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Proposed California State Assembly Bill Would Require Cities To Pay For Sidewalk Repairs

July 23, 2012

In case you thought that sidewalk repairs were simple and free from politics, please read the following:

From the Los Angeles Daily News: To State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, who is running for the Los Angeles City Council, the argument is simple: Cities should not abandon a four-decade-old policy of paying for sidewalk repair and transfer the cost to homeowners.

While those may be welcome words to homeowners frustrated with L.A.’s $1.5 billion backlog of sidewalk repairs, it infuriates local government types who hear something else in Assembly Bill 2231 – just another politically motivated, budget-busting mandate from Sacramento.

Angered by the measure, Dan Oney, publisher of Public CEO, wrote an editorial opposing it as an example of an unfunded state mandate.

“This is something that might help Fuentes politically next year, but could come back to bite him if he does win that City Council seat,” Oney said.

Oney argues that state mandates, without funding, are one of the prime causes of the bankruptcy of cities such as San Bernardino and Stockton.

Fuentes, D-Sylmar, believe the measure is needed to force the city to live up to its obligations.

Even though state law says repair of sidewalks is a homeowner responsibility, the city in 1973 assumed responsibility for the repairs as well as for any accidents.

“This is not intended to bankrupt cities,” Fuentes said. “But I think the bigger problem is the city having ignored this problem. I think it is patently unfair for the city, after 40 years of repairing the sidewalks, to now abandon them. The city had assumed responsibility and let it decay.”

Fuentes’ Assembly Bill 2231 is scheduled for its next hearing on Aug. 6 in the Senate Appropriations committee. Former LA City Councilman Alex Padilla, who is now in the state Senate and a co-author of Fuentes’ sidewalk bill.

Fuentes is the only announced candidate for the seat being vacated by LA City Councilman Richard Alarcon because of term limits.

Alarcon could be leaving the post early if he wins in the Nov. 6 election for the 39th Assembly District seat – the one now held by Fuentes.

Alarcon believes the bill is…to read the full story, please click here.

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