San Jose residents take trash to the bank

July 27, 2011 7:13:12 PM PDT
Some angry people made an unusual deposit at a bank in San Jose on Wednesday. Instead of money, the demonstrators were loaded with trash.

Residents of East San Jose, some of whom live on Sinbad Avenue, say they're fed up. Foreclosed homes on the streets have become a dumping ground for garbage.

"We have a lot of garbage," said Ana Guardado. "That helps the property to go down in price. It's nto fair to the people who live next to."

Members of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) bagged up the trash yesterday from 856 Sinbad Avenue and delivered it to a branch of Wells Fargo Bank, the trustee for the investor-owned property.

"It's bad," said resident Daniel Quinonez. "It's just bad for the community, waking up early and seeing all this garbage. Nobody's doing anything about it."

San Jose code enforcement officials have issued three citations for the Sinbad Avenue house, most recently on Friday for $1,000. Bank of America is responsible for maintaining the property for Wells Fargo.

Code enforcement official Mike Hannon says the banks are slow to respond.

"Oftentimes, it takes one or two citations to get the message to them that you're in San Jose, you own property, you're expected to maintain that property, and if you don't, here are the consequences," said Hannon.

San Jose began cracking down on vacant property blight two years ago, and despite its budget problems, the city added a second inspector to work on vacant properties full-time.

As for 836 Sinbad Avenue, Bank of America told ABC7, "Our goal is to keep it up to neighborhood standards." The bank promises to pay its fines promptly and to clean up the property within 48 hours.

City officials say they can't fight the blight alone and are asking for the public's help. The city is asking for the public to call them at 408-535-7770 whenever they see problems in their neighborhood.

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