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'Abandoned and Forgotten'

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Over three months ago, the most devastating earthquake I have ever felt as a lifelong resident hit Rio Dell on Dec. 20, and again on Jan. 1 ("High Intensity," Jan. 26). The damage was shocking, my home and cars sustained more than $30,000 worth of damage. My chimney was broken, garage doors shattered, gas stove broken, both of my cars were damaged, one with a 3-inch hole knocked in the roof. There was more damage than I can speak of. My neighbors fared worse than I. Sen. McGuire pledged $3 million from the state, and the county pledged $1 million to help repair homes that were red and yellow tagged.

I was able to secure an SBA loan for $14,000, but it's not enough. I and my neighbors have yet to see any of the money to repair the damage to our homes. I have called county and state representatives, yet nothing happens. I have filled out forms and had my home inspected, but still, no funds. This earthquake was the third most powerful earthquake to hit California, and if it had hit SF, LA, or Sacramento, it would have been a national disaster, and FEMA would have been activated, along with funds.

Instead it centered on Rio Dell, a rural town of 3,000 residents. We did not qualify for FEMA, even though virtually every home here was damaged! How is it that our state can give illegal immigrants housing, food stamps, medical care and prescriptions and not help us? We are law-abiding citizens. We pay our taxes. Where is our help? Maybe we should identify as illegal immigrant Ukrainians, then they would shovel money at us as fast as they can print it. People I talk to feel abandoned and forgotten. Drive down some of our streets and see the damage for yourself! To our elected representatives, please help us.

Omberto Silva, Rio Dell


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