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The #$%^$# city killed my vegetable garden!


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted June 06 2007 - 10:58 AM

More so than that they poisoned my childs pool!

Me and my gal had planted a nice 9ft by 8ft vegetable garden about two feet from our backyard fence (my yard is very steep and the only flat portion is towards the back near the alley) with tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, green onions, snow peas, spinach & mustard and for the last two 1/2 to three months we have been nurturing it into a very healthy crop, we looked in on it every day weeding it and doing extensive online research on several good gardening tips and methods, it was our first vegetable garden and we were excited as it was doing so well......this morning as we went to work at 6am we both looked in on it and it was doing fine but at 3pm when we got home we stopped by and there was this brownish oily residue that smelled like used motor oil all over the honeysuckle on our back fence, on all of our vegetables (even on the spinach and mustard over eight feet away from the fence!) and in our two year olds blow up pool!
The honeysuckle and entire garden were wilting and after Jenni grabbed the hose to try and wash off the stuff the now browning leaves on the plants just disintegrated after the water hit them!

Needless to say were were enraged at the whole thing...I mean this crap was in our KID'S POOL! So we started making phone calls that got us nowhere so we drove down to city hall and got some more "we'll get back to you on this" runaround so we went straight to the streets department where we just caught the man in charge before he left, he tried to give us some bullshit about "some over spray occurs" but when we pointed out that the honeysuckle wasn't overlapping and isn't a "WEED", that the garden was sprayed over 8 feet into our yard and that the herbicide got into the pool he was a lot less defensive and told us that this sort of thing was done by people serving out their community service....we freaked out, why the hell are they giving dangerous chemicals to non-professionals TO BEGIN WITH!?!?

They are going to replace everything or get sued and they know it.
-Kevin M.

There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
- Roger Ebert
 

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   bobbyg2

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Posted June 06 2007 - 12:00 PM

Time to take out the big guns...

Posted Image

Kill THEIR vegetable gardens! Posted Image

Well, good luck. I would have been pissed if I was in your situation, probably would have already had my lawyer ready. Get Michael Jackson's, or OJ's lawyers. You'll win for sure! Posted Image
"Bobby is and idiot"

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Brian W. Ralston

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Posted June 06 2007 - 12:43 PM

I am going to have a different opinion here. So...be prepared for that...

It sucks and I too would raise "a little" hell. Why not? But...in all honesty in regards to your potential lawsuit...what is the amount of the damage and is it really worth it financially to sue the city? The blow-up pool can be cleaned, washed and even sterilized . The plants can be re-planted. Was the garden used as a business? It does not sound like it...so the court will see the loss as not substantial. You will be entitled the cost of the seeds or the young plants basically. (which will not be much compared to court costs) The court will not give you a financial judgement over the loss of your time in the garden, especially since it was recreational. And if they did, you would have to prove the hours that you put into it and how that translates to a dollar amount with lots of documentation...which I am sure you don't have.

The cost of filing the small claims case and the amount of your time and efforts to prove there is some financial loss to you will be significant. (How much is your time worth in doing this?) And...you would have to prove that their gross negligence led to this happening. Since you have no witnesses to what really happened...all they would have to say is that it was a windy day and that would be it. End of case.

So...really...be thankful that you all were not there to get sprayed on at the time it happened. Be thankful your son/daughter was not in the pool when it happened, which is probably really what you are upset about the potential of what could have happened. (But you can not get a judgement for a potential harm that could have happened). And maybe, start to think that a lawsuit is not really worth your time and efforts and not worth taking up the court system's already jammed court dates.

Write letters to the city council. Speak at a city council meeting. But know that anger and threats of lawsuits will only close doors in your face. If you can be nice and concerned as a city resident and make them have empathy for your situation...you might get farther than if you threaten a lawsuit. Ask them "What can we do to ensure this will not happen again in our city? How can I help?"

And maybe you can put your efforts (instead of into court fees) into constructing some sort of green house awening over the garden...and buy a tarp to cover the kiddy pool when not in use. At least so it can not happen to that degree again.
Regards,
Brian W. Ralston

#4 of 23 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted June 06 2007 - 03:28 PM

I agree with Brian...unfortunately, in this day and age, unless someone was seriously hurt, you probably won't get anywhere with a law suit. The old "my son could have been hurt" just doesn't stand up in court anymore...HELL, we're in an age where even if (heaven forbid) he was hurt, you'd still have a hell of a time with a law suit. Posted Image

Man, that really does suck and I hope you get some resolve, but I wouldn't go the suing route because it may just end up making things more difficult for you.

