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Voice: Nuisance abatement proving a nuisance

March 08, 2002

I received a courtesy notice to abate nuisance on Feb. 12 (more of a threat, if you ask me). Apparently Fire Prevention Services, Inc., contracted by the City of El Centro, had driven by my house on Feb. 8.

They claim there was "weeds, trash or rubbish" that needed to be cleared in 30 days or they would send their own people to do it, and then send me a bill. The schedule of fees attached with the letter was ridiculous. These people did not have the "courtesy" to knock on my door to tell me exactly what needed to be done. Not knowing what specifically they wanted, I threw away everything on my property.

On Feb. 21, I called the telephone number they gave me to schedule a re-inspection. Low and behold I reached a voice mail. Exasperated, I called the city of El Centro to get some information. Yes, you guessed it, recorded messages and phone abyss there too. I finally reached a real person by calling the city clerk's number. (The city attorney was next). I asked if I could have the address of Fire Prevention Services, Inc., so that I might actually talk to someone in person. Well, she told me that this outfit is not in El Centro, or even the Imperial County for that matter. They are located in San Diego!

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I know the city of El Centro is very creative about getting money from a person. We still pay for the school district maintenance assessment. What with the high unemployment in our county, you would think they would at least hire someone local to do this. My guess is, if they would have to send their abatement crew out to do the "abatement proceedings," they too would come from San Diego.

I always thought city government was to serve the citizens. What happened?

ROD CULP

El Centro

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