Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

City: Abandoned shopping cart measure about ‘blight’

By
From page A4 | December 05, 2013 | 27 Comments

FAIRFIELD — Follow just a few regulations and a lot of common sense, asks a taxpayers advocate who cites as evidence Fairfield’s measures to reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts – while the city manager says the regulations aren’t burdensome.

George Guynn Jr., president of the Central Solano Citizen-Taxpayer Group, offered the better-government-is-less-government adage when citing the city’s $5,400 a year contract with California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation that pays the company $3 for each retrieved cart.

Fairfield’s measure also require businesses to place identification on all carts and require a containment plan for shopping carts.

City Manager Sean Quinn, speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council, said state law requires retailers to identify carts. Businesses contracting with a cart retrieval service are exempt from the requirement to prepare a containment plan, added Quinn, who said the city ordinance is fair.

“This is really about public and blight,” Quinn said. “It doesn’t pose excessive burdens on business.”

Quinn noted carts along Alaska Avenue block driveways and said 35 shopping carts were located along Atlantic Avenue.

“I wish common sense would work,” Quinn said. He said City Hall hears a lot of citizen complaints about the carts.

Councilman John Mraz recounted seeing a homeless man with a cart full of belongings in front of the Raley’s on Travis Boulevard. A police response poses problems that include the man having no address to list if he were issued a citation for the shopping cart, the councilman said.

Mraz said the only thing he could do is feel sorry for the fellow.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

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Discussion | 27 comments

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  • CD BrooksDecember 05, 2013 - 7:19 am

    Fish in a barrel. “This is really about public and blight,” Quinn said. “It doesn’t pose excessive burdens on business.” Right. Because business passes the burden to us. Now we pay twice. And what about "the public," we tax-paying citizens given excuses for this wildly-creative nonsense when there are real problems being ignored?

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  • justmeDecember 05, 2013 - 8:02 am

    Places like Wal-Mart in Fairfield are currently taking no responsibility for their carts. It costs them less to buy new carts to replace the ones that wander off than it does to pay someone to go fetch them. This results in a littering of carts all over the city. This ordinance makes the business take responsibility for their property. It also keeps the city looking clean. People complain about the carts all over, then the city does something about it and people complain about that. Too much complaining....

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  • CD BrooksDecember 05, 2013 - 8:18 am

    justme, really? I complain about real problems regarding traffic and safety all-the-time. Nothing gets done about that. Why would I care about a lousy shopping cart?

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  • Yes...Bah Humbug...We'll just have to muddle thru....December 05, 2013 - 8:22 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yudgy30Dd68

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  • The MisterDecember 05, 2013 - 7:24 am

    How many people have been arrested for theft of these carts? You arrest people with stolen cars... and car thefts go down. You arrest people with stolen shopping carts... perhaps abandoned shopping carts will become less of an issue. Also, it puts the responsibility for abandoned carts on the very people who abandoned the carts... not on the store or the tax-payer. Too much sense there, I suppose.

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  • justmeDecember 05, 2013 - 8:07 am

    That's the thing though. People are not necessarily "stealing" the carts. They are loading them up, they don't have a car, so they push the cart home, unload them, and leave them laying on the streets. I see lines of carts on N. Texas by the apartments all the time. These people aren't stealing, just borrowing, and no one is returning them to the proper place. It is less expensive for the city to pass an ordinance to make the stores responsible for the carts than to pay a city worker however much an hour as a full time job rounding up carts, right? It is also cheaper for the city to pay a company $3 a cart to gather up the ones that no one claims. Has anyone actually read the ordinance? The stores get fined for not following the rules. That money pays the $3 a cart right there. Seems legit to me!

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  • MarkDecember 05, 2013 - 10:54 am

    So if I take your car and use it to get me home, and then leave it, I'm not stealing it. I'm just borrowing it. You can come get it anytime and take it back.

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  • -gail-December 05, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    CD, I see someone else is using my moniker(sp). CD, those comments are not from the person that has been using the name of " just me" for years….. grrrrrrrr So I guess I will have to change my name. hmmmmm, maybe my "real" name, what 'ch think 'bout dat? ;))))))

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  • CD BrooksDecember 05, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    Gail, there are no rules here about using one's real name and I'm okay with that. There are plenty of folks using several aliases and other folks making threatening comments while hiding behind them. I have no use for that cowardly act, but we'll always have them around. If you want credit and credibility, use your name and be prepared to take the good with the bad! :) I've been writing to the DR using my name for over twenty years.

