Monday, September 26, 2011

This makes me sick. Napa County "law" outlawed the humanity of a number of low-income residents because THEY WERE POOR.
Instead of working with the residents, the "authorities" merely kicked the People out into the streets, People who had no meaningful work and lived inexpensiveley off the grid...
Napa County shows once again how Fascist it really is.

2011-09-26 "Cuttings Wharf cottages empty, facing demolition" from "Napa Valley Register"
Months after their owner evicted his tenants and expressed a desire to demolish the properties, the 23 low-income cottages at Cuttings Wharf Road are still standing.
Peppered with “no trespassing” signs and abandoned by tenants who were served by a long stretch of dirt road, the homes continue to be the focal point of a legal battle between Napa County and property owner Kenneth Moore.
The row of homes now appears lifeless, stripped of personal belongings and absent the pack of neighborhood dogs that once roamed the block. On some of the homes, the only sign of recent life is the occasional phone number scribbled across a boarded-up door or window.
A laid-back, back-country way of life that existed at Cuttings Wharf for decades is now over.
As the legal dispute between the two sides rages on, the demolition that Moore told his tenants would take place months ago seems to be just around the corner.
According to a representative from the Napa County building department, Moore was issued a permit to demolish the cottages on Aug. 10.
Meanwhile, attorneys for both Moore and the county have scheduled a trial date for early February regarding the county’s attempt to have code violations abated, said Carrie Gallagher, an attorney for the county.
Talks of both demolition and court-ordered repairs have long dominated the conversation around the Cuttings Wharf cottages.
The dispute began back in early 2010 when county officials responded to a host of health and safety violations at Cuttings Wharf. Problems ranged from a lack of permanent foundations, to faulty wiring, to a lack of hot water in many of the homes, the county asserted. Most of the units also had additions built on without proper permitting, officials said.
In September 2010, the county sent Moore a letter saying that he must either correct the violations or be taken to court. Moore failed to make the necessary repairs, claiming he would rather demolish the units than fund the improvements.
In early December, he issued eviction notices to each tenant, forcing residents who had long relied on the cheap rent — less than $350 a month in most cases — to look for lodging elsewhere.
Hoping to preserve the cottages, which had provided low-income housing for decades, the county asked a judge to appoint a third-party receiver to oversee the repairs, a move that would have effectively forced Moore to fund the repairs.
Ultimately, Napa Superior Court Judge Raymond Guadagni sided with Moore and the eviction proceedings were allowed to continue.
In early February, the deadline for eviction came and went, yet at least two tenants continued to occupy their cottages, according to court documents. This prompted the county to file suit in March, again asking that Moore either bring the lived-in units up to code or demolish them.
Weeks later, Moore appeared to be willing to make some repairs to the units still being lived in, according to court documents filed in early April. Agreed-upon repairs included fixing an exposed gas line in one unit and ensuring water heaters worked.
Over the following few months, the last residents left the Cuttings Wharf neighborhood. All of the 23 units are now uninhabited, said Hillary Gitelman, Napa’s planning director.
Meanwhile, the county’s lawsuit against Moore has continued to move forward, Gallagher said, noting that Moore still needs to resolve the code violations, either by demolition or making the repairs.
“That’s why we filed the complaint,” Gallagher said.
Moore has long said that he would rather demolish the units than fund the repairs, and with permits now in hand, that outcome looks likely.
Neither Moore nor his attorney could be reached for comment on the matter, but both sides are expected to be present in court when the matter is taken up on Feb. 6.

FRIDAY SEPT. 23, 2011 NAPA, CA - A lawsuit filed by Napa County against landlord Kenneth Moore attempting to force repairs on homes in the 100 block of Cuttings Wharf Road may go to trial. The houses are now empty and the block essentially deserted. Jorgen Gulliksen/Register

Look how the Conservative attitude of the local oligarchy bleeds into the press coverage which dehumanizes the poor tenants by describing them prominently as "Stragglers"

