"We have a history as a city of creating laws that we have no intention to enforce," outgoing Councilmember Kirby Nicol said in a meeting this past June.
The Capitola City Council has passed ordinances banning dogs on the beach, smoking on the Esplanade, sandwich boards in the Village and skateboarding in the Village among other things. And while tickets are occassionally written for these violations, they continue to occur.
Perhaps the violations are not taking place at an alarming rate, it's not a shock to see smokers, sandwich boards and skatboarders in the Village, nor is it surprising to spot a dog on the beach. Last week, we asked the candidates for city council for their opinion on these laws.
Question: There are many under-enforced laws in Capitola. Should enforcement be stepped up or should these ordinances that can't be well-enforced be stopped?
Dennis Norton: These laws are working. Yes, there are dogs on the beach at times, but very few. Yes, people smoke along the Esplanade at times, but the amount of smoking has drastically reduced. The city has been enforcing the sandwich boards. There should be some kind of self control with the merchants to not have the city be the babysitter, or change the ordinance as we have done. We should continue to warn people on these issues. No one is asking that police arrest someone for smoking.
Ed Bottorff: Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. Some ordinances are being enforced. Logically if we do not plan to enforce an ordinance, we should remove it. Likewise, if an ordinance is poorly written, we should amend it to elicit the outcome we truly desire. I think this would be a good discussion item for the newly-elected city council to place on the agenda early in the new year.
Jacques Bertrand: We should monitor to make sure that any particular situation does not become out of hand. However, public education is very effective. After all, these laws were put into effect because they either provide for public health and safety, or directly help residents and visitors enjoy our wonderful city. So, I don’t support draconian measures, but rather efforts to keep a healthy balance for all.
Where do you stand on under-enforced laws? Do you know who you're voting for to fill the two positions? Tell us in the comments!