Barking Dogs & Erasing Riggy's Shadow
Well, my friends, if you've got a neighbor who has a pooch that makes too much noise for you that problem is about to be solved. The Costa Mesa City Council, at it's meeting on Tuesday, August 19th, will have the second reading and probable adoption of a new "Barking Dog" ordinance - one with real teeth in it. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one).
EVALUATING THE COUNTY ORDINANCE
This subject has been under evaluation for months, ever since several residents complained about dogs in their neighborhoods that barked incessantly. At the time the County of Orange had just implemented an ordinance to address this kind of situation, so the council decided to ride it out for awhile, to see how the county ordinance worked out. I guess they are now satisfied that it works.
NEW COSTA MESA ORDINANCE HAS "TEETH"!
The new ordinance, which is modeled after the Orange County ordinance, defines what constitutes a "Barking Dog" and includes a fine schedule that is sure to get your attention. Depending on which alternative fine schedule the council chooses Tuesday evening, it will be possible for a police officer or animal control officer to levy a fine of $250 for the first offense and includes a sliding schedule up to over $400 for the sixth and subsequent offenses! Or, they might choose the alternative presentation, which starts at $100 for the first offense and jumps in two steps to $500! Yikes!! I guess the City Council has found a way to balance the budget after all!
JUST A LITTLE EXTREME!
The new ordinance adds language to Title 3 of the Costa Mesa Municipal Code by adding Section 3-8 to Chapter 1. The first part is reproduced here for your reading pleasure. I highlighted one section that may give you some apprehension, even if the remainder doesn't.
“Barking dog” means a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any noise audible beyond the boundaries of the property on which the dog is situated for an extended period of time to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the dog is physically situated in or upon private property. Such extended period of time shall consist of incessant barking, baying, crying, howling or making of any noise for thirty (30) minutes or more in any twenty-four-hour period, or intermittent barking, baying, crying, howling or making any noise for sixty (60) minutes or more during any twenty-four-hour period. A dog shall not be deemed a "barking dog" for purposes of this article if, at any time the dog is barking, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the dog is situated, or when the dog is being teased or provoked.
The remainder of the proposed ordinance can be viewed on the agenda for Tuesday's council meeting. Just click HERE, then select the agenda item for 8/19/08
TELL THE COUNCIL WHAT YOU THINK
Tuesday is your last chance to address this issue. If you have a noisy pooch, or if you have a grumpy neighbor who thinks you have a noisy pooch, perhaps you should let the council know how you feel on this issue. If you're concerned about this new ordinance you can communicate with the city council at the following email address: CAgenda@ci.costa-mesa.ca.us.
RIGGY SETS ME STRAIGHT, SO TO SPEAK
Before I forget, I recently received a telephone call from Jim Righeimer, wanting to set me straight on the "bankruptcy" issue.
RUMORS AND INNUENDO
In a blog entry recently I said, when referring to Righeimer, "Despite his recent pontifications about fiscal frugality, rumors of bankruptcy in his past continue to shadow him". That statement, as far as it went, was true... rumors of bankruptcy do continue to shadow him.
Riggy clarified the issue, though, and following our conversation I dug deeper into this subject. It seems Riggy, like many developers in the disastrous 1980s, got into big financial trouble. However, instead of simply filing for bankruptcy and letting others carry the debt, Riggy sold off properties, including his home, to pay off every debt. It took him nine years. He feels the rumors were generated by folks unhappy with his sponsorship of Proposition 226, which would have given union members the right to decide whether they wanted any part of their dues to go to political activities.
I asked Riggy point blank if he had EVER filed for bankruptcy. His answer was an emphatic NO! Unless some skeleton comes flying out of a closet to re-kindle this issue, I'm satisfied with his explanation and will no longer mention it.
DON'T TAP THE RESERVE!
This doesn't mean I agree with his ideas for balancing our budget, though. Tapping the emergency reserve, as he has recently suggested, is a truly bad idea and I'm disappointed that he and Allan Mansoor even consider doing it.