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  • Christopher

Our rebuild moves forward, but we are the lucky few

Updated: Apr 6

As many are aware, we are a CZU Fire family. We lost our home to the fire on August 20th, 2020 and have been fighting ever since to recover.

Today is a special day. Yesterday we passed our rough inspection, which is ironically the toughest one to pass. It includes plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. So today, the insulation of our home is beginning followed by dry wall. After that, we are taking over as we could not afford to pay our general contractor to complete our job.

Our story, is not a unique one in the fire community. We were set to break ground on our new home in the beginning of 2021. The county halted all progress on our build and delayed us for almost a year to do the Atkins Debris Flow Risk study. In that time our bid ballooned from $807,000 for the entire build to $1.085 Million dollars. The $807,000 was already a stretch. We had already spent a small fortune just to get to this point. We had no choice but to push ahead and figure it out.

We are one of the lucky few families who have been able to make progress in the San Lorenzo Valley.

Many fire survivors are still stuck in the preliminary stages of obtaining their permits, and we are rapidly approaching the three year anniversary of the fire. To date, out of the 911 homes lost in the blaze only 23 homes have been rebuilt all the way to completion with a final occupancy sign off.

Out of those 23 only 6 are in our district. Six.

Let that sink in. It is almost three years later and only 6 families have been successful in district 5 at rebuilding their lost homes, and are able to start putting this nightmare behind them.

The county boasted of a streamline process, but with the structure of the planning department and no growth philosophy of the county the only process our community was given with filled with obstruction. And that has cost us dearly. We have lost so many community members as they understandably felt like they had to move out of the area and leave their properties and community behind.

There are tangible reasons that people couldn’t rebuild that were outside of the county control. However, its pretty sobering that district five lost over 600 homes out of 911 in the fire and we’ve only had six families actually complete the process at almost three years later.

Read that again. Imagine being in emergency mode for almost three years. Its unconscionable.

The CZU Fire community is the canary in the coal mine. It is imperative that we learn this lesson to not only improve the lives of those that are still struggling to rebuild but take a different approach for future disaster victims. I plan on taking all that I know as someone who has been on the receiving of such adversity to fight for drastic improvements on how our county serves the constituents of my district.

We don’t need any more of the empty promises of streamlined processes that don’t actually help people. We need more than pretty words.

We need action. We need change.

Join me and help families who have lost so much to recover and move forward.

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