I really try very hard to write in the '3rd person' -- as though I were just an observer of a tragedy and not one of its over 500 participants -- but this article is really difficult for me to maintain that necessary aloofness so that I can even-handedly present both sides. I guess the problem is that, as I write these words, the photo of my apple orchard is on the computer screen in front of my eyes and it hurts.
Eight years ago my wife and I bought over a dozen fruit trees; mainly apple trees -- since I never miss a day without my two apples. We, together, dug the the holes, planted the young trees, installed a water misting system, plus we had our landscaper run water lines and hook-up an automatic water timer. My mind's eye never imagined the picture above as being the still-born fruit of our efforts.
Five years ago, soon after the landslide devastated our community, the City of Anaheim brought in heavy earth-moving machinery, built a dirt road up to my backyard, then scraped away all of our top soil and with it our apple trees -- leaving behind a white sandy-ash, upon which not even weeds will grow.
The City of Anaheim then began drilling numerous wells upon my property.
All without ever even knocking on our front door to ask for permission.
And the City of Anaheim has continued to do this well drilling on my property up to this very year.
During 1993, the city council, including his honor, Mayor Daly, stoically refused to ever attend any of the landslide town meetings held to discuss the effects of the disaster. But they did send their cadre of lawyers and bureaucrats plus a City of Anaheim representative, then known by the name of Natalie Lockman (also know as Natalie Meeks, also known as Natalie Armas -- so, in order to eliminate confusion, I will from now on just use her first name, Natalie).
A question I had originally directed to the city geologist, Mark McLarty, was deferred to Natalie. I asked her: "Why has the City of Anaheim entered, destroyed and then occupied my property without ever even asking for permission?"
Natalie answered with one of the most unbelievable statements ever uttered by the City of Anaheim, and I quote: "We didn't know it was your property."
The City of Anaheim's claimed ignorance somehow gave them the right of possession. And their possession has now given them the right of ownership for the past five years.
In Anaheim the Bill of Rights has yet to be enacted.
It's as though the City of Anaheim has planted miniature missile silos where we had planted our apple trees. This is where we had stairs leading up to our home. The city's earth movers and bulldozers removed all signs of their existence. Another view of what remains of our apple orchard. Instead of asking us for the keys to our automatic water timer, they just tore it from its foundation and jerked out the wires. Five years after the landslide disaster, the City of Anaheim's Rube-Goldberg de-watering wells still offend their surroundings. Whatever you do, don't drink the de-water! Obviously, this City of Anaheim landscaper should be fired -- along with his mayor. The City of Anaheim has just begun this project at the front of my house. Of course, they have not told me what it is -- ??? More de-watering silos affront the front of my house. And now the de-watering silos in the front of my house are getting even bigger. Natalie said that this dirt road leading to my backyard would be removed and the area replanted as soon as the Emergency was over. Five years later it looks exactly the same. Each and every day of the week we are still forced to live with the City of Anaheim's perpetual Emergency. This view of the dirt road from my backyard has only changed slightly in the past five years. It has now been upgraded with white sand bags.