The graphic above represents one piece of San Diego’s shrinking budget. City officials have intervened in neighborhood code disputes far less frequently than just two years ago.

If this year’s pace continues, the city will investigate nearly half as many cases in 2010 compared to 2008. And that’s a decision city officials made to save money.

Facing budget pressures at the beginning of 2009, the city increased the threshold for some complaints to merit the time of an investigator. In 2008, for example, city officials investigated noise that generated at least two complaints. Now, it takes at least three complaints.

In the past two years, no type of complaint has been affected by the budget cuts as much as those alleging noise violations. In 2008, the city investigated more than 1,400 noise complaints. In 2009, it opened cases for just 400.

Part of that reduction was shifting complaint priorities, but the noise investigators were also short-staffed, said Bob Vacchi, who oversees neighborhood code enforcement. Vacchi said the city might move later this year from one investigator to four, depending on additional staff training.

We’ll be looking into neighborhood code violations more in the future, but if you know about a situation that’s worth looking into further, please let me know. You can e-mail me at or call me at 619.550.5668.


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