I’ve written a number of posts and articles in the last year or so about the City’s policy requiring property owners to pay 100% of repair costs for sidewalks fronting their property (you can read the earlier pieces here and here).
In a nutshell, it’s unfair and inconsistent with the law. The City has plenty of money available to fund splitting the annual costs with residents, and the courts have found cities are always potentially liable for trip-and-fall claims that occur on public sidewalks regardless of who pays to maintain them.
So it would seem like a no-brainer that the Council should at least consider revising the current policy. And, last month the Council agreed to do just that in our next budget review meeting, scheduled for April.
Last night three Council members directed staff not to include the issue in the upcoming budget discussions. Those three were Cameron Johnson, Bob Grassilli and Ron Collins (Matt Grocott and I continue to want to see the matter come forward).
This is a deeply disappointing reversal, and not just because the matter itself directly affects the pocketbooks of every homeowner in San Carlos.
Coming as it did, so soon after the growing public outrage which got the matter scheduled in the first place subsided — subsided because residents felt the Council had heard them — and how it did — on a tangentially-related matter of sidewalk policy which the average person would not have expected to include discussion of reversing the January decision — will, unfortunately, smack many as a clear example of why no one should ever trust elected leaders or government.
There’s still hope. But it will take a substantial outpouring of public energy.
If you believe, as I do, that it is reasonable and proper for tax dollars to help pay for the upkeep of public assets which clearly benefit the community — sidewalks — then please make your desire to have this matter included in the upcoming budget process known. In fact, I hope you’ll not just demand it be considered, but that the Council change the current policy, and have the city share in the repair costs.
Here is the contact information for the three Council members who acted to continue placing 100% of the financial burden of sidewalk repair on homeowners:
|Mayor Bob Grassilliemail@example.com||(650) 802-4160|
|Cameron Johnsonfirstname.lastname@example.org||(650) 802-4162|
|Ron Collinsemail@example.com||(650) 802-4161|
The more personal you can make the contact — phone calls are better than emails, provided you get a call back, and sitting down in person is better yet — the more likely it is you’ll have an impact.
I wish I could do more for the community on this one. But I’ve done what I can, and we’re down to the short strokes.
It’s up to all of you to take charge.