NORTHRIDGE (CBS) — Robabeh Nakhost, who’s in her 80s and suffers from back, hip, and foot problems, needs a wheelchair to get around.

But there is no getting around the obvious. The sidewalks near and in front of her Northridge home are so buckled, people on foot can’t even walk on them. Dave Bryan, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, said the sidewalks don’t say much for city maintenance.

For their part, the city says they can’t afford to fix the sidewalks. When the Nakhosts asked, they got a form letter.

The resident’s here can’t afford the repair bill either. Many of them are financially-challenged and on fixed incomes. Nakhost feels trapped in her own home.

Sometimes, a family friend —  Reza Helali — helps push her wheelchair across the dangerous gaping segment of twisted, broken sidewalk. They might as well be climbing a steep cliff in the high Sierra. Says Nakhost, “It’s hard for me. It’s a very bad situation for me.”

The spreading root system of a pine tree in front of her home has pushed the sidewalk nearly two feet high at its peak, creating a hazard for anyone trying to walk, ride a bike, or skateboard across it. For Ms. Nakhost, it’s impassible on foot.

For her husband,  also in his 80s — can no longer push her up the steep sidewalk.

Family friend Reza Helali, a former TV news anchorman in Iran, brought the issue to the media. “It’s a shame, for the United States — for Los Angeles County.”

A letter from the City informed the Nakhosts that the 700,000 trees in LA can be trimmed only once every 50 years becuase of budget limitations. It goes on to say there are about 50,000 service requests a year, and they would have to wait their turn — which she says she and her husband might not live long enough to ever see. “I have to be in line? Fifty years?”

The elderly couple investigated paying for the tree and sidewalk repairs themselves but got estimates ranging from $5-7,000 , money the Nakhosts, who are retired and living on a fixed income say they don’t have.

They question what their taxes are going for.

Helali issued a challenge to the Mayor and city officials–offering a prize if they come out and are able to walk across the busted sidewalk themselves. He said, “I invite Mr. Villaraigosa, and all the city people, one day, only one day, they come here and walk in this pathway. And if they can walk it, I give them a prize.”

This is not an isolated incident. The City acknowledges that nearly half the 11,000 miles of sidewalk in LA are badly in need of repair–broken, cracked, and in some cases impassible.

As Reza Helali puts it–the Nakhosts are not alone “This is not a problem for Mrs. Nakhost, and Mr. Nakhost and me and my daughters. This is a public problem.”

Bryan reports, the city believes they are saving money — now. But this is before lawsuits mount with injuries from disabled people, young kids, anyone who falls, in the long run the city might pay a much steeper price.

Comments (9)
  1. brian says:

    GIVE ME A BREAK!! I watched this story on CBS2. This couple had almost no problem getting over the bump. I would bet 90% of the people in the world would trade places with you. You live in a nice place with a nice tree to marvel at. STOP COMPLAINING1 If your curb didnt have a bump, you’d complain about a bump in the road.

  2. Brian says:

    The only shame is that they are complaining about something so trivial. I watched the story, and she got over the bump just fine. To have these Iranians whining about how lame the US because of a bump in the sidewalk is pathetic. Go to Iran and tell the Ayatollah and see how Sharia law works for you.

  3. k says:

    This is on San Fernando Mission, drove past that news van tonight. The sidewalks have been like this as long as I can remember; more than 20 years. Like always, the news shows some extreme example of an uprooted sidewalk, but proportionally there is much more typical sidewalk as compared to grossly uprooted sidewalk. Unless you have a severe balancing issue, you shouldn’t be falling. The big issue here isn’t the sidewalk damage. I think the roots messing with the plumbing systems in these houses is a bit more concerning.

    1. Terry Bennington says:

      So people with balance issues are the only ones affected? Those on crutches, those who use canes, and those who are blind or visually impaired wouldn’t have an issue, right? You are aware that walking with a cane requires training and practice? And of course, you knew that a simple curb cut for wheelchairs can cause big issues for those visually impaired people using canes – not to mention uneven or broken sidewalks – prior to presenting the world with your thesis, didn’t you? You’ve thought of everything, huh?

  4. John says:

    Wait, she’s complaining because of the damage HER OWN TREE did to the sidewalk? Get over yourself, lady.

    1. ginny says:

      The tree causing the problem is one that was planted by the City of LA. The strip of land from the sidewalk out to the street is not the homeowners land, and if they had the tree removed, or the roots cut and the tree died the City would bill them for that damage. It happened to us about 6 years ago, we paid to have the sidewalk repaired but to do that the tree had to go. We got all of the required City permits. When it was all done, not only did we pay the cost of the repair/tree removal, we then got hit with a big fat fine and costs from the City.

  5. jim says:

    good grief, the tea baggers prevent us from maintaining side walks now because thats a form of socialism to them. they’re so antiamerican and anti-middle class its crazy…they have to go in order to help people like Robabeh get back to living a middle class life.

  6. Bruiser says:

    What’s funny to me that someone can turn this story into something they can turn against the Tea Party??? Really??? R U Serious??? What a joke. Well Mayor??? do you have an answer??? The bottom line is this, the city fathers years ago planted to big a tree for a to small a park way!!! Guess what the city is liable. We have all these people out of work and the Socialist Democrats that run this Nation, this State, this County, and this City can’t figure these simple answers to simple problems??? The last paragraph sums it up, wait for the lawsuits to fly and guess what the problem will get fixed ASAP!!!

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