City to step up its

City to step up its code enforcement

by Jason Dietrich

The Redondo Beach City Council tacked a second code enforcement officer onto the 2002 city budget before giving the $77million financial plan the green light on Tuesday.

The expansion of the code enforcement team, which examines existing structure for compliance with the building code, fulfills a campaign promise made by District 4 Councilman Kurt Schmalz who added the $91,000 item to the back of the city budget.

"The city is basically losing control of its ability to enforce its own regulations because we don’t enforce them," Schmalz said.

The council voted 3-2 to approve the amended budget with councilmen Gerard Bisignano and Kevin Sullivan dissenting.

City Manager Lou Garcia said he didn’t recommend a second code enforcement officer because he fears the city may be forced to make cuts in the coming year if the local economy continues to slow. Bisignano, perhaps the council’s most fiscally conservative member, said he opposed adding the extra expense to this year’s budget but would consider adding a second officer during next year’s budgeting process.

Sullivan said he couldn’t support adding more code enforcement without taking a close look at the policies for enforcing the building code. Sullivan called the current standards of enforcement capricious, and said they enabled neighbors and contractors to blackmail each other.

"The way it is now, it’s don’t ask, don’t tell, but if we find out about it we’ll come down on you with a lead hammer," Sullivan said.

Direction was given to city staff to review the code-enforcement policy for new and existing buildings and bring it back before the council.

In other news…

After a late-evening phone call from a city engineer who said that Manhattan Beach had decided to take down its recently-erected barrier blocking Robinson Street, Redondo’s council decided not to follow through with either of its plans to reroute traffic around Manhattan’s barricade. More information... ER