#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted June 06 2007 - 04:00 PM

You see my problem with the "Building a protective enclosure so it doesn't happen again" idea is...why the hell should I have to protect my family & property from the city utilities department that my tax dollars fund? They destroyed my personal property and poisoned my child's pool....seems pretty clear to me that they are in the wrong and the fact that he quickly agreed to replace everything (including the pool) tells me that he didn't think he had a good case.
I'm sorry but when it comes to spraying poison into an area where my child will be playing* I don't care how much "the man" has the upper hand, I'll fight and I dare anyone here with children to say they would feel otherwise.

*(Mind you, without any warning or notice that it would be happening...I'm not the only person on the block who had this poisonous crap sprayed all over their backyard where our children and pet's play.)
-Kevin M.

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- Roger Ebert
 

#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Aaron Reynolds

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Posted June 06 2007 - 04:10 PM

Thank God you noticed before sending the kid out back to play!

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted June 06 2007 - 11:28 PM

Maybe create a nice terrace system using railroad ties or fancy interlocking paving stones, then grade the hill, prepare for the water runoff and redo the garden!

Jay
You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted June 06 2007 - 11:47 PM

As I grew up we always had a garden, so a few years back I tried again. One of my neighbors was selling old tiller for $25, so I gave it a try. I spent all day breaking ground where there was never a garden before (renting) and planted seeds in nice neat rows.
The next day I went out to look at all the work I had done and found out a mole had visited. It looked like a scene from Goofy Gophers. Posted Image There was a mound of dirt going up one row, turning, and then going down the next, and so on. I assumed all my seeds were gone. I was told that the moles are originally attracted to the grubs, so I got some grub killer and reseeded. Things started growing and I noticed some "wascally wabbits" were helping themselves. I put up a 18" fence and that stopped that problem. In a few weeks, we were starting to harvest Posted Image and I looked out. 3-4 of the neighborhood dogs thought the fenced in area was a good location for a "cage match" they fought in there rolling around and tore up everything. Posted Image We were lucky to get some food though.
The next year, I took what I learned from the previous years experiences. I put the grub killer down first, put up the fence and then planted. Things went much better. We took care of it, weeding, watering, etc. and it was almost harvest time. Posted Image Then I came home from work to see the other neighbors big black bull standing in the middle of the garden. He was helping himself to the corn while he urinated all over the tomatoes and peppers Posted Image trampling everything else. I didn't know how to run him off with out him charging me. So I got the garden hose and started spraying him. It was a hot July day and he really enjoyed being cooled off. Then I sprayed him in the face and he got the message and went home. Garden destroyed.
Now I get all my fresh veggies from a local farmers stand.
Sorry to hear about your garden. I know how it feels to have a mindless creature destroy your work. Good thing you noticed the pool before the kids went in.

#9 of 23 OFFLINE   LewB

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Posted June 06 2007 - 11:53 PM

Quote:
why the hell are they giving dangerous chemicals to non-professionals TO BEGIN WITH!?!?
Go down there and ask the guy what chemical they used. Then go online and see what the application instructions are. Maybe they did give a chemical to idiots that they shouldn't have.
I wonder how many other people's kids are exposed to the over spray in their pools, on their swing-sets, etc. Posted Image

#10 of 23 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted June 07 2007 - 02:33 AM

Powerful herbicides and similar chemicals are often subject to legal licensing requirements for handling. If the city had people using them who weren't specially certified, they may have a serious problem.

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   bobbyg2

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Posted June 07 2007 - 02:55 AM

"But we had them under supervision of people who WERE licensed..."

That's probably the answer they'll give to that.
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#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted June 07 2007 - 03:28 AM

> the fact that he quickly agreed to replace everything (including the pool) tells me that he didn't think he had a good case

So what damage is left if they've already offered to replace everything?

#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted June 07 2007 - 04:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood
> the fact that he quickly agreed to replace everything (including the pool) tells me that he didn't think he had a good case

So what damage is left if they've already offered to replace everything?

Chris, that post was put up after he made a follow up phone call to discuss our grievance with us (I assume he talked to his superiors and was told to make it right).

