Q I have a pretty sizeable crack on my front sidewalk. I realize that I'm responsible for fixing this.

I've been trying for a couple months to get permits from the city of San Jose to get the process started to fix this. Unfortunately, they don't return phone calls, and even when I make contact and ask them to send out permits, they don't bother to ever send them out.

M. McDonough

San Jose

A Looks like there is more work than people available, M.

Here's what Alex Mordwinow, the maintenance manager for the city's Department of Transportation reported:

"We received Mr. McDonough's original call August 29 when he left a voicemail requesting a sidewalk inspection and a tree pruning permit for his property.

"Unfortunately, Mr. McDonough did not leave a phone number on the message for a return call. The city did, however, process his request, and we mailed him a tree pruning permit on September 13.

"The case has been assigned to an inspector, and we anticipate that the inspection will be completed within the week.

Q There is a large eucalyptus tree that is on city property but overhangs over my backyard.

We've always had smaller branches falling (maybe 2-4 feet long), nothing huge but more of a nuisance. However, near the end of 2011 a larger branch, around 15 feet, came crashing down and landed in my backyard, then one 30-40 feet long. It took out half my orange tree.

I emailed the city to get an update on the pruning, but no response. I tried calling the city; the lady who answered barely let me talk and very quickly said that the tree is my responsibility and hung up the phone. Then a few days later I get an application for a permit to remove a tree. More branches are falling.

Eddie Youn

San Jose

A Of course, there is no excuse for rudeness,

The city is getting a contractor to trim the tree so that the branches do not fall on your property.

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