September 02, 2004

Guest Editorial: Won't You Be My Neighbor?


Hi, this is Karen on Water Street. I host Fred's blog (because the idea of a retired trial lawyer with unlimited access to a free press really delights me). I'm stepping in to share a little bit of a downer that happened to me this past weekend. Unsupervised contractor work on Water Street caused this damage to my beloved car--big gobs of industrial-strength glue, baked on the car over the weekend while we were gone.

We're pretty sure how this happened--I distributed flyers and conducted interviews--but the neighbor in question refused to even consider the possibility that she was responsible. At first she said, "I have WITNESSES that the damage was done Friday!" But we were out of town IN THAT CAR until Friday evening, long after the usual hammering and grinding from other contractors had stopped. Then she tried to tell me other neighbors had work done Saturday. But I've already interviewed enough people to know who was doing work (and the workers in question were using a strong glue). Then she tried to tell me she wasn't having any work done Saturday, but we talked to her contractors before we left Saturday morning in our other car. (They were carrying materials from their vehicle to the back of her condo, walking within feet of my car.)

I'm also unhappy that the exchange didn't start with honest discussion: yes, contractor work was done, let's see what really happened. In fact, the neighbor in question slammed down the phone with, "well, what a fine welcome to the neighborhood!" Oddly, I was thinking the same thing.

I'm filing police and insurance reports, but I know I'll end up paying for this one way or the other. I don't blame the contractors in question. They were operating unsupervised, and let's just say English is a long way from being their first language, so I would be willing to bet their guidance was fairly minimal. But I'm getting pretty tired of all the unsupervised work being done in this area, with little or no direction, and I'm even more tired of the lack of accountability or sense of community. On our street, some days there are so many SUVs and trucks that an emergency vehicle couldn't make it past our place (never mind residents backing out of their own driveways, which has become almost impossible). That's not the contractors' fault: the direction needs to come from the owners.

This is what Point Richmond is becoming--less friendly, more dangerous. Watch your cars... watch your backs. Oh yeah, and then there's the mess of lumber she left behind her neighbor's condo. Hello, Merry Maids?

We resume regular programming... carry on, Fred!

Posted by kgs at September 2, 2004 01:39 PM
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