He came out this morning to take away the pool and give us what we had asked for yesterday (he couldn't find it at the time), a material safety sheet describing the chemical make-up of the junk, Stomp-out 98, it's basically a generic version of most herbicides with petroleum naphtha added to make it non-water soluble but the interesting thing is that it contains (and mind you it is the most popular herbicide in the world) 2.4-D Herbicide or 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid...otherwise known as Agent Orange.
Nice, spray this shit around without telling people you are doing it....that, Chris, is my problem with all of this. It's one thing to use it yourself (basically this is what Round-up is) because I can keep the children and pet's away from it but having it sprayed without anyone's knowledge in a neighborhood with many kid's and pet's (or adults for that matter)...not happy about this.
-Kevin M.

There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
- Roger Ebert
 

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   JustinCleveland

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Posted June 07 2007 - 04:49 AM

Next time something like this happens, you should call the police and have a formal complaint on record. It's always good to have as much documentation as you can when taking on City Hall.

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted June 07 2007 - 06:09 AM

You might also want to make sure that none of the items sprayed were in the city's right-of-way along the street. In most towns, it's my understanding that the town technically owns so many feet on both sides of the centerline of the roadway. Usually this overlaps quite a way into most people's yards that run right up to the sidewalk/road (i.e. part of their yard is on city property, upon which the city can do whatever it wants).

Though if the city itself hasn't presented this issue in its defense, it may not apply in your area.
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#16 of 23 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 07 2007 - 06:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm R
You might also want to make sure that none of the items sprayed were in the city's right-of-way along the street. In most towns, it's my understanding that the town technically owns so many feet on both sides of the centerline of the roadway. Usually this overlaps quite a way into most people's yards that run right up to the sidewalk/road (i.e. part of their yard is on city property, upon which the city can do whatever it wants).
Absolutely; my parents ran into this when the town decided to put sidewalks through 5 or 10 years ago. It turns out the people who my parents bought the house from gave the 10 feet closest to the road to the state in the 1950's. The state owned the land, so there was nothing we could do about it. If your garden is on state/city/town property, their liability would likely be minimal — it's certainly possible that the offer to replace your garden was a simple good will gesture.

My parents have a pond on their five acre lot. Three or so years back, the town blew out the drainage ditch by the road plowing and all of the salt they used afterward drained into the pond when the snow melted. All the fish floated to the top during spring thaw. We filed a complaint and they put an orange cone where the wall of the drainage ditch collapsed but otherwise that got absolutely nowhere. In many situations like that, the public agency seems to have very limited liability.

#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted June 07 2007 - 06:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm R
You might also want to make sure that none of the items sprayed were in the city's right-of-way along the street. In most towns, it's my understanding that the town technically owns so many feet on both sides of the centerline of the roadway. Usually this overlaps quite a way into most people's yards that run right up to the sidewalk/road (i.e. part of their yard is on city property, upon which the city can do whatever it wants).

Though if the city itself hasn't presented this issue in its defense, it may not apply in your area.
Actually he did mention this but still offered to replace the pool and the vegetables & (if we wished) the honeysuckle lining our back fence...I appreciate the offer to replace anything lost in this mess but it still doesn't relieve me of the worry that these people can spray such toxic junk around heavily populated areas without any notice whatsoever...he also let that little fact be known.

Mind you I'm not some militant wanting to blow up city hall or anything but it does bother me that these tax funded "public utilities" operate under such relative anonymity (well...more so than we want these services to be anyway).
-Kevin M.

There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
- Roger Ebert
 

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   LewB

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Posted June 07 2007 - 07:07 AM

Quote:
I appreciate the offer to replace anything lost in this mess but it still doesn't relieve me of the worry that these people can spray such toxic junk around heavily populated areas without any notice whatsoever...
In my area, anytime someone has their lawn treated by a lawn service (with insecticide, I believe), they place yellow signs on the treated area to alert people.

#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted June 08 2007 - 03:39 AM

Well, I don't know why I was so worried about the stuff...here's how the company that manufactures "Stomp-Out 98" describes it:
Quote:
Stomp-Out 98

This Oil based liquid herbicide is a ready to use non-selective total kill vegetation killer and soil sterilant , can eliminate growth for multiple seasons.

Harmful or fatal if swallowed or absorbed through skin.
You know....the words "Soil Sterilant" & "multiple seasons" bother me....don't know why.
-Kevin M.

There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
- Roger Ebert
 

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted June 08 2007 - 04:41 AM

> This Oil based liquid herbicide is a ready to use non-selective total kill vegetation killer and soil sterilant , can eliminate growth for multiple seasons.

So you're saying I shouldn't spray that on my garden?


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