Author: Joe

The story of San Clemente

The story of San Clemente

How an ‘ancient landslide’ keeps threatening a railroad, homes in San Clemente in 2016

I started thinking about this story a few years ago, when it was just a story. That’s when we were living in the house and not living there. Today, I think it would be appropriate to write about it and what it means, so long has it made headlines and it still seems to be stirring people’s hearts.

One of the best examples is in San Jose in which a landslide caused homes on the slopes of the hills of San Clemente to collapse. More than a year after the catastrophe, in which at least 13 people died, the mayor is working to decide whether to rebuild. Many residents don’t want it, saying the landslide was caused by a ‘natural’ phenomenon and the slope is so steep that it won’t be possible to rebuild without extensive expensive work.

In this story of San Clemente, the landowner and the city have tried to resolve a problem through an unusual strategy: through the legal system. That may be surprising, but that’s what happens to this story.

The landowner, a guy who has been living on top of the hill for 30 years, has lived by the rules of the land and the law. He has refused to remove his houses even when the soil was so bad there was no way to build homes. That was until the owners of the houses, who live in Europe, filed a civil lawsuit against him in July 2016. One of them wrote the following in an email to me: “The first thing to be done after receiving the lawsuit was to remove the houses. The next step was going through the courts with the claim of the plaintiffs. We did this first as we would like to proceed with the matter in our own way and at our own time but the court case has been postponed several times, even after the legal team was consulted. It all looks like this

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