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  • -gail-December 05, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    I have been visiting this site since the first week it started. I believe it has been 15 0r 16 years now. I seldom post and as everyone here who have been around a bit probably know, I seldom post. I sure do enjoy reading (usually) the comments though.

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  • -gail-December 05, 2013 - 5:39 pm

    CD, I have never given my true name before because I am a woman and I live alone. Which also is the reason I have never explained it before. Sort of a catch 22. I will not give my last name. Better safe than sorry. And so, for a reason I believe is valid, I have no legitimacy to anything I might state. Yet another reason I seldom post. Things are not always black and white. However, I do see both sides of this argument so I just look through the glass and enjoy as I can.

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  • NorcalartistDecember 05, 2013 - 8:34 am

    The $.99 store has carts that automatically lock the wheels if you try to take a cart out if the area. I'm sure it would help if the larger stores did the same. We also have a market that gives you some small change if you return a cart to the parking lot corral.

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  • skeptic scroogeDecember 05, 2013 - 10:14 am

    Yes, the real long term solution is carts that lock when taken off the lot. Solves all the problems right there. When I didnt have a car and couldn't afford a $5 taxi, I loaded up my baby stroller with groceries. Taking a cart without asking and dropping it when you are done is stealing just the same as a car. If the police started ticketing the homeless man living in the RV downtown who CAN afford a ticket out of his $1000+ monthly disability check (which, yes Mraz, he does have an address to receive it, you bet, and taxpayers pay for that too, a PO box), he would stop littering streets with stolen carts because it cuts into his drinking funds. I know firsthand, I even have a picture. And so do the cops, the businesses have surveillance of carts leaving lots. These people used a food stamp card with an address linked to it when they left the store. And beileve me, its a good address to mail their citation to because they wont want to miss any letters regarding food stamps. Paying to have carts collected is not a good long term solution. Wheel locks are the cheapest, most cost efficient solution. If the socialists dont want to ticket homeless, then make the stores pay the $3 pickup fee if they want the cart back. If no address on cart, the city can sell them to recover costs. Giving them all strollers isnt the answer either because homeless RV man already has the one he stole out of my yard. Hes just lazy, dont doubt. He uses the stroller when he goes to Mission Solano to get free food, because MS doesnt have carts.

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  • B. ThiemerDecember 05, 2013 - 1:23 pm

    I feel this is blaming the victim here.. if my property (shopping cart or otherwise) gets "borrowed" by someone who leaves it somewhere else, *my* property has been pilfered, and I am the victim. nothing in this ordnance addresses people who pilfer the carts. Using the logic of this ordinance, if someone "borrows" my car, I need to have a vehicle recovery plan in place with the city to prevent blight.

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  • justmeDecember 05, 2013 - 4:08 pm

    How is a cart comparable to a car?????? One is worth thousands of dollars and one is worth under $5

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  • CD BrooksDecember 05, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    justme, you should buy a better car. BTW, the new shopping carts that I looked up have a range of $65-$160 depending upon size and features.They require maintenance and cleaning too.

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  • justmeDecember 05, 2013 - 4:33 pm

    I'm sure large retailers buy their carts in bulk and get a huge price break....

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  • justmeDecember 05, 2013 - 5:45 pm

    You guys are right... I'm a bone-head idi*t when it comes to the real world, or thinking, or junk like that.

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  • justmeDecember 05, 2013 - 4:25 pm

