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Citizen demands answers to concerns about city code enforcement efforts
Yeakley complains
Gene Yeakley frequently addresses code enforcement issues at Ceres City Council meetings and is growing frustrated at the lack of action and answers. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

When citizens have brought forth complaints about code enforcement problems to the City Council’s attention, they haven’t been getting answered.

Last week there was talk about better follow-up to those complaints.

Ceres resident and former council candidate Gene Yeakley pressed the council about why the Ceres Police Department does not respond to calls complaining about street vending without a permit. Instead he has been told by dispatchers that it is a matter for the Code Enforcement Unit, which is not available outside of normal business hours.

Yeakley also wanted to know what happened with his idea of police handing out a flyer – in English on one side and Spanish on the other – which could be handed out on noise violation calls. Yeakley said Ceres Police Chief Rick Collins told him that his version of the flyer was not doable but that they “could work on something.” Yeakley asked that the council place that discussion on an agenda and begged the citizens to get involved.

“We’re not getting anywhere with a lot of things in this city,” said Yeakley. “We need to get answers.”

Councilwoman Linda Ryno asked how the city handles requests for agenda items request by citizens. City Attorney Tom Hallinan recalled that in the past the mayor and council might agree that an item be placed on a future agenda. Or at times the council has asked the city manager to study the item for a staff report while not necessarily placing the subject matter on an agenda.

Mayor Javier Lopez asked Yeakley to email him to discuss his issue but Ryno protested, saying Yeakley’s complaint is that he has discussed concerns with staff and “has never gotten an answer.”

“He wants to be heard on an agenda where not only he but other citizens can hear,” said Ryno. “They hear him coming to the podium with the same complaints and nothing ever seems to get done.”

Vice Mayor Bret Silveira said he first wants to find out what the correct process is for a citizen’s call for an agenda item.

“Most of us are new and inexperienced here and we’re learning like a lot of you on the fly and I think it behooves us to look into that,” said Silveira, “and maybe the city manager can direct staff to try to figure that out by the next time we meet.”

Mayor Lopez assured Yeakley that he wouldn’t be put off but the process needs to be understood.