Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The city of San Diego fails to collect thousands of dollars each year in permit fees for sidewalk newsracks, according to San Diego County grand jury report released today.
According to the report, there are hundreds of newsracks on city sidewalks that lack a city permit and are defaced with graffiti or stickers.
The report examined the permit status and condition of 555 newsracks on city property.
Thirty-nine percent of those newsracks and one-third of the publications do not have a city permit, which costs $15 per rack annually, according to the report.
Graffiti, stickers and broken windows on about 30 percent of newsracks "tarnishes San Diego's image as 'America's Finest City,'" the report states.
According to the report, the city's enforcement efforts are hampered by the lack of a searchable, sortable database of permitted newsracks.
Neighborhood Code Compliance, which issues the permits, works with paper permit applications submitted by publishers and distributors, which are inconsistent in format and contain numerous inaccuracies, the report found.
The grand jury also examined newsracks along the Embarcadero and on several trolley platforms.
It found neither the Port of San Diego nor the Metropolitan Transit Systems regulate newsracks, yet racks abound on their properties, and many are in poor condition.
The grand jury recommended that both groups adopt a newsrack ordinance.