September 8, 2008
Antioch Needs to Getter the Word Out About Ordinances
By Barbara Zivica
Antioch Mayor Don Freitas, backed by Councilman Brian Kalinowski, was right to disagree with the Antioch Council's decision to extend the registration deadline for owners of RVs parked on Antioch property. Those RVers have until 5 p.m. today to verify their DMV registration with the city and pay a one-time registration fee of $25. Freitas called the decision precedent-setting and said it would affect future issues that Council passes ordinances on.The problem is not just that enforcement is complaint-driven, but in today's society people don't seem to give a darn about rules, respect or anyone or anything other than themselves. When you venture out on the roadways you're in peril of speeders, drivers who illegally cut in front of you or throw their trash out the window onto the roadway. Twice recently I've seen drivers on Lone Tree refusing to give way to emergency vehicles. Banning drivers from using hand-held cell phones was only partially successful because many divert their attention from the wheel to text or park illegally on the shoulder of the highway to answer their cell phone.
What really got me irate lately were neighbors shooting off various types of fireworks and rockets on the Fourth of July. The commotion went on until 1:30 a.m. with the involved parties ignoring that fireworks are illegal in Contra Costa County and the city of Antioch! Yes, I did call the police who did a drive-by but that didn't resolve the problem. What Antioch needs is an ordinance in regard to fireworks with some teeth in it.
In other words, Council should adopt an ordinance that calls for the Police Department to issue a citation with a hefty fine; Carson City and Pacifica impose fines of up to $1,000. Although enforcement would be complaint-driven, the five-figure fine probably would be sufficient to stop most of the repeat offenders. I only hope Council drafts and adopts such an ordinance before New Year's Eve when it will again be a fire zone in my neighborhood.
I'd also like to propose that Council direct the city manager to utilize The Antioch Citygram newsletter, which is inserted into city of Antioch water bills, to publicize city ordinances so no resident or special interest group, like whiney RV owners, can plead ignorance of the law. In addition to introducing new ordinances, it's the ideal forum for introducing newcomers to existing city ordinances such as the under age 18 curfew, the noise ordinance and the need for owners of property on city corners to trim bushes that hinder a driver's vision. Specific ordinances should be highlighted every year at the appropriate time e.g. fireworks and the Fourth of July.
Additionally, it's time the city revise its "useful" telephone number list on the front of the Citygram to include a phone number for the Residential Rental Inspection program. In fact, I'll go one step further and request that the city furnish an e-mail address for the Residential Rental Inspection program and other departments such as Abandoned Autos and Neighborhood Improvement, which require that the caller furnish specific information in regard to the property, vehicles and RVs about which he/she is complaining. This would make it a lot simpler for the complainant and create a record for Council to ascertain how effectively these programs are being run.
Barbara Zivica is a longtime resident of Antioch and a local government watchdog. You can e-mail her at BZ2@att.net. The opinions in this column are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the newspaper.
Originally published by Barbara Zivica , Columnist.
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