LOCAL LAWS ’89
Last year, local and municipal governments approved many new laws and regulations that will affect many residents throughout the region. In Los Angeles County, owners of biting dogs will pay more in fines, while city residents will feel a pinch in the wallet from higher fees for water, sewer and power. Burbank has placed restrictions on metal balloons and the homeless won’t be able to sleep in West Hollywood parks overnight.
Los Angeles County
DOGS--Fines against owners for dog bites were increased from a maximum of $500 to $1,000.
SYPHILIS--Treatment and prevention programs for syphilis were expanded and, for a six-month period, the county waived the $20 fee charged for diagnosis and treatment of all venereal diseases and tuberculosis.
DISPLAY--Limits were placed on the display of sexually oriented materials in news racks.
LIQUOR--The supervisors made it harder to get a liquor license in East Los Angeles. Zoning approval is now granted only after local residents are given a chance to protest. Limits were placed on granting the licenses near schools, playgrounds and churches.
PARKING--More parking is now required for several traffic-generating enterprises, including animal hospitals, medical offices and galleries.
POLICE--The number of Los Angeles police officers was increased by 150 to a record level of 7,500. A new deputy chief job was authorized to assist in fighting drug-related gang activity.
FINES--Rush-hour parking fines were increased from $28 to $53 in an effort to deter motorists from blocking intersections.
WATER--A number of measures were passed by the City Council and signed by the mayor to save water, both because of a series of dry years and the need to reduce the amount of water flowing into the city’s inadequate sewage disposal system. Residents are forbidden to hose down patios, sidewalks and driveways. Restaurants now can serve water only upon request. Property owners must repair leaking faucets and toilets. Residents are requested to voluntarily reduce water use by 10%. Decorative fountains without recycling features are banned. Water-saving toilet and shower devices, provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, must be installed by Jan. 13. Also, a new ordinance took effect limiting construction in neighboring cities connected to the Los Angeles sewer system.
SEWERS--Average monthly residential sewer fees were increased from $6.14 to $17.52 per month by 1993 to help pay for the rebuilding and modernization of the city’s aging sewer system.
RATES--Water and power rates went up about $6 on the average bimonthly residential bill. The average bimonthly electric bill was increased from $65 to $67.84 and the average bimonthly water rate increased from $34.98 to $38.32. Lifeline customers received an increase from about $26.86 to $27.86.
HIGH-RISE--Following the fire in the First Interstate Bank building in downtown Los Angeles, pre-1974 high-rises were required to be retrofitted with automatic sprinklers, fire-resistant elevator vestibules and roof-top smoke escapes within three years.
RESTROOMS--Businesses with customer and employee restrooms were required to make them available to the disabled even if they are not patrons.
ANIMALS--In January, an ordinance took effect that prohibits feeding of coyotes, raccoons, foxes, skunks and opossums. Dog license fees were increased from $16 to $18, but license fees for spayed or neutered dogs remained unchanged at $8.
CRUISING--Motor vehicles are now limited to a round trip every six hours on streets where police determine that cruising is a problem.
CAR POOLING--Employers with at least 200 workers now must offer $15 bus passes, car-pool and van-pool subsidies each month if they also provide subsidized parking. New laws make available up to $5,000 to employers for lease or purchase of employee commuter vans. Rates were increased for parking spaces on city-owned or city-leased lots in the downtown area from $5 to $25, with car-poolers exempted.
AMBULANCES--Six additional rescue ambulances for paramedics were approved for South-Central Los Angeles, East San Fernando Valley and the Harbor area.
BINGO--Nightly bingo sessions at a single location are limited to 40 games to reduce the amount of prize money available.
LEAVE--Unmarried Los Angeles city employees living with a “domestic partner” are entitled to the same sick and bereavement leaves as married workers.
CULTURE--Los Angeles got its first municipal culture program of grants and other assistance to art, the theater and other cultural activities, financed by $20 million a year coming from fees and the city’s hotel bed tax.
MALLS--Parking restrictions were tightened for mini-malls and requirements were added for decoration and shade trees.
SLUMLORDS--Tenants in slum buildings now have the option to put rent into a “rent escrow account program,” maintained by the city, rather than pay it to landlords who refuse to repair their buildings.
PARKS--City Council was criticized after it approved park regulations that the homeless said discriminate against them. Over complaints of discrimination by the homeless, the City Council closed city parks from midnight to 6 a.m., outlawed such activities as erecting tents, using drinking fountains for “other than their intended purpose” and hanging clothes and blankets on walls and shrubs. Sheriff’s Department deputies are empowered to expel violators from parks.
SPRINKLERS--An ordinance was passed in July requiring automatic sprinkler systems in all new homes, making the city the first in Los Angeles County to impose such a requirement. City Council acted soon after the May 4 fire at the downtown First Interstate Bank building but officials said the idea was conceived months earlier in the brush-fire prone city.
BALLOONS--Law made effective in June requires businesses that sell metallic balloons to post signs warning of the hazards of metallic balloons near sources of electrical power. The legislation was prompted by several incidents of such balloons causing outages when they collided with power lines.
NOISE--Under a new city ordinance, hosts of loud and unruly parties can be fined up to $500 if police are summoned more than once to quiet the festivities. Police first issue a written warning to the hosts of noisy parties. If called again, officers write up a bill at the scene, with the fee being determined in part by the number of officers who responded.
SMOKING--As of October, smoking is restricted to limited, specified areas in city-owned buildings. Businesses are required to submit written policy statements to the city detailing the extent to which they will restrict smoking, or they may have a policy statement of no restrictions.
PRESERVATION--An Office of Neighborhoods and Historical Preservation was created to try to identify and save significant historic buildings in the city. City Council action came as final demolition occurred on two well-known landmark buildings, the Pacific Coast Club and the Jergens Trust building.
LIMITS--As the result of a voter-approved initiative in November, apartment and condo complexes are limited to 22 units per acre. The limit previously had been 70 units per acre. A public outcry against a building boom, especially apartment construction, fueled passage of the measure.
Times researcher Cecilia Rasmussen and Times staff writers James M. Gomez, Chris Woodyard, Roxana Kopetman, Lee Harris, Gabe Fuentes, Greg Braxton and Stephanie Chavez contributed to this report.