San Bruno donation money to be handed out

January 12, 2011 12:53:43 AM PST
After four months, the city of San Bruno has decided how to distribute hundreds of thousand dollars donated to the victims of the pipeline explosion. Many have complained it's a process that's taken far too long.

The city council voted unanimously to start distributing the money next week. That means victims can go to city hall, show identification, and pick up a check.

"I also wanted to offer my personal apology to anyone who feels our delay in getting this out may have caused them undue hardship," says San Bruno Vice Mayor Michael Salazar.

That is how the vice mayor started out the conversation about how to allocate the $395,000 donated to San Bruno's Glenview Fire Relief Fund. The money is still coming in four months after the deadly explosion and to date not a single dollar has been distributed.

"We really weren't aware of any definitive needs and we were under the assumption at least that PG&E and Red Cross and the other agencies were fulfilling some of these needs," says Salazar.

They found out at a meeting last week, that wasn't the case. So Tuesday night, the following guidelines for distribution were established. The 38 homeowners whose homes were destroyed will get $6,000 each. The 17 homeowners whose homes were moderately damaged will each receive $4,000. And the 45 homeowners who had what's considered minor damage will get $1,000 each.

"If you have lost everything, $6,000 isn't going to do very much either," said fire victim Marilyn.

There were some who disagree with the city's decision to base assessments on damage rather than need.

"Certain people lost more, but like that kid that's in the hospital, they should give him a little extra to help him pay his hospital bills and help his family," said fire victim Edward Pelligrini.

But that's where the remaining $58,000 in unallocated dollars comes in. The second part of the city's distribution plan is to allow victims to actually apply for that money based on the severity of their situation.

"For what the resources that San Bruno has as a small community basically, I think they're doing an exemplarity job," said fire victim Bob Pelligrini.

By the way, you can always opt out and not take the money you are owed. In that case, that money will be added to the $58,000 unallocated fund.