Mr. Gerald Steiner
Fax: (714) 773-5409
February 21, 1998
Subject: Landslide Litigation
Dear Mr. Steiner,
I am a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit, “Walker versus Rancho Solano Enterprises et al” -- a lawsuit filed because of non-disclosure of known landslide potentials, serious landsliding, property damage, property diminution of value, emotional distress, etc., etc...
A couple of weeks ago I read an article published in the Fairfield Daily Republic by the Associated Press that told about your Website and your involvement in a Landslide Litigation. I decided to “surf” the web after hours and was truly shocked by your materials.
I felt as if some of my chronological summaries and letters of pain and outrage were yours. I copied several pages of your material and read them anxiously. I was outraged that there was this other group of individuals suffering as we are. I was furious when I read how you have and continue to be victimized by Developer's and your City Government.
The similarity between your suit and ours is very direct and significant except that we have not yet sued the City of Fairfield ... only the Developer’s, Sub-Contractor’s, Sales Agents, some Realtors, The Soils Engineers. Last month the Developers filed suit against Aetna Casualty for not paying off claims. The City of Fairfield may be named before this is over with.
Just like your case, the City of Fairfield signed off the Environmental Impact Report which contains the same type of scary verbiage about slopes, landslides, 3 earthquake faults that bi-sect through the development of Rancho Solano (one previous earthquake registered 7.8 on the Richter scale).
There is even a Geological Survey Landslide map that was released in 1987, one week before we purchased our property, that indicates there are well over 100 landslide zones in Rancho Solano. Of course it was never mentioned or included within the City or County records for the Title Companies to see.
In Rancho Solano there has been some significant landslides where streets have dropped off the side of the slope, one split down the middle then raised un-evenly by several feet and drained 1000’s of gallons of water. One house shifted and dropped significantly from an underlain swale. Many springs have surfaced beneath homes or in yards, foundations, sidewalks, and driveways. Interior walls are cracking. Roofs and windows leak, which, many of us believe, is from the unstable soils and resultant house settling.
Underground utilities are constantly being replaced. Water running from yards, up through cracks in asphalt, is continuos year round including summer. Cracks in driveways are numerous. Porches are sinking and separating from some homes. Garage doors don't meet the driveway floor evenly. One man's kitchen counter snapped away from the wall during the night.
The hills look very threatening and homes are terraced and laced throughout them. To date there has been only a few evacuated. I believe that one home early on was quietly condemned and the people paid off before others caught on to what was going on. It was later sold to a salvage agency, and then sold again at less than half of its original value.
Approximately, 18 months ago (after a couple of years of litigation and seven suits merged together under a special master suit pertaining to Rancho Solano) we went before the City Council and asked that they allow the residents of Rancho Solano to borrow $400,000.00 from the streets and landscape district to do another Geological survey post development.
Results of the survey: Bad news... all areas were either unstable, or marginally unstable.
So the defendants all fussed about the study which was put together under the guidance of a special master assigned by the courts with an un-biased soils engineering firm "Cotton & Shires Associates" overseeing and leading the study.
So more studies were done. More bad news. In fact the more they study, the worse things seem to look. By the way, David Rogers (U.C. Berkeley) has also spoke with us and was retained for a period of time by our attorney Chipman Miles of Miles & Brummitt of Walnut Creek-Contra Costa County, Ca.
The Fairfield City Manager (whom did not sign the Environmental Impact Report; he was not City Manager at the time) was fired within a couple of weeks after speaking on our behalf at the Council Meeting. He was instrumental in us getting the survey loan. The City Attorney was also fired. It was in the newspapers for several weeks, as the City would not disclose why they were fired, only that there were significant differences and views on City Government issues between him and a couple on the council members. The whole circumstances were obviously stinky politics.
I literally began to feel ill, tense, and nauseous as I read your materials. When I read about you and the other 240 families suffering the same way as we have been I cried for you, I prayed for you, and then I exercised for about 45 minutes to release the tension and anger. I felt like I had the flu for a couple days. I awoke with seething anger for the next few days. By the way I wake up angry often but I remind myself as to why, and have learned to meditate and focus the anger (perceived positively by others) into projects at work or in the garden. You spoke how some in your suit have died or divorced. Well I'm one of the divorced statistics in my suit, the whole ordeal literally tore us apart and has affected our health also. My ex-husband takes anti-depressants and I drink a lot of Malox.
I decided to share your story with those residents that decided to attend a recent townhall meeting. Attached is the letter I placed on about 20 pages of your material. I had 80 copies made and passed them all out.
Mr. Steiner, and your family, and friends, fight hard, stay determined.
Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing to those on the Internet.