Friday, April 12, 2024

Water, Water, Everywhere

 We are getting quite a bit of rain here, but the Allegheny River is at 12 feet. It reaches flood level at 14 feet, so we're good. Still, the river is high and muddy. Our Conewango, which feeds into the Allegheny is likewise high. Tim walked down to check the flooding behind the rentals. He was mostly worried about the steps we built down to the creek for our tenants Paula and Jim to be able to reach the river bank and sit with a fire and watch birds during the summer. The steps are right where we left them, which was mighty good news to us. We've got rain in the forecast through Saturday night. High winds predicted for tonight. 

They're getting it badly down in Pittsburgh. Our Allegheny flows through Pittsburgh, and water levels there raised 21 feet in the past couple days. Comparitively speaking, we've got nothing to complain about. 

Today was a big day for us. The city has not responded in any way, shape or form to our paperwork. Dead silence. 

We have had a local television investigation team in. They've got questions. They requested paperwork from the city under the Sunshine Law, but the city has 30 days to get that paperwork to them. According to the reporter, he expects the city to take the full 30 days to forward it to them. 

In the meantime, we hired a guy to come in and run a camera down the line. He was going to provide us with a flash drive of the pictures to prove that the line had been capped. Unfortunately, the line is still filled with water and he could not see to get the pictures. But...all was not lost. He ran the camera through the line until it stopped. He came out of the basement and went to his truck. He had a device that communicated with the camera, telling him exactly where the camera was at. 

With a big grin, he said, "There you go. The camera is right here. See that writing on the side walk? (4'8", it said.) He said, "He marked where he capped it. The cap is 4'8" beneath this marker. That's where my camera is. That's where he's got it marked. Your line was capped." 

He gave us that information in writing. 

He explained where the city is going to try to get us. Shared lines are not allowed now. Back in the 1920s they were allowed so our lines were 'grandfathered in'. However, the law is, in the case of a drainage problem, the city requires the property owner to put in an unshared line. They will stubbornly stick to that, ignoring the fact that there was no drainage problem until they capped our line. Had they recognized that that was a 'wet line' and left it uncapped our drainage would have been working still. Since the house next door was removed, that line would no longer be a shared line, There would have been no problem. 

He pointed out that when a wet line is capped, the property owner is to be given written notice of what is going on. We were not. 

He said, given the city's dead silence on this, they are not going to respond, in his opinion. He said, "You'll have to get a lawyer." We had already figured that, and we have been researching out of town lawyers.

I forwarded the information to the reporter. Over the weekend, I will once again assemble the packets of information. Monday morning, I will deliver the information. What is so frustrating about this is that as citizens, if the city demands payment for anything, even a parking ticket, you don't have the option of ignoring that. How do they have the right to simply ignore us? 


39 comments:

  1. Based on what I read here, you may well have a good case against the city. But there is no doubt you will need a lawyer, and seeking an out of town one is wise. Good luck.

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  2. Getting the news people involved is a good idea. The city knows it is in the wrong and is hoping you will just go a way. Silly city!!

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    1. It is just aggravating that the city manager is being so arrogant. What gives someone in a position of authority to act like that?

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  3. I think that the lack of advice to you is the smoking gun here. They stuffed up. They should have the information that there has been a shared line so gotcha in my legal expertise.

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    1. Oh, they absolutely screwed up. I'm not even sure how they can deny that they screwed up.

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  4. This is as exciting as reading a detective novel, and that is not a negative. It seems such a simple matter to me. The city wrongly capped a legal working line. End of the story. I'm glad you are fighting against the city, and it is a substantial amount of money you are owed. When your day comes in court, hopefully it won't come to that, I'm you can both play the poor old frail couple who has suffered untold stress that disturbs your sleep, ruins your appetite etc etc, and is sending you into poverty.

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    1. I agree. I almost feel guilty being so interested in this story.

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    2. We're pretty interested in it too.

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  5. Grrr.... Makes my blood boil ...

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    1. The refusal to even respond is what is most irritating to me.

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  6. The city's behaviour is disgraceful. Good luck with finding a sympathetic lawyer.

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    1. Well, it will be interesting. We know someone who successfully sued the city. They used a lawyer from Philadelphia.

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  7. You will need a good lawyer, for sure an out of town one. As I told you before they will continue to stall. It took us seven years before we got to court and won our case against the city here in Toronto. I wish you all the luck in the world. Getting the TV reporter involved is a good move too. Gigi

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    1. I would be most interested to hear your specifics.

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  8. We are not that far away, so our weather is often similar. We've had some rainy days, but the water has been lower than in other springs due to the lack of much snow this past winter. We'll see how it goes now. As for the other issue, best of luck.

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    1. We haven't had much snow this winter either, but April has been pretty rainy. The ground has been saturated and a few very heavy rains on top of it has made things difficult.

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  9. I think the difference is when you and I get fined, we pay money and the problem stops. With the city, there is negligence and likely someone to get fired so it becomes a "cover-your-ass" situation which to the public, appears as if nothing is being done.

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    1. My point was that if the city wants payment, we don't get off with ignoring it. The absolute zero response is what irritates me.

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  10. I hope the interest of the TV people helps to move your case along. You will need that camera guy to testify as he explained it so well. Best of luck!

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    1. He's a pretty smart guy. He wrote it up for us. He's on our side.

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  11. I'm sure the city thinks that if they keep ignoring you, you'll just go away. I have a strong feeling you won't.

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  12. What an ordeal to go through by no fault of yours. And you have the aggravation and have to pay an attorney. Sorry this had to happen to you.

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    1. Well, all we can do is continue to pursue it.

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  13. The drainage issue seems to have gotten unbelievably complicated.

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    1. It's really very straight forward. The city, however, is simply ignoring us. I don't know how they have the right to do this.

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  14. There is far too much of this corporate / organisational failure to accept responsibility, to the point of criminality to cover up failings. It's stressful to take it on, but it is great that you are. Put the boot in.

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  15. I always wonder what people consider a "quite a bit" of rain. I guess it can vary in different parts of the world and the ability to deal with excess water in those places. We had around 7" of rain earlier this week and that would merit national news coverage in some areas, but we pretty much take it in stride.

    I hope you get this mess resolved.

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    1. I hope so too.

      Here, I guess that I don't monitor the amount of rain we got so much as how high the rivers and creeks are. At this time of the year they normally do run high. They are not at flood level though. However, downriver from us, we're hearing some pretty bad stories, and I'm sure that affects how much water can be released from the dam right now.

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  16. You are definitely in the right.. obviously...and they know it.

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    1. I'm sure that they do know that we have a case. The city guy who spray painted the measurement on the sidewalk knew exactly what that meant. The original plumber told them exactly where the snake had gotten to. He saw that he had capped that line. He kept insisting it was dry. The city insisted that we didn't know.

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  17. A good attorney should get your reimbursement from the city plus interest on the cash you paid out, damages and your attorney fees.

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  18. Best wishes. You can prevail.
    We had high winds last night and flooding after two days of rain. Trees went down!

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    1. We had enough rain last week to thoroughly saturate the ground. What we are getting this week has no where to go.

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  19. They're trying to stonewall you and hope you go away. (As you know!) It sounds to me, a non-lawyer, like the key might be that they didn't adequately investigate or notify you before capping the line, as is required. I think you have a case.

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  20. Oh my gosh, Debby! I can't believe all you are going through. This is so disgusting.

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I'm glad you're here!

The Lawyer.

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