A Compton couple fixed neighborhood potholes. The city has ordered them to stop

It started with a popped tire.

Daisy De La Rosa, 29, was pulling into the driveway of her Compton home when her tire hit the edge of a pothole and popped. It was just the latest time she had to fix her car because of a pothole.

She and her husband, Alex De La Rosa, 35, took quick action to fix the hole so they could get back to working as independently contracted couriers who depend on their vehicle for deliveries.

While the couple waited for the tire to be fixed, Alex watched YouTube videos on how to fill a pothole.

Rather than ask the city to repair the deteriorating streets, they decided to act.

With a newly installed tire, the couple drove to Home Depot, bought $400 worth of supplies and repaired not only the pothole in front of their home but four others on the street.

Several neighbors, appreciating the couple's work, requested their services. But the city of Compton was not happy.

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The city issued a cease-and-desist letter dated March 14, demanding that the couple stop "unauthorized repairs to public roadways."

"Your actions have raised serious concerns as they [pose] a threat to public safety and the integrity of our city's infrastructure. It is imperative that all maintenance and repair work on public roadways be conducted in accordance with established regulations and procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors," the letter states.

The couple said they were fed up with paying for car repairs caused by holes and are disappointed in the city's reaction. Daisy said she wanted to invest in her hometown and felt the city wasn't doing enough to repair the roads in her community.

"[The city] is upset with us because we basically embarrassed them," Daisy said.

A Compton city representative could not be reached for comment.

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In a statement to ABC7, the city said it has set aside money for road repairs, but its Public Works Department is "critically understaffed, and efforts are underway to recruit the vacant positions." Despite the shortages, the street division team is actively working to fill potholes, the city said.

Compton residents can report the location of a pothole through the city's official app.

According to the cease-and-desist letter, the couple could face fines, penalties and "potential liability for damages" for their work. But the threat hasn't stopped them; Daisy said they're filling holes between deliveries or after work, thanks to support from their community.

When they started getting messages of support, Daisy set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for bags of asphalt. The initial goal was $1,000, but as of March 29, they'd collected $1,255.

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In addition to the funding, more than 150 supporters have signed an online petition to endorse the couple and their work in Compton. Two companies, Road Soup and American Road Patch, have donated supplies and come out to see the couple at work.

This isn't the first time someone has sidestepped the local government office to maintain a road.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was spotted last April shoveling asphalt repair mix into a hole on a Brentwood street. He closed two holes — although one was not a pothole but a service trench for gas line repairs.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.