Letter: Sloppy Slopes

by MissionViejoDispatch.com on September 9, 2012

I have preciously little time these days but the fact that the slope along Marguerite where I live is in such a sorry state made me take my phone with me this past week when I walked up the street (photos below).

The Eastern slope along Marguerite between San Luis and Trabuco especially hasn’t seen a maintenance worker for the better part of the past 6 months. Weeds have completely taken over the slope to the point that they are almost as tall as the tall bushes and they have completely covered the not so tall varieties. The weeds on this slope are so prolific that it isn’t immediately visible that the slope is dying if one merely speeds along Marguerite. It is, however, obvious to anyone who actually looks at the slope. And it cannot escape the rare city employee who actually checks up on the City’s contractors and confirms they actually did the work they bill the City for. Trouble is, I don’t believe our public works employees are doing their jobs. And the photos prove it. They were taken on September 7 and they witness a state that takes months and months of complete neglect to bring about.

In addition to the slope itself, the sidewalk on this stretch is covered with weeds and ground cover overgrowth to the tune of about 1-1/2 feet (2 feet if you count that they really should be trimmed about 6 inches inside the sprinkler heads. Dead plants and formerly occupied but now deserted parts of the slope have been hidden behind weeds. Moreover, weeds have been left to kill even more of the plants our taxpayers paid so dearly for only about 2 years ago. We water weeds these days rather than bushes on this slope. Plants have died from neglect and inundation of weeds but the landscaping contractors have apparently very successfully hidden the sore state of the slope with the help of complete negligence by both contractor and city staff. They most recently cleaned up the corner on Marguerite and San Luis but it is pretty clear that nobody’s spent so much as five minutes on the slope between that and the corner on Trabuco.

Why is it that Mission Viejo public works is sitting on their hands instead of making sure its contractors actually perform on their contracts? Please tell me at least that the responsible landscape contractors haven’t been paid for maintaining the slope between Jeronimo and Trabuco when they have so blatantly neglected them! Furthermore, I herewith request that the City check the contractor’s representations with regards to maintaining the slopes near my home because if they stated they maintained that slope and submitted paperwork so they get paid, they’ve been pulling one over our public works’ department big time.

But City employees have not performed their duties either. Consequently I suggest that City Management note the lack of performance and the haphazard dispensing of duty in the responsible employees’ performance reviews this year. They certainly have done neither their duty as employees of our City’s public works nor have they done right by Mission Viejo’s residents. Mission Viejo taxpayers should be able to expect that the Administration treats our assets with the same, if not higher, care, they would employ if they owned these assets personally. It’s why we have employed them and what we’ve been paying them for.

Is it really too much to expect of our city’s administration, that they make sure the departments perform their duties to an acceptable level of care? Why do we pay public works employees to not confirm City contractors do the work we hired them to do? And why do we pay a public works manager who doesn’t make sure his department performs?

Click on photos to enlarge.

Tina Bach

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Holtzman September 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

Thanks toTina and the Dispatch for the coverage of the city’s neglect of slopes. I previously noted the miserable condition of the following slopes:
Alicia from Marguerite Parkway to I 5, a portion of the noted parts of Marguerite Parkway, the entire length of Jeronimo, the entire length of Trabuco, most of Los Alisos, much of LaPaz. In addition selected city areas on the Oso Creek trail have a BIG fire potential with Palm Trees that have not been trimmed in years–with dead material from the ground up to the the existing green foliage.

It seems that oversize pots, declarative flags, kiosks, and ceramic bears have a priority in some city officials minds. With over $5.3 million just spent for special interests at the Tennis Center, you would think our slopes deserve attention.

One would hope that the promises made by some of our council members would be kept–fix the slopes.

Vivienne Marchwick September 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I would like to add that Mission Viejo is not doing their job in keeping up the center medians between Los Alisos and the border of Lake Forest. Why is this area forgotten? Lake Forest is doing a tremendous job and then there is Mission Viejo. Why do they only keep South Mission Viejo beautiful and forget about North Mission Viejo? Are we the same city? Someone needs to inspect these areas and do something about it. I have lived in Mission Viejo for 20 years it is still the same sub standard median landscaping. Put some new trees and flowers in please. We need to be proud of ALL of Mission Viejo.

David Hollen September 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Lo and behold the crew shows up today after a year of neglect. Amazing what a watchdog blog can do in an election cycle. The city is quite willing to rip up existing slopes, cut down 50% of the established trees and “replace” them with .5 gallon bushes with state grant money. Yet afterward they are completely unwilling to water and maintain their easement and unwilling to enforce the conditions placed on big businesses to maintain their portions. I ask citizens to observe carefully as they drive around, compare what they see in our city with the visual appeal of other south county cities, and think about the enormous amount of tax revenue they have to play with. After that vote accordingly.

Kathleen Krieger September 11, 2012 at 6:15 am

Along those same lines, what looks like an irrigation control box and electric meter were taken out on April 29,2012 by a car on Alicia between Marguerite and Cypress Point. Now the irrigation box and meter are back but the area is still in yellow caution tape and I doubt that anything is fully connected and operating. That’s over 4 months….what’s going on in the Public Works Department?

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