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First District News
Weekly Board Update
March COVID-19 Special Edition
excuse this long-winded story.
To Kill A Garage. I
had the recent pleasure of sitting down with a long time resident (in his
80’s), who had decided to purchase and have installed an 1,100 square foot
garage. It appeared to be a simple job on flat ground next to his home in the
Mockingbird Canyon area (non-city). Unfortunately, the story he and his wife
shared would make old-school Soviet Politburo Bureaucrats blush with envy. The
horrific maze of delays, fees, new delays and new fees was so extremely sad
that it would make your blood boil.
The short (?) version is, he paid for a stamped set of
engineered plans for his future metal garage in order to pull his building
permit, and brought them down to the County building. But he was then told he also
needed an additional “structural” engineered set of plans.
Go Home - come back again! Then, even though it was
just a metal garage with NO bathroom, he was told he needed a permit to have
his house septic system inspected and re-permitted.
Go to Environmental Health - come back again! The backside of the property and garage had a
gate and access to a paved road with a fire hydrant, but he was told that he needed
to pay the water district for a special flow test to verify that the fire
hydrant could flow enough to serve his garage.
Never mind that the fire hydrant was previously tested and approved to
serve nearby new homes.
Go to the Fire Dept.
Go to the Water District. Get the hydrant test done. Come
back to the county again! The house and garage pad area was reportedly level,
but then he was told to hire a firm to produce a topographical map of the
property to prove it.
Go Home, Call engineering firms. Come back again! Fortunately,
he was able to drive to the Flood Control District and purchase a map they
Go back and submit. After many months of delays and
fees, all finally looked good, but when he arrived to get his permit, he was
told it was being “held” for Transportation to approve.
Go to the Transportation offices! Nobody there could
figure the reason for a hold, so that box was checked off! Victory!
With light at the end of the tunnel, on what he
planned to be his final trip to get his permit, he was then told that he should
have obtained a grading permit at the very beginning – so he would now have to
Game over. Done. Finished. No More. He cancelled his
metal garage order, forfeited a very LARGE non-refundable deposit to the garage
company and flat-out gave up. He then contacted my office to share his walk
Why didn’t you call us for help, we asked? We help
people all the time with the bureaucratic maze.
And that’s the next part of this sad conversation. The first part (of
what he went through) is sad enough. The second sad part is that ANYONE should
have to go to an elected official to get help dealing with his/her government.
In my opinion, you should not HAVE to know and go to an elected official for
help. If the process is so bad that you literally have to “know someone”, then the process is broken and must be fixed! The process should be so customer friendly, so
accommodating, and so helpful, that the officials should only hear from the
resident as to how helpful and how polite and professional everyone was. The
broken process - the “who you know”
process, only empowers those in power (elected or appointed) and their
connected friends to become more even powerful for the wrong reasons!
If you have a story, or need help in the First
District, please do not hesitate to contact my office for help. You don’t have
to be “connected” to contact my
office and ask for help, and I encourage people to do so long before you are
ready to give up, like this poor gentleman did. If you have friends in other
Supervisorial Districts who have similar stories from their part of the county,
they absolutely need to contact their own Supervisor. It take three votes to
make changes by the Board, and we can’t fix what we don’t know about!
As always, please feel free to email me. I do read
each and every one of them (except the really nasty vulgar ones that get sent
to the round file).
Respectfully, Kevin Jeffries
During the January Temescal Valley Municipal Advisory Council meeting, residents and local elected officials joined the Waste Management El Sobrante Landfill to congratulate the winners of the 7th Annual Temescal Valley America Recycles Day Calendar Art Contest.
Sponsored by a Waste Management Think Green Grant, the contest challenged children who live in the Temescal Valley area to depict the positive effects recycling has on the community.
During the contest awards ceremony, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries presented personalized certificates to the winners and congratulated them for their environmental stewardship. Waste Management also gave the children prize bags and awarded a combined total of $2,000 in school donations to the top winners.
1st place and winner of $800 school donation: Amanda Long, El Cerrito Middle School
2nd place and winner of $600 school donation: Isabella Esquivel, Temescal Valley Elementary School
3rd place and winner of $400 school donation: Ashley Mosley, Todd Elementary School
4th place and winner of $200 school donation: Adeliz Lopez, Todd Elementary School