2011-02-08 "Remaining stragglers leave Cuttings Wharf" by James Noonan from "Napa Valley Register" newspaper
For the several dozen residents who made their homes at Napa’s Cuttings Wharf, life is about to change.
On Tuesday, the 60-day eviction notices issued by property owner Kenneth Moore run out, meaning that those living in the 23 low-income cottages perched along the river banks since the early 1950s must pack up and move on.
“It’d be nice if we had a couple more weeks,” Teri Dickerson said on Monday.
Dickerson, along with her neighbor Jerry Cuellar, were resting in the shade outside their homes — exhausted from the moving process and uncertain about what their future may hold.
The pair — who have both lived on Cuttings Wharf Road for nearly two decades — will be moving to Vallejo on Tuesday, where they will split the rent of a two-bedroom home costing about $900 a month.
During their years on Cuttings Wharf Road, Cuellar and Dickerson never paid more than $342 a month for their own units — a price unheard of anywhere else in the Napa Valley.
“Neither one of us can afford to live on our own now,” Dickerson said. “Not even in Vallejo.”
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s deadline, the friendly and uniquely rustic vibe that once characterized the community has morphed into feelings of confusion and chaos.
Each passing day, another resident would pack up and leave the wharf, severing ties that — in some cases — had taken decades to establish.
“Everybody’s just kind of lost, I think,” Dickerson said. “It’s really just a sad situation for everyone.”
Only a month back, the long, dirt road that served as the main artery for the river-side community was teeming with life. Residents darted between homes, children played outside and a handful of dogs roamed freely up and down the block.
Now, Dickerson and Cuellar sit alone — reflecting on their time spent at the wharf and wondering what life will look like moving forward.
“Once it’s finally all over with, it’ll be all right,” Cuellar said softly.
“It is what it is,” Dickerson answered back.
At the other end of the dirt road — at the Moore’s Landing diner — the final days of the Cuttings Wharf community are being felt just as hard.
Inside, co-owner Margie Morin peered out the window, gazing toward the row of homes that over the past month have been slowly drained of life.
“We’re going to miss those people,” she said. “They kind of kept an eye out for us over the years.”
Throughout the confusion and activity that came with the eviction process across the way, Morin has been assuring patrons that the eatery will remain open — though it will be without the regular business and local flavor provided by the wharf’s residents.
At one of the diner’s corner tables, Bob Humphrey who lives in Vallejo was mourning the end of an era.
“I’m heart-broken,” he said. “But for sentimental reasons.”
Humphrey — whose daughter has lived on Cuttings Wharf Road for the last 12 years — grew up in rural Napa County and knew the Moore family in his youth, he said.
While taking a break from helping Dickerson and Cuellar pack their final belongings, he lamented the loss of one of Napa’s rural treasures.
“If I would win the lottery tomorrow, I’d put it back in this place just to keep that legacy alive,” he said, knowing that no such savior is coming. “I’m just glad it lasted as long as it did.”
With the eviction date having come and gone, the fate of the small, well-worn dwellings remains in question.
Moore had previously provided residents with notices saying that demolition would be taking place Thursday, just two days after they were expected to vacate.
However, Eric Banvard, a plans and permit supervisor with Napa County, said that Moore had yet to pull demolition permits from the county’s planning and development office.
Banvard said that it normally takes between seven and 10 days after pulling permits before demolition can proceed, making the Feb. 10 date seem unlikely.
Moore could not be reached for comment.
While the cottages may live on for a few more weeks, those that filled them have uprooted and moved on.
“When we closed on Saturday night, there were no lights on over there,” Morin, the diner owner, said.
In all her years on the wharf, she had never seen it so dark. “It was pretty spooky.”

MONDAY - FEBRUARY 07, 2011 - NAPA, CA - Jerry Cuellar, right, discusses the upcoming evictions at Cuttings Wharf on Monday afternoon as his next door neighbor Teri Dickerson listens. Cuellar, who has lived at Cuttings Wharf for 17 years, will be moving to Vallejo where he will have Dickerson as a roomate. The county found a number of code violations at the properties, which the owner chose not to fix. The owner told the residents to evict the property and plans to demolish the homes. J.L. Sousa/Register

MONDAY - FEBRUARY 07, 2011 - NAPA, CA - Bob Humphrey of Vallejo takes a break at the Moore's Landing diner, from helping his daughter and friends move from their homes at Cuttings Wharf on Monday afternoon. Evictions are set to begin on Tuesday February 8, after the owner chose not to make repairs to the homes. The temporary homes, which first appeared on the property five decades ago, had a number of code violations. J.L. Sousa/Register

MONDAY - FEBRUARY 07, 2011 - NAPA, CA - Moore's Landing diner co-owner Margie Morin wants people to know that the upcoming evictions at the Cuttings Wharf homes hasn't affected her business. The popular eatery remains open after the county found a number of code violations on nearby properties, forcing residents to find other places to live. J.L. Sousa/Register

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