Marine Holds His Ground

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 Joseph Diliberti

This is sort of a “dog bites man” story; but Joseph Diliberti, the Marine in question, is holding off a very large and dangerous dog indeed. A County government as bankrupt as it is corrupt, that wants to seize a man’s home of thirty years for what they claim are unpaid property taxes, is a particularly nasty dog. Its demands are bullshit.

Mutt, Field reporter on recon.

Here’s why…..

I guess I have to start at the beginning, which for Joseph was the hard streets of Brooklyn, NY; the sound of which glides thru every word he speaks.

As was the norm back then, Joseph enlisted as the war against Viet Nam raged. In the Marine Corps, he found a world as tough as Brooklyn’s streets, and he fit right in… until what he saw in Viet Nam repelled him. He vowed at that point to neither war against people, nor be a participant in a society that would glorify such things.

Thirty-odd years ago Joseph found a remote canyon, far from the city. It was a wet, spring fed bit of oasis amidst the desert chaparral. He built a large tree-house where eventually his daughter was born. Over the years, he studied his small corner of the planet, and started building roomy houses out of clay, which he then fired, creating ceramic, fireproof, and indestructible houses which, frankly, astound. He became a “bush vet” and Rastafarian.

Then, about ten years ago, houses started going up around him. To put things into perspective, you have to understand the nature of San Diego county politics. This is a seething Petri dish of tea baggers,, fundamentalist crackpots, merc and militia wannabes, and the kind of political hacks who use these elements to get elected. It has to be seen to be believed.

To them, a guy like Joseph Diliberti, an actual veteran speaking simple truth to the elaborate lies of Empire, is someone to be feared and hated. And to the County who serves these people, another easy victim, someone that is easily pushed around – Big mistake.

Fast forward a few years, the area becomes more populated and we have massive wildfires, for many reasons, not the least of which is the balding of fire resistant native species & the proliferation of invasive weeds, which turn the countryside into a vast firebomb. After the ’03 fires that swept thru the back country, ash fell from the sky like snow for days. Then the usual hysterical response came, which we’ve seen in say, the “Patriot Act”- a really stupid idea, rushed thru the system, so politicians will feel “safe.”

In THIS case, the stupid idea was giving a secretive company, with only a PO Box, a no bid contract to “clear” dangerous weeds, and submit a no oversight bill.

This clearing was to be done based on anonymous “complaints.” The outfit, Fire Prevention Services, determined what was to be cut, where, and how much to charge. They were fired for cause soon after trashing Joseph’s green piece of canyon bottom, AFTER the surrounding area, full of weeds, burned.

The County paid FPS $25,000 with no documentation of what was cut, how much, and where. The San Diego Rural Fire Protection District, under whom this no bid, no oversight contract was awarded, has let out at various times that the work was performed by 1 truck and two people; or 4 people; and for 1, 2, or 3 days – depending on what day it is.

An LA Times story states that “records” shown to the reporter declared 800 cubic yards were removed. That’s about 140 dump truck loads. No dump trucks were ever seen in the area at the time, much less 140. Joseph can’t see these “records” – indeed NO record, but for the bill.

Ever since this assault on Joseph has taken place, the County Tax Assessor has refused to accept Joseph’s actual tax bill, but demanded the entire amount, now with 150% interest – his actual tax payments are in escrow. He will be happy to pay his tax bill tomorrow. But the extortion – No!

Meanwhile, the Vig – well, this is extortion & racketeering so let’s use the right terms – has inflated the original bill to over $65,000! That is nothing short of Mob interest rates, and the County now wishes to steal Joseph’s land to make good the payment THEY made to a corrupt, oft-sued, pack of swindlers. AND along the way, will naturally grab a few bucks for themselves.

What would YOU do?

Well, WE are doing THIS. These are the sort of people who can’t operate in the light of day. YOU are that light! While San Diego County goes under – the county is known world-wide as “Enron by the Sea” – don’t let them make up for THEIR criminal incompetence by seizing Joseph’s home and selling it at auction to be bought by who, the unknown neighbor who sic’d this corrupt company on him in the first place?

The fact these crooks and crackpots are doing it to a Marine combat vet is just frosting on the cake

Richard Halsey, of the Chaparral Institute, is NCOIC this operation. He knows every detail. I’m the squad cherry….

Mutt, VVAW-SD, reporting.

***********************VT Editorial Comment******************************

We asked Mutt to report on this story for us from on site San Diego Country, CA. However in doing the research on this story of a Vietnam Veteran (yes we saw his DD-214) turned Artist, we vetted Joe’s background after Vietnam.

In my opinion, Joe is not your stereotyped Crazed Vietnam Vet hiding in the woods that mainstream media like to do stories on shortly after Vietnam to well show how screwed up we were in the head IN THEIR MINDS those who refused to serve or had other things to do like politics.

Nope, Joe chose to live in what I know to be like the High Dessert of Southern California where lots of ranchers, cattlemen, and even yep right-wing militia men live. However, Joe’s chosen calling was Artist. He is recognized internationally as just that – an artist in Clay.

In my opinion, Joe Diliberti is just as much a successful Vietnam Veteran as any of us who remained on active duty for a career despite opposing the war we fought and served in.

Joseph Diliberti, a distinguished USMC Vietnam veteran, knows how a warrior deals with the horror of war by becoming a renowned Artist. However, his story is especially poignant because San Diego County is planning to take Joseph’s home away from him after July 1, 2010. The county is doing so to obtain payment on an unjust lien placed on Joseph’s property because of a bungled “weed abatement” order. Joseph was never notified about the order nor was he home when the clearance work was done.

Mutt touched on just some of Joe’s work that well amazes and is candy for the eyes. However when I took a closer look at just what Joe was capable of by the artistic creations he could make not only was I inspired to come to this Marine’s aid, I no shit want to go back to California visit Joe and see his work first hand. I’m no art expert, but I know beauty when I see it. Joe has taken his war time horrors and turned them into something beautiful and that folks is a lesson most young Vets now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can take to heart, especially those dealing with PTSD. Take your demons and focus on turning them into something creative and beautiful be it poetry, writing, eduction, politics, music, painting, pottery, well the list goes on.

Ironically, yes their can even be artistry, creation, beauty and humanity in politics, we just haven’t found any yet. It may be up to the next generation of Vets to put it there.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, VT News Network

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Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.