San Jose Flood Victims Say They’re Growing Tired Of Red Tape

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A flooded San Jose neighborhood is still cleaning up after Coyote Creek overflowed its banks two weeks ago.

And on Tuesday, state and local officials trying to put a price on the cost of cleanup toured the damage.

Piles of trash and rows of flooded cars offered a glimpse of how much work cleanup remains to be done in flooded San Jose neighborhoods.

State officials with the Office of Emergency Services got their first up close look at the storm damage, touring several flooded neighborhoods.

California Office of Emergency Services Deputy Director David Cruz said, “We’re conducting what’s known as a preliminary damage assessment. It gets boots on the ground to look directly at the homes and businesses that are impacted.”

It’s also the first step in figuring out what state and federal money or assistance may be available to flood victims.

Apartment owner Constantine Gundunas said,” I realistically think that if we push it, we can do it in a month.”

Gundunas owns an apartment in the city’s Rock Springs neighborhood and says that despite promises from City Hall, bureaucratic red tape is still standing in the way of business owners rebuilding.

“They said, ‘We’ll eliminate all of the red tape, all of the bureaucracy. We’ll have people out there all day long, issuing permits on the spot.’ But it hasn’t happened,” Gundunas said.

The San Jose City Council approved a plan to waive inspection and permit fees for flood victims, but say they must strike a balance between speeding up the process and insuring the work is properly done.

San Jose City Councilperson Raul Peralez said, “There has to be permitting and the processes have to be followed. We can’t just get out of the way. The city has to be able to inspect some of the things that are being changed, some of the improvements that are going to be made.”

San Jose also has a new director of emergency services, Ray Riordan.

Among other things, Riordan will be looking for solutions to complaints that the city failed to warn or evacuate residents before floodwaters destroyed their homes.

More from Devin Fehely
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