June 18, 2004

Dear Hal:

     We have similar problems brewing here with our building department. Last year a whole 30,000 square foot 99 cents store opened on a busy intersection in the center of town. Right next door to a Dollar tree store also. The amazing thing is they had not one permit, license, inspection or even notification from the city or county of Sacramento. A few weeks after the grand opening, someone complained and the inspectors came out. They cited the owner only for selling food items without health permits. They stretched yellow tape across the food aisles and refrigerators and banned sales of those products. They encouraged him to get proper electrical, plumbing, and other building inspections and then left. A few hours after, The owner removed the tape and began selling food items. Complaints were lodged, but the city responded by saying they were more interested in getting him to comply willingly than shutting the store down. They would rather work with him. A large article on this was in the Sacramento Bee for a couple of days. This store is in a largely Hispanic area and most of their customers couldn't care less about "no stinking permits." And why should they....everything there is 99 cents and next door it's a dollar. Dollar Tree and Ralph's grocery (same parking lot) played by the rules and hired legals, got permits and inspections. And for their trouble they were rewarded by indifference and favoritism. By the customers and the bureaucrats. The code enforcement mantra here is getting to be the same as you have there... Get the money from those who WILL pay. Oh, and pass the pensions please.

Davi Anthony Rodrigues
(916) 379-9170
[email protected]