No, not that crime spree. I’m talking about the other one, the more insidious one. To put it into perspective: We had town meetings and a lot of talk went into “what can we do about the burglaries?” The amount of loss was tens of thousands of dollars.

The other crime spree is much more costly and is a case of criminal extortion. One person had to pay $54,000 to open his business. The same person has to fork over $10,000 before he can replace a couple of worn-out electrical panels.

Who are the culprits and what’s it like to deal with them? One person described it as a “nightmare,” another as the “worst experience of his life.” I think you guessed it.

It’s the county permit process.

Ten years ago, it was obvious that the process was not fair. I had a conference with the head of Riverside County Building and Safety in which he said, “What we require to get a permit is ridiculous.” The last inspector who came to my job said what was being required was “ridiculous.”

If you’re not trying to build or maintain a property or open a business you may think this doesn’t affect you. But what do you think it does to the economy when it costs so much more to build, repair or open a business?

Repairs don’t get done. Improvements don’t get done. The construction companies, who would be hiring, don’t and the employees don’t spend money in town. Businesses close or don’t open in the first place.

A simple survey of people’s experience dealing with the county would show up the sort of “service” they provide. And “nightmare” and “the worst experience of my life” would not be uncommon.

No service. Big price. If we really had a representative government we could fix it.

Maybe a different supervisor?

Eric Townsend


  1. I share your frustration and I don't know what is the remedy. Perhaps get a petition started, clearly stating the expectations, for process workflow, time and cost, then escalate to a senator right before election season.