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CITATION FINES TO BE TAKEN UP BY COUNCIL STIFF PENALTIES CONSIDERED FOR FIREWORKS, GRAFFITI, ETC.

Byline: JIM SKEEN

Staff Writer

PALMDALE -- Palmdale is looking to put some bite into the enforcement of its municipal codes by starting a citation program -- one that will include stiff fines for illegal fireworks, illegal dumping and graffiti.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the City Council will consider creating the citation program and setting fine amounts. If approved, the city would be able to fine for certain misdemeanors or infractions that now have to go through the court system.

"What we have found in the past is that it's not easy to get the courts to share our particular concerns," Mayor Jim Ledford said. "Our intention is to make illegal fireworks, illegal dumping and graffiti serious crimes."

Among the resolutions will be one setting the fines for illegal fireworks, illegal dumping and graffiti at $2,500 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense within three years, City Attorney Matt Ditzhazy said.

Another set of violations -- excessive construction noise, dust control violations and loud parties -- have fines of $500, $1,000 and $2,500 for violations within one year, Ditzhazy said.

Other infractions would have fines of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third offense within one year, Ditzhazy said.

Under the proposed program, code enforcement officers and others designated by City Manager Steve Williams would issue the citations.

A citation could be contested by filing a request for a hearing and paying the administrative penalty. Although the ordinance requires the full amount of the administrative penalty to be paid to obtain a hearing, it also provides for a hardship waiver for those who cannot afford to pay the penalty at that time, Ditzhazy said.

If approved, the city manager will appoint a hearing officer or officers to hear the contested citations and issue a decision. The decision of the hearing officer is final unless appealed to the Superior Court.

Palmdale officials said the city spent more than $14,000 on overtime July 4 for deputies looking out for people shooting skyrockets and other illegal fireworks. They cited 76 people for misdemeanor fireworks possession and related offenses.

james.skeen@dailynews

(661) 267-5743

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The Palmdale City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall council chambers, 38300 Sierra Highway, Suite B.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 20, 2007
Words:401
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