WHY ME? OUTSPOKEN LAND OWNER CLAIMS CITY BLIGHT CITATION ISSUED IN RETALIATION

August 29, 2000 11:00 pm

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Jim Snow, the outspoken property owner, public meeting goer and prolific letter to the editor writer, is crying foul at the Crescent City City Hall for citing his house for garbage, debris and public nuisances.

Are we using this as an instrument of harassment or are we going after blight? Snow asked.

On Monday, Snow received a certified letter from the city code enforcement officer informing him of several municipal code violations at his property on the corner of 3rd and G Streets.

The 100-year-old house has been converted into five separate rental units which are all occupied and have been since 1990.

In a fever pitched voice of frustration, Snow said the letter was sent only four days after the city council meeting where he had spoken as a member of the beautification group called the Gateway Partnership.

At that meeting, Snow complained the council was incapable of getting the simplest projects done efficiently. Specifically, he was angry about the burned out light bulbs on the harbor pier and the hard-to-use microphones used at the council meetings.

The coincidences in this thing stinks enough to be like a refrigerator thats been full of rotten fish for a week, he said.

Dave Brewer, the city code enforcement official said, Mr. Snow is not on my hit list. I didnt pick him out specifically. In fact, I sent out several letters on Friday.

Brewer said ordinance violation letters are sent after complaints are filed by concerned citizens and then a drive by inspection is conducted for confirmation.

In my travels, I check things. I also check federal housing authority places and he has a federal housing tenant there, so I was checking it, Brewer said.

But what frustrates Snow the most, he says, is a neglect of his efforts to talk with the city about demolishing the house and erecting several town houses in its place.

In response, Brewer said, We didnt feel it was realistic to put those in Crescent City. Maybe San Diego or San Francisco, but not here.

Snow is full of ideas about how to improve Crescent Citys downtown. He said he has volunteered his services on a part-time basis to help create a bicycle path on Howe Drive that will include an Asian style bridge over Elk Creek then into the harbor. He didnt say how it could be funded, however.

And the old Dalys building could be adapted to a high-tech bookstore and sandwich shop. That could be an anchor bringing downtown back to life, Snow said.

Snows frequent letters to the editor are often critical of city officials. In his Aug. 25 letter, Snow says, Pretty much the only thing thats done is for government themselves. And he says the recent ordinance citation is not due to actual violation, but more like an effort of retaliation.

I think theyre sending me a message about my letters to the editor, he said.

Brewer says that allegation is ridiculous.

If he wants so much to happen here, lets see him invest some money in this slum, said Brewer, referring to Snows house on 3rd Street.

Snows main response to the certified letter was, If they want to dance, lets dance.