State, Federal Inspectors Wrap Up Flood Damage Tours in San Jose

Now city and county officials await word on how much relief funds will be made available for victims

State and federal inspectors on Wednesday wrapped up their tours of the hardest-hit flood areas in San Jose and will now send their findings to the governor to see how much emergency funding, if any, will be doled out.

The latest tour took inspectors through the mobile home parks that were flooded after Coyote Creek crested last month. Next comes a public hearing Thursday that could change victims' emotional gears quickly.

City officials met with residents at the Golden Wheel Park on Wednesday evening after state inspectors finished examining damage earlier.

As officials from the city, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Santa Clara County play the waiting game on state and federal relief funds, tough questions about compensation and accountability are expected.

"In the aftermath of a disaster like this, there's never enough dollars to go around to help those who need to get back on their feet," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. "But there's always more than enough blame to go around."

The dispute between the city and water district centers on who is to blame for not providing sufficient advance warning about the flooding.

As NBC Bay Area reported previously, emails between the two agencies indicated the water district may have miscalculated and possibly misinformed San Jose about the amount of water Coyote Creek could handle.

But documents obtained by NBC Bay Area showed the water district alerted San Jose to the dangers well before the flood.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara County was unhappy that the city seemed to criticize its alert system, and on Wednesday, Deputy County Executive Garry Herceg told NBC Bay Area when all the entities were given information about a possible flood, the county was the one that took action.

"They were all on the same calls as us, and we chose to go this route, to notify residents and protect the individuals in the creek," Herceg said.

Indeed, some residents have questioned why the county evacuated a neighborhood and other facilities along Coyote Creek when the city didn't do the same for them.

Those questions are expected to be among many raised at Thursday's hearing.

Contact Us