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Joseph Diliberti -lived here for 20 years
Local authorities have forced a Vietnam Vet to quite his off-grid home although he is harming no-one and owns the land he lives on.

County officials in the town of Dehesa, East of San Diego,call Joseph Diliberti a scofflaw. But who can respect a law that tries to tell a harmless old man how to live his own life? At the moment, Diliberti can still call his wooded hollow home after officials tried Friday to auction off his rural land because of the back fees and penalties he owes, largely stemming from an unpaid weed-clearing bill. It was a task that Diliberti actively opposed.

The thing was, no one wanted to buy it.

At a public auction in downtown San Diego, county Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister failed to get a nibble when he offered the 3.7-acre parcel for a minimum of $71,100.

He said will try again in May, when his office will hold an online auction of local properties.

The failed sale was the latest twist involving the parcel that has served as Diliberti’s handcrafted, off-the-grid home for more than three decades.

Diliberti, a Vietnam War veteran, built a rounded clay house and other structures on the site, which is lush with vegetation. There’s no indoor plumbing or electricity.

The untamed property hasn’t sat well with some of his neighbors and firefighting officials. In 2004, the San Diego Rural Fire Protection District called in a company to strip the parcel of brush and weeds after the district said Diliberti failed to comply with an order to clear the land.

Diliberti has refused to pay for the weed-clearing. He has said he believes the district treated him unfairly and without proper notice.

One of his supporters, Richard Halsey with the California Chaparral Institute, said Diliberti is resigned to losing the property — if not this week, then soon — and has been looking for a new home.

“He’s just decided he’s going to take the path of peace instead of bitterness,” Halsey said.

According to county officials, the assessed value of the parcel is $91,155.

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