Tuesday, July 22, 2008


By Guy McCarthy

CATHEDRAL CITY - Residents of a mobile home park tried to clean up Monday from a flash flood that roared out of Eagle Canyon, left at least one residence unsafe to live in, and filled many other homes with mud, water and stench.

Some worked on their knees with wet-vacs, others worked with shovels. Many of them angrily blamed the city for the mess, and for years of talking about flood control but doing nothing about it.

The mayor of this desert community 110 miles east of Los Angeles said residents of Tramview Mobile Home Park have every right to be upset, but she dismissed notions that Cathedral City is solely responsible for the mud that flowed into their homes.

Mayor Kathleen DeRosa underlined Monday afternoon at a press conference that the city's local emergency declaration paves the way for owners of damaged property to seek reimbursement from FEMA.

"That's what's frustrating about being a resident and dealing with city officials," said Marc Kamm, 60, who emptied trash cans full of ruined carpets into a dumpster before he went to City Hall to hear what DeRosa had to say.

"They've known about the flood problem since 1986," Kamm said. "They knew about it, they talked about it, they passed the blame back and forth. Why didn't they do anything about it?"

Cost is one reason, DeRosa said.

Putting a dam in Eagle Canyon - a massive mountain watershed that lies under several local jurisdictions - would cost $28 million at current flood control estimates, said city communications director Allen Howe.

Other residents who did not come to City Hall said the city is accountable in more ways than one. A few years ago Cathedral City oversaw the demolition of a trailer park across the street and uphill from Tramview, and at the same time eliminated adequate flood control measures.

"It's their mud," said Paul Jaurequi, a manager at Tramview. "They should be cleaning it up."

Kami Sawatsky, 57, agreed.

"It's just a mess out here," she said, showing a visitor mud on the floors of a home that was being renovated. "People are angry, too mad to talk."

One resident who did not want to be identified got into a shouting match with a city employee driving a loader, and ended the exchange sarcastically with "You have a nice day, too!"

Jaurequi's office has windows facing the slopes, and he has a decent view of the mouth of Eagle Canyon.

"I looked out and saw a big river coming off the mountain," Jaurequi said of the Sunday flash flood. "Six-thirty in the morning and I saw it just run right through this park. We couldn't get out because the water was up to our knees.

"This happened in 1989 and the city knew about the problem," Jaurequi said. "And here we are again. The same thing happened."

DeRosa called the sudden storms on Sunday "an act of God" and said the debris that came down to Tramview came from Eagle Canyon. When told that some residents said dirt on the former trailer park site was what hit their community, DeRosa said Cathedral City had maintained the site to code since the demolition.

"I can't tell where that dirt came from," DeRosa said. "Dirt is dirt . . . At the end of the day it doesn't make any difference whose dirt it is. They're upset and they have every right to be."


More photos at

tramview - slideshow

tramview - set

1 comment:

Jsta_Barracuda said...

People just want to steal land that they are not entitled to, by America's own laws. The lies just make me sick and more sick.
It would be nice to really hear why the Mexican Indian pioneers descendents of California are all dying off or become prisioners in jail. A rise of yuppies anxious biting at the bit, for land they feel is theirs to steal.( I am not talking about Real Estate I am talking of Land Ownership by Patent). The Lands that are patented can not be sold, only passed to generations of families descendants. I just can't help but feel that this whole thing about Mexico and Immigration issues with California is a big cover up and made up. We have treaties with Mexico. Most Mexicans you see in California are born here or they have working visas to come and go with temporary 6 month licensing. To close our borders is a big mistake. The people that keep pushing that issue (I FEEL In MY OWN Opinion) are the ones that want the profit. Want to see Hispanics and Indians lose. Well why don't we see a true LAND OWNER running for President? Is it not their responsibility as TRUE Land owners? Be a part of the Electoral college. How come more families did not learn this 50 60 70 years ago? The greed of America shows right now and it makes me sad to see that people would actually believe a man like TRUMP, (a crooked loop hole seeker) to trust him to run America when he was responsible (as a corporation) to run a business to BANKRUPTCY. What did he really do for Americas' job problem. He contributed to the problem... and he will only continue to loop hole America into a false security!!!

So if your worried about what is happening in your neighborhood, water etc... Vote this year and do your research. Don't listen to the speeches look into they're lives and how they are as people and issue they live by. For the good of all, not just they're own interests.