Another flood clean-up day in East Bay

October 14, 2009 5:53:49 PM PDT
There is a chronic flooding problem in the East Bay. Tuesday's heavy rains flooded parts of Antioch and on Wednesday residents were stuck cleaning up the mess.

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There is one particular six-block area that residents say often ends up under water when it is stormy. The source of the flooding is a canal that gets backed up just about every time there is a major storm. Everyone in the area knows what the problem is. There just does not seem to be the money to fix it.

The day-after cleanup is a familiar ritual at Kelly's restaurant in Antioch.

"I would say in the 31 years that I was here, I would say I've been flooded out at least 20 times," owner Albert Cianfichi told ABC7.

Tuesday was no exception. The area was underwater. Residents in ground-floor apartments were asked to voluntarily evacuate. Drivers were stranded in their cars. Streets were barricaded. The currents were so strong they buckled the wood on some walkways.

Now, residents are stuck with the aftermath and the frustration

"The city says it's the county. The county says it's the city," resident Jack Blanchard said laughingly.

It is a blame game over the canal running through the old part of town. Neighbors say it floods just about every time there's a heavy rain. Clean-up crews hit the streets Tuesday, vacuuming debris clogging the canal and storm drains, but it was a day too late.

Antioch Mayor Jim Davis was at a golf course luncheon Tuesday honoring city workers.

"Who would have predicted the storm was going to be as big as it was?" he asked. "We've applied for the federal government for stimulus money to widen it further. We're still waiting to hear back from our congressional representative's office."

But, residents say they too are still waiting.

When asked what he had to say to Cianfichi, who has had to clean up his restaurant after almost every rain, Davis responded, "I say, 'Did he sand bag?'"

"It gets so flooded that the sandbags don't do anything," Cianifichi said. "It comes underneath the walls. You get inundated. There's nothing that helps."

City officials told ABC7 that the canal gets cleaned up periiodically, but that is no consolation to the residents in the area. Many said that even though they had flood insurance, the deductibles are so high they are the ones who end up footing the clean-up bill.

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