[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Ron, you get an “A” for “Creative Writing” and “Revisionist History” in your letter: Southwest Suburban Sewer District responds to Brett Fish’s letter.
When a child gets caught with its hand in the cookie jar the range of excuses and defenses can be very creative.
The District is essentially caught again and again stealing the value of our property. The District has historically enjoyed dishonoring its legal agreement with our Dad to only use the compost road for compost hauling because we’ haven’t sued for enforcement trying to be supportive and neighborly.
Let’s look at this another way:

  1. You ask your pooch to stay off the couch, you turn your back and it’s right back there.
  2. You try to reason with it, an obvious waste of energy.
  3. It threatens to bite you if you try to restrain it.

You catch someone stealing your cookies, ask them to please stop doing that. They do it again saying but we’ve always stolen these cookies. You offer them a bargain price and a chance to make it right, pay for the historic theft of all the years of stealing cookies. They counter offer in effect saying they are old cookies, offer 20-25 cents on the dollar as if this was some kind of “yard sale” negotiation.
They again bully, threaten condemnation or easement to take all the cookies any time they want.
Under legal threats and intimidation a temporary agreement to avoid threatened condemnation is written by the District lawyer with small allowed modifications by me. Within just a few days of signing, it’s breached and abused, again and again.
3 Issues:

  1. The compost Road
  2. The unwanted clay sliding and destruction of my boyhood family home of 76 years
  3. Past refusal to do 10+ years of required landscaping

A quick review of history:
The District got a mandate to do secondary treatment, composting, and needs access to the new facility. It’s original entrance on 174th Pl. is difficult for 18 wheelers to negotiate safely.
The District decides a new road has to be put through our property, puts a figurative gun to our heads and offers “easement or condemnation”. We cave.
In the process of building the road, the District finds a huge clay layer on its own property which NO ONE wants as fill dirt. The District puts the gun to our heads a second time and says “take it or condemnation”. You have a document signed by my Dad allowing it against his wishes rather than have our family property condemned.
This giant clay pile fills in a ravine where ground waters and springs from the surrounding hillsides have naturally drained for centuries. The giant clay pile became an earthen dam plugging the system beside our family home. It began sliding a bit in 2003 and then really let go in December 2006 dragging our house with it. The two events occurred together and are getting worse. The District has refused responsibility, put the cost of proving it on me, claimed statute of limitations. It suggested I turn in an insurance claim but have also stated it will be decided by a Court.
When you personally witnessed the slide and damage to the house, you said “it’s obvious you didn’t do that”, subsequently in front of the Commissioners January 8th denied ever having said it.
During a personal cell call you stated that “the District has acknowledged responsibility for the slide so why don’t you turn in a claim?” Suddenly you changed course and vehemently deny having said that.
The road takes 1.1 acres of my family’s property. The original agreement states it is for COMPOST HAULING and direct compost customers only. From the beginning, the District began abusing the use of the road with specifically prohibited general employee access, outrageous entry hours, weekends, holidays, basically whenever it wanted. This is extremely disruptive to our lives using the property as your own personal shortcut.
The easement agreement also specifically states that the District will maintain the landscaping. For a short time, they did, a spectacular job for an ugly road. With repeated changes of District Managers and Commissioners the landscaping gets tossed aside. The District then refuses saying not our job. My Dad was sick about it so for over 10 years so I personally took care of it. Recently, the District has done a good job of maintaining the required landscaping which is greatly appreciated.
Trying to be as fair and supportive and NOT get condemned, I offered the District the opportunity to settle the past misuse starting at the “very reasonable” (as you stated) rate of $200/month, then deducting $10/month per year back 20 years, waived the first 6-7 years completely. That means we are asking the District for a mere $10/month for the first year, $20/month for the second year up to present day rate.
For TEN years of personally landscaping the ugly road, I asked only $500/year. You can’t get that service per month much less for a year. The District’s refuses claiming Statute of Limitations.
The District’s “last best” offer of $7,200 for 20 years of abuse and 10+ years of landscaping is less than 20 cents on the dollar of an already severely discounted price for the unpermitted use of the road.
I personally try not to trip over the same stone twice. All District signals are to continue forcing us for now and forever.
Let’s see what the Ratepayers thinks is fair compensation for all these years of abuse of our property and value of the District’s refusal to do the required landscaping for 10+ years.
Some may say I should stick my head in Miller Creek to cool off, others may say what the District offers is unfinished compost.
– Brett Fish

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our ~90,000+ monthly Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]]]>

Avatar photo

B-Town Blog Staff

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

2 replies on “LETTER: Brett Fish responds to Sewer District, gives 'A' for Creative Writing”

  1. Southwest Suburban Sewer District Commissioner’s Meeting Minutes:
    August 3, 2004
    Commissioner’s Comments or Reports
    Commissioner Genzale commented on his goal to establish credibility, confidence and trust at the District with the public and the employees.
    This speaks volumes for Tony’s honor, integrity and character trying the get the Sewer District back on course after a long dark era of lawsuits and bitter in-fighting shortly after being elected to the Commission.
    Tony expressed an immediate desire to make things right for us after we reported the slide and house damages in December, 2006, looked for visual cues and expected support among the other Commissioners, Manager and Attorney but was given the sudden “don’t go there” uh-uh shakes of their heads. You could see his shock and disappointment.

  2. I have to side with Brett Fish on the fact the SSSD does its best to not take ANY KIND of responsibility for problems they created. When they put sewers down our street I was told I cant hook-up to them because I didnt sign the petition for sewers,, (there was one?).
    I talked to my neighbors and nobody knew of a petition or signed anything either.
    But anyways, getting back to my story,
    I get home from work one day and there`s 2 small mountains sitting right in front of my house, (one of rock and another of sand) where we park our cars along with a lot of big machinery, trucks, tractors, etc.
    I asked them WTF and I come to find out they are putting sewers down our street but I can`t hook-up to them, Here I am the one most inconvenienced but the whole thing and the ONLY one on the street that can`t hook-up to it. So then, the company they subbed out the work to backs their backhoe into my Chinese elm tree and breaks off a huge limb, but they dont say anything to me about it but the SSSD knew they did it
    (I know this because they admitted to knowing) and the tree gets blight and I have to pay to take it down.
    I asked them to at least split the cost with me they tell me, oh, its to late. (it was only about 2 months later). Theres a lot more to this but I think you can get the gist of where I`m going.
    So as far as I`m concerned the SSSD can kiss my you know what and I hope Brett Fish gets everything he`s entitled to.

Comments are closed.