We, The Residents Of The Sea Shell Inn…

by Letters to the Editor, August 13, 2011

This is an appeal to the people of the city of Point Arena, in regards to the recent actions of the Point Arena City Council, and their alleged “Order of Abatement of Nuisance” against the Sea Shell Inn, the methods employed in the generation of this spurious document, and the manner in which it was “served” upon us.

On the 25th of July this year, people representing themselves as the City of Point Arena City Council came to the Sea Shell Inn with an armed escort of Mendocino County Sheriffs, to deliver what at first sight appeared to be a legitimate Order for the Abatement of Nuisance. They came to us after several days of sneaking around the Sea Shell Inn with cameras, taking pictures of things in and around the Inn, without speaking to anyone here about what they were up to. They gave the impression that they had the authority to demand the things set forth in this statement, and that the power to enforce and punish rested with them.

It is our hope that some may see through the Gestapo Tactics being employed in the name of “decency” and the “law” which in fact amount to no more than the bullying of the poor and otherwise homeless and disenfranchised, at the hands of those elected to protect the interests of the people.

We are requesting that the people of the Sea Shell Inn (many of whom are lifetime local residents who wouldn’t have anywhere else to live were it not for the Sea Shell) be recognized as citizens of this city, and included in the decision making process, and that we be allowed a reasonable time frame to comply with these requests, and we also request that the City Council review their recent actions leading to the current situation, culminating in the storm trooper style delivery of their ‘Request’ (a written statement, supposedly an ‘Order’, signed by only two persons, neither one of them a Judge) and that they rewrite it in cooperation with us, removing all illegal or unnecessary requirements.

The following represents quoted city and county codes used in setting forth the abatement order against the Seashell Inn, and our rebuttal, with a statement of legitimate reasons for our appeal of the abatement order, asking that an adequate and reasonable timeframe be given to fulfill the requirements of the abatement, and that unlawful and unnecessary requirements be rescinded. Codes/Sections are quoted in full at the end of this letter.

Sec. 8.75.100 Hearing Procedures: If a public hearing was held to determine whether or not a nuisance existed, neither owner Ken LaBoube nor anyone who resides at the Sea Shell Inn were in attendance, nor was proper notice given by the city council to Ken LaBoube or anyone else directly affected, of any public hearing, as required by above section.

Section 8.75.120 states “abatement shall be commenced by the owner within five (5) calendar days of the service of the decision and Order, or any longer period provided in the Order, and shall continue with reasonable diligence until complete.”

The City councils abatement ‘order’ requires completion of work within 72 hours, however this section clearly gives an owner 5 days to begin work, in the event there is a legitimate Order of abatement, and allows for a significant period of time before any further action can be taken.

Point Arena Municipal Code 8.05.020 was quoted on page two of the abatement notice to the owner, however it is missing this piece of text “where the owner has been given written notice to complete the building or structure by the city’s representative, but fails to complete construction and obtain final approval from the city in accordance with applicable laws and regulations within one year of being so notified”

The Owner has not been notified of city council action until now. (July 25th 2011).

City Council makes a list of required work/amendments. Some of which are not required by law, or alternative and clearly stated ordinances are already in effect which should first be implemented, in accordance with the laws already set forth for the purpose they were intended. Sea Shell Inn requests the following list be amended:

Item 3. Pursuant to ABC regulations, signage will be posted alerting residents and guests of state laws prohibiting consumption of alcoholic beverages and open containers in public. We wish to remind the city council that laws do not permit governing of consumption in private residences and guest quarters.

We feel signage notifying guests of the state, county, and city ordinances pertaining to public alcohol consumption will be sufficient to comply with the nature of the city council request.

Item 4. City council is specifically disallowing work to be done by the current maintenance person, citing lack of a contractors license. Mr. Raymon Curtis is a highly skilled construction worker with over 15 years experience in the trades, including 5 years as the owner/operator of a property maintenance business within Mendocino county, and 5 years as the supervisor of a local construction company responsible for overseeing up to 8 crew members. Owner Ken LaBoube and Mr. Curtis have not entered into a monetary agreement or contract, and is therefore not required to hold a contractors license, and most of the work is of a maintenance nature, and doesn’t fall under the contractors licensing laws.

By prohibiting qualified and able personnel from working, City council is in effect preventing Mr. LaBoube from fulfilling the requirement. Request for this restriction to be removed.

Perhaps the nature of the city’s concerns lies with the maintenance program which appeared to be in effect. So as to alleviates those concerns, please know that all persons currently working on the abatement order issues are trained, skilled and under the supervision of an experienced crew boss.

Item 6. We ask the City Council to consider that California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is aware of the millions of vehicles in California that are not displaying current tags. Since the California DMV has an aggressive delinquent registration collection process in place, it may be that renewal fees have been paid but other requirements have not been met, such as: smog certification. Stickers cannot be issued until all requirements are met.

Therefore, we request that laws currently in place governing registration be allowed to proceed. We feel it is inappropriate for the hotel to govern DMV registration stickers.

Item 7: Animal Control Ordinance does not in any way require removal of animals from residential areas, nor may it regulate permission of animals in or on hotel grounds.

Therefore we request “removal of all animals” requirement be stricken from the order.

In order to comply with the nature of the City Council about preventing uncontrolled animals, Signage will be posted alerting residents and guests of Mendocino County’s Animal Ordnance so they will be in compliance with city/county guidelines. (Title 10 of Mendocino County Ordinance Number 3332)

Further, the allegations of the sales or distribution of illegal substances, in the absence of any definite proof or evidence, is libelous and slanderous. In that no one currently residing at the Sea Shell Inn has been arrested or convicted of the above charges, this item should be stricken from the record and removed from the abatement order. This is Mendocino county, part of the state of California, where 215 laws are in effect. The medicinal use of Marijuana by qualified individuals holding prescriptions does not constitute possession or sales of controlled substances.

The short list above concerns items in the “do within 72 hour list.” Remainder of the document of “requirements” as well as “strongly suggested” contain items that are equally in need of discussion and reflection upon legitimate concerns and/or city/county or state municipal requirements.

In closing, we have already started the abatement process. The city council members and public may rest assured that the current team as compiled from existing and experienced management as well as new members, is already devoted to the community and dedicated to the project.

Combined experience is including but not limited to all facets of hotel management; ground to move-in construction, TOT reporting, accounting, retail, personnel management and PR.

And, as a side note, who is willing to do something about the homeless issue in Point Arena? As far as we can tell, Ken LaBoube is the only one willing to step up and offer shelter for these people. This establishment is located near grocery, clinic, employment and other necessary services. Many of these persons are lifetime local residents and include families with children who would otherwise be homeless on the streets of Point Arena were it not for the Sea Shell Inn. Economical housing central to the location of services is hard to find and much needed. We understand that the Sea Shell isn’t properly zoned for long term residential, though it has supported this function for many years. Perhaps the answer isn’t to throw people out into the street who have no where else to go, perhaps another, more humane solution can be found.

In conclusion, we look forward to the opportunity of having a valuable and long relationship with the members of the city council and the community we are part of.

Sincerely,

Sea Shell Inn ad hoc committee

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