Taking Woodland Hills leaders to task

As a “Birthday Boy,” the 13-year-old scooted into his parents' bedroom to get a “good morning” hug.

“Come on in,” was his dad’s response. “Let’s talk a minute about the things you want to do on your special day today." The boy sat on the edge of the bed as tears welled up in his eyes he said, “Dad, I just want to spend as much time as we can away from Woodland Hills.”

Pretty unusual birthday response, right? Well, not so much when you consider that boy’s family has been in a legal battle with their city, Woodland Hills, in an attempt to preserve the safety of their home for over 18 months. It seems that city officials have allowed the building of an unusual home on a steep slope immediately above the family's home. Though the family contacted the builder in an attempt to discuss the situation long before construction had begun and before permits were issued, they were ignored by the builder and the city. Thus began an ongoing problem to which the city has repeatedly turned a blind eye.

In fact, the city appears to have attempted to change city law that the city violated, ignoring illegal and unsafe construction uncovered in multiple professional engineering reports submitted to the city, and refusing to discuss the issues with this family. Much more could be said about the matter but suffice it to say that when a family is ignored, endangered and persecuted to the extent that their children (who are vivacious, smart and tough cookies) want to stay away from home, Woodland Hills city leaders should hang their heads in shame! Unfortunately given that these city leaders appear to be demonstrably devoid of conscience and blinded by political ambition, one can only expect that this expressed opinion may produce more coverup by the city and an increased whisper campaign against this family by the city leaders. What a shame.

-- Irene Bell, Provo

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