I recall a City Council race when city vs homeowner maintenance of sidwalks was one candidate's hot button issue. While the issue simmered down to nothing after the election, this Daily Journal piece got me thinking when it reports
Half Moon Bay, along with many cities in San Mateo County, have passed ordinances requiring property owners to maintain public sidewalks adjacent to their property. Half Moon Bay resident Lisa Kramer said she learned of this law the hard way. Five months after purchasing a home in 2012, a woman walking in front of Kramer’s home tripped on the sidewalk, suffered facial lacerations and incurred $15,000 in related medical expenses, Kramer said. To Kramer’s surprise, she became the target in a potential $350,000 lawsuit.
The article goes on to note that B'game has a similar ordinance. Really? We will be following this one on the Voice since if a homeowner can be held liable for trips and falls on his or her sidewalk, shouldn't he or she also be able to fence off their bit of sidewalk and keep "trespassers" out? But perhaps that reaction is too logical? This sounds like a lawyer's dream. I believe the city sometimes pays out large sums to avoid larger sums in court. It's time for a serious cleansing of the judges' benches if this continues. I would also bet the type of webcam pointed at the sidewalk in front of one's house (like the one that caught a local personality stealing campaign signs leading to a fine for him) will get more popular. That might be a good unintended consequence!