Shopping carts a new top Vallejo code enforcement priority
Posted in the Martinez Forum
#1 Nov 29, 2013
Shopping carts a new top Vallejo code enforcement priority
Vallejo's latest war on blight will target abandoned store shopping carts standing like silent sentinels in front of bus stops, inside homeless encampments and along back alleys.
A city abandoned shopping cart ordinance has been on the books since 2005, and the city Code Enforcement Division has begun tracking complaints to specific stores.
"If it's not becoming a problem for the stores, it's definitely becoming a problem for the community," Code Enforcement Manager Nimat Shakoor-Grantham said Wednesday. "We want to be business-friendly, but we have to think of the community, we have to think of the neighbors, too."
Initially, creation of the ordinance was championed by former City Councilwoman Joanne Schivley, who said in a recent interview that the abandoned boxy silver cages were blooming like mushrooms citywide.
"It's rewarding to see a relatively simple, common sense ordinance being enforced," Schivley said when contacted about the new enforcement. "One area of blight and safety that some of the other trash isn't a problem for is shopping carts rolling out on the streets; being hit and being moved by cars and striking people.
"So, they have a danger to them that plastic bags and large beverage paper containers don't have."
The ordinance makes illegal the removal of a shopping cart from a business' property, at the same time as it makes the business responsible for care of the carts.
Businesses without cart wheel-locking mechanisms were required by the ordinance to submit cart theft prevention plans -- including a mandatory provision to retrieve carts within 24 hours of being notified. Business owners were also required to attach signs with their names and contact numbers to each cart.
Shakoor-Grantham said this is the first time the ordinance had needed to be enforced since its implementation, thanks to a spike in public complaints. Earlier, she said, the issue was a lower department priority, and seemed to draw fewer complaints in past years.
For comparison, Times-Herald reports show that about 135 abandoned cart complaints were made in 2003, and more than 100 in 2005. Just since Oct. 21 of this year, there have been 55 complaints, Shakoor-Grantham said. She did not have comprehensive numbers for the entire year.
"It's amazing how much blight the appearance of an outside shopping cart makes -- it really looks bad," Shakoor-Grantham said. "We probably have to revisit all the plans; we definitely have to make sure all of the store managers are up to date on what their responsibility is."
Although its provisions have not been enforced yet, the ordinance calls for an annual evaluation report from each business. More than three abandoned cart complaints within a six-month period is grounds for a reworking of businesses' plan and could lead to required wheel locks on their carts.
Shakoor-Grantham said complaints have been rolling in from places like the Chamber of Commerce during a tour they recently gave city officials, or Valcore Community Recycling Center, where recyclables are often carted in. Carts lined up at bus stops near grocery stores and shopping plazas are a common location, as well, Shakoor-Grantham said.
#2 Nov 29, 2013
We have dumpsters sitting on the streets. Garbage cans that NEVER get put away and Code Enforcement is worried about how abandoned shopping carts make the city look bad! We have truly gone down the rabbit hole.
#3 Nov 29, 2013
basically, here is another legislative mechanism to put the heat on businesses to clean up after the hordes of lower class bums this city is full of now. a good point is made above. i would prefer the city enforce the existing ordinance to put trash bins off the street. there isn't a street in vallejo that you sight down the line and not see several trash and recycle bins dang near on the sidewalk. too many people in this town just don't care. that is reflected in the voter turnouts of less than 25%. this cannot be fixed, the best one can do is strive to move to another city.
#4 Nov 29, 2013
The city must bully the people who stole the carts in the first place. When someone is seen pushing a cart around town the person must be confronted, the cart must be turned over and it's contents dumped on the street and the cart must be confiscated on the spot. The person who stole the cart at that point can clean up the mess or be escorted out of town. You[the city] can't continue to kiss the asses of the bad guys and expect them to stop stealing on their own, that is the only reason we have city managers.
#5 Nov 29, 2013
WOW! Great posts, but it appears we are all preaching to the choir.
We already have an ordinance on the books, how come it is very rarely to never enforced? 99% of the carts left all over town are identified with the request to call the store and report a sighted cart to them.
But nowhere do I read that people who do remove carts from the store parking lots and leave them willie nillie, will be cited. That is where the cookie really crumbles, not the store who has as far as I am concerned experienced a theft of their property!
So in order to prevent those carts from running off with the customer, we now have a locking system on the cartwheel that will punish a future customer who is trying to secure a shopping cart in the attempt to patronize the business.
Twice, last week I was prevented to enter my local Safeway by a cart whose locking mechanism malfunctioned. While everyone glared at me for obviously trying to make off with the cart, a clerk had to be summonded with a key to unlock the device.
May I suggest a simple solution already in practice in many countries who do not appear to have a wayward cart safety problem!
On the left side of the cart handle bar is a slide affixed (washmachine mechanism at a laundromat comes to mind) that requires a coin to be inserted(1 Euro in Austria) the cart unlocks and is ready to be taken away for shopping. After shopping and once unloaded the cart is returned to the original starting point, pushed forward into the other carts and "bingo" the money is refunded.
No stray carts in the parking lots, neighborhoods or bus stops. If one is independently wealthy many adults as well as children will happily return the cart for you and pocket the Euro.
Leaving garbage cans after pick-up curbside has a lot to do with the pride we do have in our neighborhoods. Simple lazyness and the not caring attitude so prevelent in Vallejo is at the root of this problem....and not getting fined for leaving them all week is the City of Vallejo being remiss in preventing something that is also clearly spelled out in an ordinance.
Bet'ya, a few people could be employed by the fines levied on the all week can leavers, well, at least for a few weeks!
#6 Nov 29, 2013
But GEE, you sound like you expect some personnel responsibility from the entitlement class and the other democrat scum that populate Vallejo.
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