Tuesday, April 14, 2009


So yesterday I'm down at the city processing a couple final clearances to get the tract map recorded. I'm at B permits, a department that is notoriously bureaucratic, looking for a clearance for the removal of any existing street trees. The great thing is that there were no street trees so this should be painless. 
First he tells me there is a street tree that will cost $1500 to remove. I show him a picture of the site when I bought it with no trees. He shows me a CAD drawing with a tree on it and says clearly there was one. OK so assume there's a tree there and I've never seen it and I pay $1500 to remove the imaginary tree and plant another one somewhere then am I cleared?
He asks if I've gotten a $39,000 bond for the construction of a street light. He was surprised when I answered yes. I told him I would love to know how this is related to removing imaginary trees and he says, "Welcome to B permits."
I jump through a couple more hoops and we're actually moving forward when he starts to print  a file and the printer runs out of paper. This is where it gets interesting. Instead of getting more paper he actually tells me to come back the next day! WTF! I've been talking to this guy for an hour at this point and he can't get more paper. Then he actually tells me that's why he loves working at the city: no responsibility! I'm looking for Steve Carell at this point because the only other place I've witnessed this level of incompetency is on The Office. Luckily a fellow employee who has a minimal level of competency tries to print a couple minutes later, realizes there's no paper and goes and gets some. With the printer now working he gives me a form to take to another department that says I have been authorized by B permits to remove the tree. There is no tree.