Below is an excerpt from a story in Tuesday's Register, and below that is an email the Register received from the resident directly impacted by the city's inability to followup and remove dead trees from city boulevards in a timely manner.
It does not seem plausible the city had this particular tree "scheduled to be removed" the very same week Mother Nature brought it down, creating the very situation the property owner and resident say they've complained to the city about for two years. That explanation from the city seems like lip service, after the fact.
And the response from city commissioners Jeff Smith and Dee Cole reported in the story seems as if it too is just more lip service.
The Register has made a public records request to the city for "the schedule" and all other public documents directly related to the tree removal program regarding city-owned trees, but we're not holding our breath.
City commissioners and city officials continue to stonewall the public on records, costs and other related information to the city's federal housing program in which up to $3 million in taxpayer money was stolen and squandered via corruption in city government. Nobody involved in that corruption has been identified by the city, police, prosecutors or the federal government, and nobody has been held accountable for that massive loss of taxpayer money.
It's important to remember most, if not all, city workers, are honest and hardworking. They care about Sandusky and do their jobs to the best of their ability, every day. And city commissioners are citizen legislators with a pay level and a workload that qualifies them to be called volunteers. To a person, every city commissioner serves because they also care deeply about Sandusky.
But when corruption goes un-addressed for years, it can only mean the structure of government is broken. When residents are continually ignored making legitimate inquiries about important issues and lip service is all they get in response, it can only mean city government is in desperate need of reform.
That's just so obvious.
Resident blames city for deadly consequences
By Andy Ouriel
Register Staff reporter
SANDUSKY -- A ravaging July 1 thunderstorm forced a massive rotting tree to splinter from the foundation and destroy her West Madison Street home and car.
Massie, who miraculously stayed with a neighbor before the storm hit, claims the city knew about the dangerous tree yet did nothing to address the problem.
For two years, her landlord argued and pleaded with city officials to remove the decaying maple tree, which sits just a few feet from the home.
City officials, however, ignored the problem, Massie said.
“I’m pissed off,” Massie said, who carried insurance on her home. “We’ve been fighting with the city for over two years. They need to buy me a new damn car and house. This is their fault. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
At Monday’s city commission meeting, general services superintendent Scott Miller said a crew would have cut down the tree this week.
“It was scheduled to be removed,” Miller said. “Obviously, we didn’t make it there in enough time.”
Miller’s employees, who also oversee road maintenance and recreation activities, can’t dedicate enough time needed solely to cut down trees.
Those staff members actually cut down hundreds of trees.
“Probably the No.1 phone call I get is about citizens (wanting the city to) cut down their trees,” Sandusky city commissioner Jeff Smith said. “These guys are working very hard, and we’re understaffed right now and can’t get out to everyone’s trees.”
Sandusky city commissioner Diedre Cole recommended the city create a link on its website, where residents could report damaged or dangerous trees.
Email from Tanna M. Massie, dated July 11, 2012:
This is in regards to Andy's article about the meeting the city had Monday night, and Scott Miller's remark about the tree. He implied that the tree was slated to come down this week, well that is just false, if that were true, why didn't they tell my landlord when he was down at the city building last Wednesday asking about the tree again? Or now that I am homeless, the friend I am staying with Fran Voltz, called and left a message about the tree last week, because she was worried the tree would end up on her house. She had also left a message and sent an e-mail last year and never got a response.
Seems pretty strange to me that since the meeting, they came back down and cut the tree down, after the workers told my neighbor Monday that the tree probably wouldn't be taken care of for about a year. I might be able to go back home by October, I am glad Scott has his own bed to sleep in at night, that privelege was taken away from me due to negligence.