This is a follow-up to Eric Townsend’s letter of last week.
The entire atmosphere of services and charges from [the Riverside County Transportation and Land Management Agency which includes both] Planning and Building and Safety Departments has changed radically in recent years.
When I was a young man, these departments were there to help. Today, they are for-profit concerns within city or county governments.
However, changing our county supervisor is not the direction in which to go. This problem is too big and too entrenched. The entire attitude of government needs to be modified.
I recall [an incident] about ten years ago. I was a member of the Associates of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation and offered to help when the group sought a metal storage building. I compiled a list of five such building companies and sat down to contact them.
On the very first call I made, I introduced myself as being from Idyllwild, California.
The man to whom I was speaking asked, “What county are you in?” When I said Riverside, he responded, “I’m sorry, but there are five counties in the nation in which we will not bid due to problems with the county administration, and Riverside is one of them.”
This was my introduction to the reality of the problems that have developed in California governments.
I certainly understand that county and city departments need to save money, but for them to charge for what they do not do (the longer they hold your paperwork the greater the charge) as well as charging exorbitantly for the services they do provide to bring in profits for the governmental arm they work for is self-destructive. They will not guide you where to look to find the correct building codes, rather they insist on being the sole source of those requirements.
We all know that developing jobs brings in more taxes for the government. By the same token, helping people build what they want to build without financially raping them builds much taxable income for the government. That is how the expansion of the tax base is successful.
Perhaps it is time for Occupy County Government.