“It is what it is”

Steve Gramm Steve Gramm 19 Comments


KUSI News - San Diego, CA

“But when homeowners turn to the county for help, they get nothing…”

This quote is a really good summary of the attitude that Dianne Jacob has about the people she “represents.”

Watch the news report from KUSI. It perfectly captures the problem we in East County face.

A public drainage system under a home is Spring Valley is leaking, which leads to a massive ground collapse adjacent to the house. The property is in unincorporated San Diego County, so they need to turn to their County Supervisor for assistance. Unfortunately, Dianne Jacob, their Supervisor, is typically unresponsive to these kinds of complaints. So, the homeowners turn to Michael Turko, KUSI’s consumer advocate.

Of course, when Turko calls, Supervisor Jacob begins realizes she needs to at least pretend to care. But not too much. This is her answer when confronted with a problem created by the poorly maintained public infrastructure: “It is what it is.”

As Turko said, in this case, “county government refuses to deal with a public problem.”

After holding the same office for more than twenty-four years, I suppose you forget who you work for. That definitely seems to be the case with Dianne Jacob.


Comments 19

  1. Here’s a solution; why not take some of the unaccounted Board of Equalization funds mentioned in Turko’s last story and pay for the drainage system from his first story?

    Because that would make sense.

    To Hell with the the County when they raise our water prices, set draconian laws for its use, then have the audacity to pander with hat-in-hand puppy dog eyes for some “kind contractor” to “step up” and pay what is undoubtedly their issue to deal with.

    My God….who are these people and who in their right mind supports them?

  2. Question: “Is it a private drainage system”?

    If so, why would its failure be the county’s problem?

    In any case, the suggestion here, that her inability to solve every specific problem shows that Dianne is uninterested in helping her constituents, is worse than unwarranted–it’s fallacious (aka, BS).

    (Five’ll get ya ten Anderson wouldn’t have even found the time to waddle out to look.)

  3. The water is coming from county roads…where would the county put its road run-off if it weren’t for those drainage systems?

    If it were oil or whiskey flowing into those pipes from those roads, the county would find a way to fix it…and tax it.

  4. Craig,

    Question: “Is it a private drainage system”?

    I think you raise the right question. Is the drainage system for the sole use of the owner or the community? Can the owner shut it off to eliminate further damage to his property? Did the owner pay for it? Was there a disclosure when the property was purchased declaring all things drainage the responsibility of the owner?

    My understanding is that answer to all the above is No. No. No. and No.

  5. The question isn’t whether Supervisor Jacob is interested in serving her constituents. The question is whether the Supervisor is interested in maintaining County infrastructure.

  6. These folks don’t understand Quid, Quo Pro. Supervisor Jacob responded in a sensitive, understanding way. She could’ve said, “So what have you done for me lately?”

  7. While I’m sympathetic to the family, here’s the key background in this unfortunate situation: The drainage pipe was privately built on private property more than 50 years ago. County staff made sure more than a year ago that the homeowners were aware of that fact. KUSI has reported that other local governments have made similar repairs on other properties, but the cases cited involved very different circumstances. While I have worked with the homeowners to explore all avenues of county assistance, and I think folks in my district know me well as a problem solver, the reality is that public funds can’t be legally used to address a private property maintenance issue. Using taxpayer money to fix a private homeowner problem would not only be illegal, but fiscally irresponsible. I believe many Rostra readers would agree.

  8. Good questions, Eric.
    Unfortunately the overlap between private/public ownership and expenses doesn’t, in cases like these, always work to the homeowner’s advantage.
    I can’t shut-off my sewer line, either. And if it fails, it’s my responsibility.
    Buy a house in La Mesa, and you might not find out until you plan your addition that, in addition to all your normal building expenses, you get to buy new public sidewalk out front.
    If the problem above were a public matter, Supervisor Jacob would not have issued a plea for help from a private contractor. Wouldn’t have and couldn’t have; she would’ve called public works.
    Conversely, given that this case does indeed appear to involve private property, what’s Jacob supposed to do, call city maintenance to fix the problem?
    That would be nice, but I don’t think it works that way.

  9. Ms Jacob-

    I’m confident some aspiring attorney may see it differently.

    The county clearly benefits from the run-off from county property through these, albeit antiquated, systems provide. Since this has proven to be an issue with this home, what is the county’s alternative to the existing systems? To date, no alternative is proposed, is it?

    Should communities now physically obscure and essentially “plug” county drainage ditches and run-off drains so they can ensure no more county water run-off puts more families in similarly “unfortunate situations?

    Without having to read one bylaw or city ordinance, one would logically conclude this is a community wide issue that resides primarily in county jurisdiction.

    Don’t hide behind the law; that’s what politicians do. Take this opportunity to be a leader and solve the damn problem with the vigor and the resources the people of the county of San Diego elected you to do. Prove the skeptics and the apathetic throngs wrong!

    This problem is not a fine red wine…expected to get better with time…it is like fish, and if you and your powerful and influential county colleagues don’t address this with some purpose and vigor before the next wave of El Nino, it may be you and your sympathizers going down the drain in the next election.

  10. I sincerely doubt the developers would have willingly installed that drainage pipe at their own expense. It is far more likely the county REQUIRED the drainage system be installed as part of the approval of the overall project. If the county required it, then the county should be responsible for it’s upkeep.

    Supervisor Jacob, take care of your constituents before it comes back to bite you at election time!

  11. Again, the list of things the county requires but has no subsequent role in maintaining is a long one.

  12. How fair is it that the County offers multi-millionaire Spanos $250M but nada to a family that is losing their home because of the County’s negligent maintenance practices.

    What an incredible lack of leadership and compassion.

  13. I’m sympathetic to the family. I would hate to be burdened with this
    expense, but what are Supervisor Jacob and the County supposed to do? The pipe was built on private property and the homeowners were given thisinformation more than a year ago. Now that there is a problem taxpayers aresupposed to bail them out?

    We have laws that dictate how public dollars can and can’t be spent.
    Unfortunately for the homeowners, this falls into the “cannot spend”

    Supervisor Jacob is a tremendous public servant and I’m sure if there were a way she could legally demand the County to help this family she would, but her hands are tied in this situation.

    I recommend that those who are so quick to place blame onSupervisor Jacob make a donation directly to the family instead of encouraging our taxpayer dollars be spent.

  14. Glad to entertain, BB 🙂

    WRT your “Open Letter” article; has the RPSDC identified anyone yet either willing, able, or possessing the core attributes you illustrate for the 52CD? It’s a tall order.

  15. Dianne: If this was a big bucks donor or influential person, you would have moved heaven and earth to get this fixed. But this person seems to be a normal homeowner.

    This person is your constituent. Show your constituents you really care about normal people and get this fixed. Whether the person is right or wrong is beside the point. Use your power and make a call to someone who can get this fixed who owes you a favor.

    You have an opportunity to show leadership and compassion. Have you been in office so long that you no longer care?

  16. Nonsense.
    I know a prominent local developer who, facing a similar problem, was told exactly the same thing:
    “Sorry, the county can’t help.”

  17. Who was it and what was the situation? Interested to know. Was he Republican or Democrat, a donor or non-donor? I find it difficult to believe unless he was on somebody’s bad list. After all, this is San Diego politics and it’s if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.

    If Dianne’s final answer is “Sorry, the county can’t help.”, maybe her 24 years in office is long enough and she should step aside for someone who will be more pro-active for the citizens of San Diego.

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