Regular city council meetings resume this week with Compton City Attorney Damon Brown proposing a “ban” on the sale of flavored tobacco products in city boundaries. His predecessor, now City Manager Craig Cornwell, has created and implemented “bans” that have been catastrophic failures. In essence, these phony “ordinances” aren’t worth the paper they are written on.
The city has established parameters for vending from either a car, ice cream truck or push cart. In a lively social media discussion, in the Eye Witness News in Compton Facebook group, 2UrbanGirls posed the question of whether the city should start enforcing the mandatory health and operator permits, they require.
Residents chimed in that “street vending” is becoming hazardous with cars blocking driveways and the public right of way as customers patronize the vendors. A former Compton Unified Board Trustee chimed in on the issues the school district raised to then City Attorney Craig Cornwell.
In short, Cornwell said he didn’t have the “resources” to enforce compliance of the vending requirements, which establish distance requirements around churches, schools and the public right of way.
Another “ban” Cornwell oversaw was regarding marijuana dispensaries. Compton Unified sued the city over their failure to enforce that ban. In fact, residents continue to report unlicensed dispensaries littered throughout the city. Some continue to be located near schools.
At some point the city’s code enforcement division became apart of the City Attorney’s office, where in neighboring city’s code enforcement falls under the planning division.
Another red flag being raised is the proximity of smoke shops being opened in close proximities to schools. The latest to catch the public’s attention is at the intersection of Greenleaf and Wilmington.
In the city of Inglewood, the Planning Department has created a distance requirement for hair and nail salons that doesn’t allow them to exist within 300 feet of one another. When a potential owner comes in to setup their business license, the planning department checks to ensure the distance and if there is, the application is denied or they are asked to spend thousands of dollars to apply for a Special Use Permit (SUP) where they would need to bring their denial before the city council for approval.
In regards to smoke shops in Compton, no such distance requirement exists. This is crucial as the city is attempting to justify the new “ban” on flavored tobacco products due to the increased usage by our youth.
In some odd way, you could say the city’s failure to enforce their own ordinances assists with the increased usage amongst teens.
When you have a city, like Compton, who allows marijuana dispensaries and smoke shops to open, within steps of a school, what do you think will happen? Smoke shops sell more than tobacco products, they also sell potato chips, sodas, candy and the like, which draws the youth into the store.
Both the City Attorney and City Manager are wasting their time to attempt to implement another ban that they have no intentions or resources to enforce.
If they want to truly curb the issue of the youth having access to these types of products, the city’s Planning Department and/or Planning Commission needs to intervene and start a discussion on creating limitations on where these products can be sold, in relation to proximity of schools and churches.
More importantly there needs to be a way to increase city revenue, to ensure there are enough resources for enforcement if they want to continue to implement”bans” on certain items from being sold in the city.
However, if you’ve been reading the state audit of the city’s finances, they don’t have a solution to increase “resources” either.