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[whitespace] Chew clears lot, makes July 20 deadline

Campbell--After working around the clock for two weeks, Winston Chew is a tired but happy man. He met the July 20 deadline set by the City Council on July 6 to clear his Campbell lot. Campbell code-enforcement officer Patti Petruzzelli inspected the lot on July 21 and found it satisfactory.

"I feel good," said Chew, who suffers from a compulsion called hoarding, which manifests itself in the obsessive collection of useless items. "I am relaxed. The pressure has been removed. I paid my share of sweat."

Chew's quarter-acre backyard had been covered in various materials, including toys that once belonged to his children, construction and fencing materials, cars and pipes. Now everything is gone, save for two metal sheds and a number of family heirlooms stored beneath a blue tarp on the San Jose side of his property. (Chew's home is in San Jose; his lot is in Campbell.)

Chew filled two Dumpsters, but the cost of renting the receptacles--roughly $400 to $500 apiece--has depleted his and his wife's funds.

"I'm flat broke, but San Jose Recycling will extend me a credit for another Dumpster," said Chew, a retired Santa Clara County building inspector who now works in construction.

Chew must still clean up for San Jose, which ordered an abatement on May 21.
Genevieve Roja

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Web extra to the July 29-August 4, 1999 issue of Metro.

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