During public comment last night on the proposed $36 million Smith Canal flood gate, Country Club resident Virgil Halvorson asked if the infamously elevated home on Elmwood Avenue had been planted there as a “scare tactic” to get people to pay for the project.
Rebuilt or significantly remodeled homes in the flood zone must be elevated, and officials in the past several months have circulated a photo of the Elmwood home to help residents understand the significance.
“Who owns the house on Elmwood?” Halvorson asked. “Was it placed there as a scare tactic for the people in the neighborhood?”
County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller, a board member for the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency, responded: “I know one thing: We don’t own it and we didn’t put it there.”
That’s correct. The last time I checked, the house was owned by a man named Daniel Pacho. I couldn’t track him down, but a real estate listing indicated the place was for sale and claimed it had never been lived in.
“I will tell you one thing,” Ruhstaller added, in response to Halverson. “When we go back to Washington and show that picture to the Congressmen and the folks back there, they are appalled. Have they fixed it for us yet? No. We hope if we keep banging on them, they will.”
Conspiracies aside, residents agreed to help fund the gate.