- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Code enforcement officers have been cracking down on repeat offenders among property owners, but when they sent City Councilman John Cordova a 10-day warning, that may have been a warning too many.

Cordova told council members at Monday night’s work session that he’d already cleaned up his rental property when the notice arrived and he didn’t like its warning message that he risked a summons to Municipal Court. He acknowledged that he’d received a previous notice from the city for a violation at that address but said he had cleaned up that issue.

Cordova said he’d spoken to other property owners who’d been given a summons to court.

“I don’t think we should be that heavyhanded,” he told City Manager Sam Azad and got support from Council President Steve Nawrocki.

“I think people deserve a chance to clean up their property before being summoned into Municipal Court, even if they’ve been previous offenders,” Nawrocki told Azad.

But Councilmen Chris Nicoll and Bob Schilling disagreed.

“This is a responsibility issue,” Nicoll said. “No one needs to be told they shouldn’t stack old mattresses outside a house or cut their weeds before they are 6 feet tall.”

Schilling joined in, saying, “I’m glad we’re doing this. We should be as heavy-handed as possible.”

Cordova said that as a landlord, he can clean up his property one day and have a tenant, or someone else, dump old furniture or other trash the next day. And he doesn’t deserve a summons to court when it happens, he said.

Schilling said he also had rental property and countered that it’s a landlord’s job to monitor it.

Azad explained that he’d instructed code enforcement to be more aggressive in dealing with complaints and that he was recommending that officers automatically issue a summons to court on the third complaint.

Right now, first-time offenders get a 10-day notice to clean up a problem. Second-time offenders, like Cordova, could be given a summons, Azad said. Third-time offenders would get an automatic summons.

But council should make the final decision, he urged. Council will discuss the question at next Monday’s work session.

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