Smell of a Land Grab
In My Own Words
By James Marquiss
Note: This letter was sent by James Marquiss … Station Fire victim … to Millie Jones in LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office.
My name is James Marquiss, I am a victim of the recent Station fire (I lost my house and everything I owned).
My previous address was 2320 Stonyvale Rd. (Which is privately owned land in the Vogel Flats community)
I noticed that Edison was not replacing the power lines to my property and so I stopped in to the command center and spoke with the service planner and the regional manager who told me that the forest Service was not allowing them to re-institute power to certain areas.
I told them that this was a misunderstanding as it privately owned land and the Forest Service has no jurisdiction there. To which they responded something on the order of “we have to do what they tell us”.
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September 16, 2009 | 7:00 am
State authorities will be fanning out this morning across areas charred by the huge Station fire, posting warning signs to alert homeowners about illegal contractors.
Investigators with the fraud team of the Contractors State License Board will be posting the signs and talking to residents.
“We do everything we can to make sure these homeowners aren’t victimized a second time,” said contractors board Registrar Steve Sands.
The agency offers advice on its Web page to help protect consumers from being victimized by unlicensed contractors:
— Robert J. Lopez
Contractors State License Board
Web site: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) protects consumers by licensing and regulating California’s construction industry. There are more than 316,000 licensed contractors in the state, in 43 different licensing classifications. In addition to educating consumers about contractors and construction law, CSLB activities include administering examinations to test prospective licensees, issuing licenses, investigating complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors, issuing citations, suspending or revoking licenses, and seeking administrative, criminal, and civil sanctions against violators. In FY 2007/08 CSLB obtained more than $35.2 million in ordered restitution for consumers.On this Web site you can find educational materials about hiring contractors and the construction process. You can also check the status of a contractor’s license, find other important Contractors License Law information and file a complaint.
LA County Consumer Affairs (Contractor Fraud)
Inside LA County: 1(800) 593-8222
Outside the County: (213) 974-1452
Web site: http://dca.lacounty.gov/
Better Business Bureau:
Phone: (909) 825-7280
Web site: http://www.la.bbb.org/Home.aspx
Unfortunately natural disasters sometimes bring out the worst in some people – people who take advantage of those who have already been hard hit by flood damage to their homes by inflating prices for materials and repair services and providing substandard workmanship. When considering hiring any particular contractor, be sure to get and check references from them get a written contract specifying a price and start and end time for the work, and make no payment until after work is completed. If you have any doubts about a specific contractor or believe that you have been the victim of fraudulent business practices by a contractor, contact your county Department of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau for assistance.