The Daily Bulletin informs me that a judge has ordered Pomona to pay five families a total of $5.8 million to compensate them for damages due to a landslide below their houses. I tried to find more details, but found only a single article describing the start of the suit.
I'm sure that there are a whole bunch of details missing here, and I'd welcome clarification or a bit more history. But in the absence of clarification, my rant:
How on earth is it that the owner of a great big empty hillside (empty, because it can't be built upon due to fear of landslides) is responsible for maintaining the hillside so it doesn't slide or endanger the millions of dollars worth of real estate perched above the hillside!? Call me crazy, but I'd assume that the folks on top of the hill would have a strong interest in maintaining the integrity of the hillside, rather than the folks who own the (relatively) worthless hillside land. Especially when the folks on top picked the hillside location due to the great views.
I'm sure that there's lots and lots of history here, and that something funky went on with the original developer, but I'm still kind of flummoxed here. I mean, my experience is that when the city suggests that someone not build due to these sorts of dangers, the developers threaten to sue, and start talking about how they have every right to build on their private property. It doesn't seem fair to sue because you can't build, then sue because you shouldn't have been allowed to build (not to imply that this happened here).
What's next, the folks in Iowa who are flooded out suing the folks upstream for not soaking up more of the rain before it hit the river? Who should I sue when my house gets destroyed by an earthquake? Perhaps those folks out in Hawaii who are obviously pushing the Pacific plate our way!?
Again, I realize that there is probably some more history here that makes this whole lawsuit at least slightly more reasonable, but it still seems kinda sucky for the city to have to pay up for folks who seem to have failed to do their due diligence, and expect the rest of us to pay for it.