Codes, water and rats, oh my

Dear Editor:Living in the city of Downey has been great for my husband and now myself, but recent events have us wondering if it's all worthwhile. After the death of my husband's wife of 28 years, in which they had their home here in Downey, he contemplated moving. We met and, courses being set as they were, married four years ago. We again contemplated selling the house, but chose to remodel, adding a bathroom, family room and an office. Although we had to comply with some brand new requirements from the city that cost us several thousands of dollars more than anticipated, we complied. These new regulations included a water collection system that collects water from our roof and drains it into three drums in our lawn due to the increase in the size of the house. This is supposed to prevent water from running off our roof and into the street. The other regulation we needed to comply with is a full indoor sprinkler system with a water riser on the front of the house with a high-decibel alarm system. If we have a fire and the sprinklers come on, the sharp drop in water pressure will set off the alarm and notify neighbors and the fire department. When the city tested it, the alarm was ear-piercing, but no neighbors showed up or came, and neither did the fire department. I hope it works, but hey, we complied. I always conform to safety regulations, even at the cost of several thousands of dollars. We have a nice home now, comfy and built for entertainment and family gatherings. A few incidents now have us rethinking living in Downey. Remember a few months back with the tainted water situation that was all over the news? Too bad the residents weren't notified. For two days straight there were rivers of water on our street, from one side to the next, up and over the curb and even undermining a neighbor's driveway that was being repaired. Poor guy, he had all the work done ready for the cement pour and now the water washed it away. The water on our street alone was more than 100 years worth of water that may have leaped off my roof during a rain. We found out about the tainted water, not from the city, but from the Channel 5 news. I particularly liked the 2 a.m. recorded message that the water was now safe to drink several days later. For many years, my husband found it a pleasure to put up a nice Christmas display in the yard, along with lights on the house. Last year, during the night, the day before a Christmas party for a large group of friends, all the lawn décor was stolen. We reported it to the police and they said, "Yeah, we have a lot of this, and they take them and sell the stuff at the swap meets." We had the last remaining lawn décor stolen this year. We simply cannot afford to keep replacing these decorations to just be taken again. Vandals have been pretty recent visitors in our neighborhood, stealing the tailgate of our neighbor across the street, stealing the rear view mirrors on our car in our driveway, gang graffiti marked on our sidewalk, graffiti on our trashcans, eggs thrown to coat the paint of our cars three times, and not just vandals but the shootings/murder on the end of our street. Now for another treat: rats. Rodents. Not one or two but dozens. Destructive, dirty and multiplying at an enormous rate. We and our neighbors have incurred thousands of dollars in damages. Downey does not have a vector control. That is handled through the county. You can call and they will tell you that they can come out and advise you on how to protect your home, but they cannot come onto private property to inspect. County vector control can give me bait, but they are all out. I asked if there were other rat problems and they said yes. I asked where and they told me they could not give that information. Oh fine, a rat infestation and they won't let me know where it is. I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars to protect my home and repair the damage done by these rodents. I pay for vector control on my property taxes twice a year. I contacted the city to help me out. Well after three months of asking and complaining I have no resolution from the county or city. The county never showed up to inspect, the city tells me they will get back to me. I guess an uncontrolled rat infestation isn't that important to the city or county. They must have more important things to do. Oh well, at least we complied. - Roxanne Swift, Downey ********** Published: March 6, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 46