Contra Costa County office building is weedy and seedy

Lord knows, Contra Costa County is short on cash like every other public agency but the state of the landscaping at its offices on Arnold Drive in Martinez is disgraceful.

The grass is dead. Weeds abound. Shrubs and trees are dying. When I drove through the parking lot other evening after a county worker called and complained about it, the grounds were downright ghetto. (See pictures below.)

If my yard in Martinez resembled this one, the city would be on my doorstep and rightfully demanding I clean it up.

Public Works Director Julie Bueren says the original private building owner installed way too much lawn and when budget constraints hit the county a few years ago along with water useage standards imposed by the Contra Costa Water District, the county stopped watering the grass.

“When funding allows, the plan is to re-landscape some of these areas with drought resistant plants and landscape materials that will be less costly to maintain,” Bueren wrote to me in an email.

OK, I get the grass part. It uses a lot of water. At the very least, though, the county could put down some mulch. Replacing existing landscaping with drought resistant plants and shrubs over time is a good idea, too.

But to let those valuable trees and large shrubs die in the interim seems like a terrible waste.

As for the weeds, Bueren says abatement is scheduled for next week.  Thank goodness. Dry vegetation is a fire hazard and the fire district that protects this area has its own financial problems.




Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Johnnie Ballgame

    Make the obscenely overpaid county employees and pensioners clean the eye sore. It’s their fault that there is no money left to clean the eye sore. Those greedy public parasites ruined the county.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Plenty of criminals being housed in the county jails and no reason that they can’t be used to keep the landscaping looking at least halfway decent!!

  • rew

    According to the Contra Costa Times public salary database Public Works Director Julie Bureen has a pay package the runs the taxpayers $275,000 annually. You think with that kind of gargantuan pay package she could figure out how to keep lawns mowed and planter boxes weeded. What I hear out of her in this article is a bunch of excuses, the most laughable one being the builder just went hog wild on shrubbery. It’s the builders fault – not mine – he had a green thumb! This seems to be what she is saying. I think she needs to consult a press flack before blabbing away to reporters in the future. Actually, these pictures are so bad I think maybe the Board of Supervisors ought to zone in on her whole department. What kind of job is this lady doing as Public Works Director, are the taxpayers getting $275,000 worth of work out of Bureen? Nice scoop by Lisd V.

  • Doing the Job

    This is nothing new. The County never maintains the exterior of buildings. Any plants that require attention always are neglected. Over time the County’s gardeners will purposefully hack plants so they die. Then replace with bark. I have watched this happen over and over again. I think of more concern to the residents of Contra Costa County is that a county building has remained vacant for at least 5 months. Check out 40 Muir Road in Martinez. The County invested $12 million into the renovation of 30 and 40 Muir Road. 30 Muir Road is occupied by the Department of Conservation and Development. However, 40 Muir Road remains vacant. One would think if you spend that kind of money you would have someone ready to move in?