Blight law is a joke without consistent city enforcement

Why do I get the impression that the city of Gilroy’s track
record on blight and trashy property is like the flashings of fire
and brimstone spewed out by the great and powerful Wizard of Oz
(from the movie of the same name), specifically, all flash and no
real substance of result?
Why do I get the impression that the city of Gilroy’s track record on blight and trashy property is like the flashings of fire and brimstone spewed out by the great and powerful Wizard of Oz (from the movie of the same name), specifically, all flash and no real substance of result?

A couple of recent letters and comments in The Dispatch seem to back my contention. I’d certainly second the complaint made in the Red Phone column Feb. 19, that the alley behind the stores at 431 First St. (Goodwill, Longs Drugs, and Round Table Pizza) is a continual mess.

If you’ve ever deposited anything at the Goodwill store trailer parked in back of the store in that alley you know exactly how bad a mess it is, more reminiscent of some back alley in downtown Los Angeles. All that appears to be missing to be on par with LA is the stench of urine, and the sleeping bodies of the homeless. These latter two things would fit in quite well with the alley’s present condition.

And the answer from the city published in The Dispatch was again a display of bureaucracy at its best, the stall answer, the soft shoe reply, the lack of specific commitment to action – they are “working on a complaint” and “trying to use code enforcement to get something done with the property owner.” Well, is the blight code enforceable or not? Or, if this actually falls under the auspices of the Gilroy health code, then the same question applies.

If the code is enforceable, then why can’t it be enforced with more “teeth” to get action in a timely manner? For example, after a property owner is cited by an appropriate city official, give the owner a time period of say, 72 hours to show cause why they should not be severely fined until the mess is cleaned up, as determined acceptable to the city’s satisfaction? But I guess that’s just expecting too much from our civil “servants”, serving us, the people.

Continuing on the blight subject, I found that the classic cases of blighted Gilroy properties, specifically the residences located at 400, 250, 100A, 100B and 105 Ronan Ave. are still as bad as they were back in October. Apparently nothing has been done by the city to make the owner’s clean up the messes. One very frustrated property owner who lives on the street, and who is concerned, wrote me saying: “I wonder if any of the City Council members lived on this street [if] it would be tolerated. I would bet if the all the City Council members would take the time to visit Ronan something just might be done. After their visit down Ronan, I would welcome their calls to me personally so that they can share with me what the city has done since the inception of the [blight] ordinance. I would think if properly managed the ordinance could go a long way to clean up these ‘eyesores’ or could be a good source of revenue for Gilroy. Either way Gilroy wins.” I guess Gilroy does not care to “win” either way.

With all of the heavy rain in Gilroy over the last week, it still amazes me how many Gilroy drivers in older cars don’t turn on their headlights as the rain is pouring down. Are these people ignorant of the new California law that went into effect last Jan. 1, which says a motorist must turn on their headlights if they turn on their windshield wipers?

Or, the law aside, are these people so dumb regarding vehicle safety that they can’t comprehend the importance for their vehicle to be seen by other drivers and pedestrians as the rain is falling?

Are these folks so concerned about where they’re going, or chatting on the phone, or worrying about other issues of life that their own safety and the safety of their passengers is forgotten?

Given the fact that there are so many road-idiots out there driving around like jerks in the rain, I can’t understand why so many people don’t exercise the second it takes to turn on their headlights after turning on their windshield wipers. Kudos to the fact that all new cars within the last few years have running lights that turn-on when the engine is turned-on, unfortunately proving that most drivers apparently are not driving safer based upon their own initiative.

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