Code enforcement, sidewalk skateboard concerns brought to City

September 12, 2003
Santa Paula City Council

Lack of code enforcement for a dilapidated property and dodging skateboards and bicycles on sidewalks dominated public comment at the Sept. 2 meeting of the City Council.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesLack of code enforcement for a dilapidated property and dodging skateboards and bicycles on sidewalks dominated public comment at the Sept. 2 meeting of the City Council.Bob Orlando said he and his wife moved to Santa Paula about five years ago drawn by the quiet ambiance of the city and its historic properties.They soon found that the historic home they purchased and renovated is but now worry that “what we found is a city that appears to be seeking the lowest common denominator,” of community.Their home is located next to a small apartment unit plagued by graffiti, trash and a general lack of upkeep.Frustrated by lack of correction by the owner and the city, it took six months for graffiti and trash removal, a job that was finally tackled by the neighbors.“This property is not an isolated case,” noted Orlando, and “what the city becomes is what we make it.”Hearing remarks that developing upper-income housing outside the city would create a migration of wealthier homeowners while the city continues to dissipate is troubling, he noted, but if the city does not implement aggressive code enforcement such a scenario is possible, said Orlando.
“We want to stay here and live in Santa Paula; we believe it can be the jewel of the county. . .untie the city’s hands,” in code enforcement matters, Orlando concluded.Bill Mensing told the council that sidewalk skateboarders and bicyclists are a potential menace after he had a narrow escape with the former.Involved in the aviation industry for 60 years, Mensing said that risks are inherent to his job and job safety paramount.But, “Things can happen to me outside as somebody walking down the street,” as his recent experience of almost being hit by a skateboarder proved.“If I had been hit it would have been in the area of my ankles and it would have broken them,” and there is a law on the city books banning skateboarding and bicycles on the sidewalks.“I don’t know if you’ve ever been hit; I don’t want to be. If I couldn’t walk I couldn’t work and it would be a costly thing for somebody. Either the city has to be up on their tipi-toes,” as a serious accident “can cost the city money and some skateboard family a lot of money.”City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz confirmed that such a law exists.



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