As if finding a job during these trying times wasn't tough enough, the Employment Development Department in Merced has added a new obstacle for job hunters -- a jungle.
Sun-burnt grass stretches skyward, weeds snake through the planters and overgrown branches jet out of shrubbery cloaking the EDD sign on the west wall of the building.
Tipster Kelly Roseman says she drives by the building every day and is fed up.
"If I didn't see people going in and out, I would have thought it was closed," Roseman says. "Do they not care what it looks like? If I worked there I would show up on the weekend and mow the dadgum grass."
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It turns out -- as it usually does when dealing with the state -- that it's not that simple.
Remember the budget stalemate in Sacramento? Remember Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed that puppy 85 days late (a record delay)? If I'm not mistaken, that's about the same amount of time it would take to grow grass tall enough to make a mean hiding place for a game of hide-and-go-seek.
Apparently, the state abides by the motto, "If the budget doesn't pass, we don't cut your grass."
An employee at the office told me she suspects the landscaping hasn't been done since the budget became past due.
EDD spokesman Patrick Joyce couldn't confirm the reason for the lackluster landscaping and said he was unable to contact the site's manager.
My attempts to reach the Merced office manager, Kurt Silva, were unsuccessful.
So for now, the EDD cleanup is on hold, much like our budget.
WHAT'S WRONG: Grass and weeds are overtaking the state-operated Employment Development Department office on 18th Street.
WHO'S INVOLVED: Employment Development Department.
WHAT'S BEING DONE: To this point it's unknown. Officials in Sacramento and in Modesto have been alerted about the situation.