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Letter to the Editor…

Posted on 01. Sep, 2016 by in all, Magazine Articles

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Is San Jose Code Enforcement Becoming a Brain-Dead Organization? 

My name is M. Paul G. and I am the proud owner of rental property in San Jose.  I am also a General Contractor, licensed by the State of California.

In 2013 I repaired, on my own initiative, a section of the deteriorated alley for which I was responsible, by excavating 6”of the soil of the existing area and pouring a 6”slab of concrete, ¾”agregate and six sacs cement per cubic square yard of concrete, reinforced with 1/2” rebar, every square foot. 

Prior to starting this work I was assured by the Code Enforcement Inspector Loren Dui and by the City Hall permits issuing offices, that there was no permit required for the repair of an Alley.

San Jose Code Enforcement continues to disregard the fact that I repaired the section of the Alley for which I was responsible in 2013 (three years ago) on my own initiative.

In meantime, the rest of the alley continued to deteriorate.  Now, in 2016, the Code Enforcement got involved, pressuring all the owners to bring the alley to a complete state of repair, accusing  each and every owner of blight and threatening  each and every owner with harsh re-inspection fees and fines of up to  $2,500 per day for noncompliance –  including me.

My neighbor, who repaired his section of the alley on his own initiative, also, in 2013 right after I finished my section, told me he is not going to fight because he is afraid of the San Jose Code Enforcement – which has a lot of power.  Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Inspector Muraoka, overstepped his authority, repeatedly, getting involved, influencing the owners in the bidding process and the selection of contractors bringing into question the issue of conflict of interest, especially when he has been suggesting the price of $250,000.00 for the repair of the alley.  He was influencing and forcing the other owners to decide and vote on the spot.

A quarter of a million dollars is a large sum of money, and Code Enforcement is forbidden to get involved in the bidding process or in influencing the owners in the selection of one contractor or another.

The San Jose Code Enforcement inspector is disregarding the California Civil Code 845 paragraph (a) which states that the owner of an alley is supposed to keep it in repair. He is disregarding the fact that I have had this section of the alley in good repair, since 2013.

He also announced to me that the  beautifully repaired section of the alley, will have to be bulldozed out, and I will have to pay  more than $8,000.00 ( “my share”) for the repair of the entire alley together with the rest of the delinquent owners who  did not fulfill their obligation to keep their sections of alley in repair, per California Civil Code 845 (a).

Also, the new repair of the alley will be done with asphalt, which is qualitatively much inferior to concrete …

I am being forced in to submission by all these threats issued by San Jose Code Enforcement, through the overzealous  inspector who by doing this is inflicting great emotional distress, on a 73 years old, law-abiding property owner in bad health who has broken no laws and who has been keeping his property in perfect condition according to law.

We are living in a Democratic country, not in a dictatorship! We are living in the United States, not in a communist country like Russia or China! Hard work and private initiative stays at the core of the American values and our way of life! No one can be punished for using his initiative and responsibility in managing to the best of his ability his own private property!

In this country, private, property rights are protected by the U.S. CONSTITUTION.

Bulldozing out a section of someone’s private property is abuse of power! It is also trespassing, destruction of private property and vandalism.

No contractor in his right mind would proceed in bulldozing someone’s private property, yet the San Jose Code Enforcement thinks it is legal to use its power and blindly and mechanically misinterpret existing codes … forcing in to submission a law-abiding property owner who by having the alley repaired in 2013 is exempt from all these penalties and from paying to repair other owners’ sections of the alley. I ask you – is San Jose Code Enforcement becoming a brain-dead, terrorist organization?