News-Press Editorial: Outcome is a lesson on home improvement

Judy Shea, whose home improvement project on Lowell Avenue got completely out of hand, is crying foul again. This time her outcry is related to a judge's decision this week to approve the sale of the property.

Shea will not receive any money out of the deal. But it must be pointed out that nearly no one else will either, except for the contractors who had to put right all of the wrongs created by Shea and her son, Jesse Yzaguirre. In fact, when the dust settles, the city of Glendale may be on the hook for $61,000 in legal fees.

Shea, who points out she's on a fixed income, is retired and disabled, blames a stroke she's suffered in recent years on this fiasco — but the source of her dismay seems displaced. It is not the city, the courts, or the receiver that finally fixed the place that Shea should be upset with. The troubles began the moment several years ago when Yzaguirre decided to start an expansion project on the house without any permits.

It is a true shame that a 68-year-old woman is losing her home and any equity she had in it, but it's hard for us to see how this case could have had any other outcome. Once her house had quadrupled in size and the project came to the attention of City Hall, she belatedly filed incomplete plans. Further, it was discovered there were health and safety code violations at the property as well.

Glendale officials should, and do, take seriously their task of enforcing building codes. Shea's situation should be a cautionary tale to others contemplating home improvement projects: Check with the city first, follow the rules, and avoid Shea's unhappy outcome.

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