The president of Glendale's teachers union, Tami Carlson, wants the city to pay $13,800 to fix a garden wall at her home that she claims crumbled to the ground due to a leaky fire hydrant.
Carlson found herself in the spotlight in October when she refused to sign a federal grant application that could have funneled $40 million over four years to Glendale Unified because district officials refused to promise not to lay off teachers next school year.
About two weeks before Carlson — along with union leaders at other districts across the state — refused to sign off on the application, citing concerns about federal requirements attached to the money, she came home to find the wall separating her and her neighbor's property broken.
About a month later, she filed the $13,800 claim with the city, which is still being reviewed.
Carlson said she was shocked when she saw the broken wall after coming home from work that day. She said the wall prevents people from falling a couple of feet onto the neighbor's front yard since her La Crescenta home is built on a slope.
“It's pretty steep,” she said by phone Monday, adding that she wanted to fix the wall as quickly as possible because her grandson lives with her.
City spokesman Tom Lorenz said the city attorney's office is reviewing the claim and won't provide more details until a decision is made on how to respond.
Carlson said she expects the city to pay up because she doesn't see how officials could deny her claim.
“All the dirt was completely wet,” she said, adding that she had several contractors look at the wall and determine that a leak caused the damage.
Weeks before the wall broke, her neighbor had called complaining about the fire hydrant, but city officials didn't respond, Carlson said. After that, Carlson saw city crews working in the area near the hydrant before the wall fell down.
Carlson said she selected a contractor who estimated the project would cost $13,800. Work is slated to start next week.
“I want it done right,” she said. “I never want this to happen again.”