Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I would like to commend the city’s Code Enforcement Division for the excellent job that they do for all of us, and I would encourage the Mayor and the City Council to give the enforcement personnel their full, unqualified support, especially in this situation.
I live in the same neighborhood as the persons identified in your article about illegal sheds, shacks, car-ports, and lean-tos, etc. Mr. Zirpel’s defense is basically that everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t he be able to do whatever he wants. That argument just doesn’t hold water. If an officer stops me for speeding, pointing out that everyone else is also driving too fast doesn’t make me any less guilty of the offense.
Most homeowners know that they can’t build right up to the property line, but even if they are unaware of the ordinance, ignorance is no excuse. If a contractor built or erected any of these structures, that person surely must know what the code requirements are for the city, and if they violated the law they should be held liable.
Illegal wiring jobs that don’t meet code do create a fire hazard, as do structures that would prevent the fire department from effectively getting to a building on fire, putting neighboring homes, maybe my own home or yours, in jeopardy.
Several years ago, one of my neighbors began piling trash in their driveway: Household debris, junk, hundreds of old unopened newspapers. Sometimes this soggy mess was partially covered with a piece of black plastic that would blow around. The pile grew and grew, and after about six months, I noticed a couple of rats running along the side walk as I left for work early in the morning. At that point I’d had enough. I called the city, and was directed to the Code Enforcement Division and Officer Greg Baird. I reported the problem and it was dealt with in good time. It’s unfortunate that my neighbor never saw a problem with the situation that he had created for the rest of us living nearby, but that’s just human nature I suppose.
I do my best to be a good neighbor, and believe that one way that I can do that is by taking care of my property. I expect others to do the same, but, unfortunately, there are people who will do whatever they want, maybe hope that no one notices, and when they do get caught, will cry bloody murder.
I hope that the Mayor and the City Council will, in the future, encourage all City personnel to report all code violations that they see, before this situation gets even more out of hand than it already has.
Jan. 9, 2012