Questions – The Problem as I see it

Our County Government is operationally dysfunctional

Something is broken and seriously amiss with our Santa Cruz County government. Even before the CZU Fire, our county was infamous for being one of the most difficult counties in California in which to build anything. By both their actions as well as their non-actions, the county bureaucracy appears intent upon preventing families from rebuilding their homes that they lost in the 2020 CZU Fire (see The LAMP & You).   Since the fire, many people from the 5th District  have shared with me their very compelling yet disturbing stories of mistreatment and abuse they have received from our county’s Planning, Building and Environmental Health Departments.

927 Homes lost, only 47 homes rebuilt

Over nine hundred and seventy-five family homes were destroyed in the CZU Fire.  Almost five hundred of those homes were located in the 5th District.  To date, less than thirty homes have been rebuilt in the 5th District.  How is this acceptable to anyone on any level? It’s time to stand up for the many still homeless victims of the CZU Fire. It’s time to put an end to this foolishness and begin to fix our badly broken system. In October 2021, we opened our BAM Homes regional offices located at 13335 Highway 9 in downtown Boulder Creek. Within the first month we had received more than sixty applicants from people who lost their homes in the fire.  From these applicants we chose twelve families to rebuild the homes (SeeBAM Homes Hopes to Ease Rebuilding Woes).

A maze of conflicting rules and regulations

The first home that we rebuilt took over twenty months to complete due to the new rules and senseless requirements imposed by the county Planning, Building and Environmental Health Departments. Except for exceptionally heavy rains, all of the delays, the increased expenses, the many cost overruns were caused 100% by the county. The ever changing requirements with ridiculous and often senseless misdirection imposed on everyone in the 5th District by the County of Santa Cruz planning, building and environmental health departments made rebuilding this home almost impossible (see A Tale of Two Cities).  

County bureaucray continues to ignore the plight of the still homeless CZU Fire victims

We have a number of serious problems facing us in the 5th District.  The ongoing homeless problem is a big one.  Santa Cruz County spends a great deal of our taxpayer money, resources and effort into caring for, cleaning up after and searching for acceptable and safe housing for the growing number of unhoused residents in our county.In spite of this show of concern, our county bureaucracy continues to ignore and make ever more difficult the  lives of the homeowners who lost their homes in the CZU Fire

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