuff.

A case in point is how a group of nobodies who identify themselves somewhat anonymously as Tract7260 referring to their Census tract (Psst! It’s somewhere near Century City since so many people think race, class, ethnicity still mean anything in this city). Their members Mike Eveloff and Jim O’Osullivan also blog at Fix the City — LA and sometimes file lawsuits in defense of their — and our — rights to have a city government operates within the law and  works for our benefit.

They figured out how after 30 years of confusion and uncertainty about who is responsible for fixing the sidewalks — which were worth paying $7 million a year in trip-and-fall lawsuit settlements rather than fixing, according to City Attorney candidate Mike Feuer the last time he ran for that office– you can actually make the city cough up the money and fix.

It’s known as shoving their own rules down their throats.

Here’s what they did in Tract 7260: They took photographs of trees uprooting sidewalks and they had a lawyer send a letter to the right authorities citing the law and showing the harm broken sidewalks were causing and demanding the problem be fixed or they will see you (the city) in court and it will cost a whole lot more.

The sidewalks got fixed.

Of course, it’s an affluent area. But everybody has the same right. Here’s their letter, and documentary support (Letter_to_Bd_Public_Works_re_Sidewalks_w_Attachment_10_17_11).

Don’t be a victim any longer. Get what you want and deserve by right law: Decent sidewalk if nothing else.

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12 Responses to A Lesson in Beating a Broken System and Getting City Hall to Fix Broken Sidewalks: It’s the Law

  1. Teddy says:

    We needed this message. We have been in limbo for too long.
    Thank you for all you do for our city and its people.

  2. Wayne from Encino says:

    GREAT ONE—ALSO NEVER FORGET THE CLAIM FOR DAMAGES FORM THAT YOU FILL OUT AND SUBMIT TO THE CITY CLERK—6 MONTHS OR 1 YEAR TIME LIMITS APPLY DEPENDING ON THE KIND OF DAMAGE OR WHEN YOU REASONABLY FIND YOUR DAMAGES!
    Bitch N’ Sue like I said in an earlier post seems to be the new norm as voting and participating does nothing!
    I have 2 lousy filthy noise and traffic ridden bars in the local area that I’ve tried for 3 years to get Dennis Zine to deal with. But NOTHING! NOT NOTHING!
    I see the tree letter as akin to saying “The City has a duty to enforce Zoning Laws and Police Permitted regulated establishments from shitting all over the local homeowners and tenants!” Thus, using the Trees-Theory: If these bastards are left to do their rotten things—then the City MUST stop this ridiculous and wholly outrageous behavior or…or what?
    The “or what” is the thing that I’ve been interested in.
    I think in the end, As I’ve been saying, the local Gang of 15 should definitely pay big bucks for loss of home values to people who keep their mortage payments and property taxes paid up to date! It will depend on the area and the type of damages to the neighborhood they’ve caused. Koretz has again allowed the drainage in the Sepulveda Basin to lax and Burbank Blvd got FLOODED AGAIN! It should NEVER get flooded

  3. Wayne from Encino says:

    GREAT ONE—ALSO NEVER FORGET THE CLAIM FOR DAMAGES FORM THAT YOU FILL OUT AND SUBMIT TO THE CITY CLERK—6 MONTHS OR 1 YEAR TIME LIMITS APPLY DEPENDING ON THE KIND OF DAMAGE OR WHEN YOU REASONABLY FIND YOUR DAMAGES!
    Bitch N’ Sue like I said in an earlier post seems to be the new norm as voting and participating does nothing!
    I have 2 lousy filthy noise and traffic ridden bars in the local area that I’ve tried for 3 years to get Dennis Zine to deal with. But NOTHING! NOT NOTHING!
    I see the tree letter as akin to saying “The City has a duty to enforce Zoning Laws and Police Permitted regulated establishments from shitting all over the local homeowners and tenants!” Thus, using the Trees-Theory: If these bastards are left to do their rotten things—then the City MUST stop this ridiculous and wholly outrageous behavior or…or what?
    The “or what” is the thing that I’ve been interested in.
    I think in the end, As I’ve been saying, the local Gang of 15 should definitely pay big bucks for loss of home values to people who keep their mortage payments and property taxes paid up to date! It will depend on the area and the type of damages to the neighborhood they’ve caused. Koretz has again allowed the drainage in the Sepulveda Basin to lax and Burbank Blvd got FLOODED AGAIN! It should NEVER get flooded

  4. Teddy says:

    Zine is inept, inadequate and ignorant. West Hills is home to Physic signs
    on streets like Vanowen aand Shoup[ (right on the corner). Home
    owners must be frantic. With Zine we will soon look like VanNuys (I feel
    so sorry for those residents. )

    • anonymous says:

      Just imagine, your life, your future, controlled by self-serving,
      ego-crazed, ethically challenged underlings: Senator Villaraigosa,
      Congressman Cardenas, Mayor Garcetti, Controller Zine….etc.
      Sends chills down your back…
      STOP VOTING FOR THEM!

  5. Teddy says:

    I forgot, I did complain over a year ago (2-3?) and received a letter
    saying they had a right to be there. These are resdential
    areas, not in the malls.

    • ex valley says:

      You bet you will look like Van Nuys – just give it a few years. You thought you were immune in your West Hills and the elections were not worth your time. Ha! This is what you get for letting Zine, Villar etc to keep getting re-elected.

    • anonymous says:

      as long as “residential enclaves” believe they are not like Van Nuys,
      they feel safe but they will have a painful awakening
      no one is safe anymore
      Lake Balboa requested to be redistricted into CD6!
      stupidity and crime transcend neighborhood boundaries……….

  6. Lezlyee says:

    Thanks for that LETTER. I agree, time to take Action against the City.
    Career Politicans do Nothing for the City of L.A.

  7. frank says:

    Ron, I enjoy your site ! it is on my favorites list,and helps this worker get thru his day.

  8. It is rather odd that the second largest city does not have a rational policy of sidewalk repair (and street – it took 60+ years to have my street repaved). BUT I don’t have sidewalks on my street nor on some other streets in my neighborhood – they were never put in. The sad and strange fact, I’ve been told, is that the real estate developer of many residential areas put in the sidewalks (if you have any) – AND this is the tricky part – the property owners still owns the sidewalk. Meaning, it appears, that he or she is responsible for its repair. HOWEVER the City has not fined/forced homeowners to fix their sidewalks, hence the courts have held the City responsible if anyone is injured. So, if you scare them enough they may fix the bad sidewalk, but I doubt if that would become policy in residential areas as a rule. I read somewhere that to fix all the sidewalks/streets in L.A. might take some $1.5 Billion. So the City paying $10Million or so per year for injuries is preferably in the calculus of cost/benefit, I suppose. BTW since I and other neighborhoods in LA, Shadow Hills, parts of Sunland-Tujunga come mind, don’t have sidewalks is it fair that we are taxed to pay to reapaid residential sidewalks? Just asking. Also we don’t have street lights, but those neighborhoods that do pay for them and the electricity in their property tax bill. Maybe sidewalk repair should be funded the same way.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There is enough money to fix sidewalks if any can be spared from the exbortitant LAPD, Fire and employee wages, OT, and pension. We are working to support city employees with little or no benefit in return. The city’s budget is 7 billion. Where does that money go?

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