    Here is the plan....looks like by making the stores have a plan (which could easily include putting locks on the carts...PROBLEM SOLVED FOR THE BUSINESS IF THEY ARE SMART) Fines and fees are charged to the store for not cooperating. Literally all they have to do to avoid issues is put locks on the carts and their names on them. In order to address the problem of abandoned carts, staff has prepared an ordinance that requires all business wners who provide carts for customer use to: 1) Place identification signage on all carts 2) Place notification signs at business pedestrian exits stating that unauthorized removal of a shopping cart from the business premises is a violation of state law and Fairfield City Code 3) Prepare and maintain a Shopping Cart Containment Plan which demonstrates how the business will contain shopping carts on their property. Businesses that enter into a contract with a shopping cart retrieval service will be exempt from having to prepare the Shopping Cart Containment Plan. The ordinance includes provisions that allow the City to impound carts under certain circumstances, if necessary. If the City impounds a cart with the proper signage, the City will notify the owner and give the owner three days to pick up the cart from the City before the City imposes any fees or fines for impounding the carts. In addition to the shopping cart ordinance, the City will be entering into an agreement with California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation Inc. CSCRC will return the identifiable carts to the business of origin at a cost to the City of $3 per cart. However, if CSCRC has a contract with the business of origin, the contract might permit CSCRC to charge the retrieval fee to the business instead of the City. If CSCRC retrieves more than 20 carts from the same retailer who does not contract with CSCRC within 90 consecutive days, the Community Development Director or Public Works Director will have authority to require the retailer to modify their Shopping Cart Containment Plan to meet City standards and if necessary, impose fines on those who do not comply.

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  • Mr. SmithDecember 05, 2013 - 7:10 pm

    @--gail- No need to apologize about using a pseudonym or pen name. The reasons people like us do it on this board are many. Here is a tiny fraction of other folks who chose this route: Woody Allen, Whoopi Goldberg, John Wayne, Mark Twain, Voltaire, Ayn Rand, J.K. Rowling, Mr. Smith, Mr. Practical, RLW895, and on and on it goes. Post away with whatever "nom de plume" you choose. In spite of their occasional puffery, I don't detect a higher level of accuracy, honesty or intelligence among those around here who choose to sign (supposedly) real names to their posts.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksDecember 06, 2013 - 5:59 am

    Mr. Smith that was a nice little shot there. For my part if you chose to look, you'd see the accuracy in my posts, puffery notwithstanding. My problem with the name thing is the threats as I stated in my comment to Gail. It is really easy to threaten somebody when you hide behind an alias. Other than that I really don’t care who or what you are. For the record, I have met several folks that comment here some using their real name and others not for varying reasons. My favorite quote ever on these pages comes from Mr. Practical: “If we met we’d have a lot more respect for each other.” I have found that to be the truth.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Wake up!December 05, 2013 - 7:27 pm

    Quit making this harder than it is...Comparing a shopping cart to a car is simple enough. If I "allow" you to borrow my car and it becomes a violation of a city ordinance or a crime..I am still responsible because I CHOSE to release my property to you. The OWNER of the Shopping cart is responsible for where it ends up and any ordinance it violates when it's out of his possession. Is that Simple enough for you!

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  • Lake ReynoldsDecember 05, 2013 - 8:00 pm

    I am not sure where people say Walmart does not care about carts. I know in fact that every time I call for a cart to be picked up it is usually gone within 24 hours. The real problem is that in fact the carts do not belong to the people taking them. The carts belong to the retailers using them for their legitimate business. The retailers are not giving permission for the carts to be taken off their lots. If property is taken without permission it is called stealing. I think we should hold the people responsible for stealing the carts. I am sure once this happens the cart problem will go away. As for the homeless, the majority of the carts are taken by ordinary citizens. I too have seen the carts on North Texas St. They are pushed out of the apartment complex by the manager and dumped into the bike lane. There are not homeless people living in the apartment complex. So how is that Walmart's fault. They did not push them to the apartment complex? Stop the insanity, if you steal the cart, you will be held accountable. Pretty simple !

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  • The MisterDecember 06, 2013 - 8:24 am

    YES!!!

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  • scrapper8869December 05, 2013 - 9:01 pm

    simple solution; just ban shopping carts. if you cannot carry it, you do not buy it.

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  • CD BrooksDecember 06, 2013 - 7:12 am

    Moderation...looks like my comment will appear twice again at some point. Sorry bout that!

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  • RonMarch 30, 2014 - 9:24 am

    Many relevant comments. I hope I can offer another in the form of action the community can take. Our company offers a free iPhone app, CartSnap, that supports communities reporting lost and abandoned shopping carts. We do not share any personal information and our business does not resell personal data. By reporting lost and abandoned shopping carts using our app, we connect with the cart retrieval company who then picks up the cart quickly. That simple. Thanks for permitting the post.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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