ORDINANCE NO. 768

AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE

PROVIDING FOR THE REGULATION OF PRICE

INCREASES FOR FOOD AND CONSUMER SERVICES

IN TIMES OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Riverside ordains as follows:

Section 1.

A. Findings. As a result of past disasters throughout the State of California, such as the October 1993 fire storms in Oakland and the Northridge earthquake on January 17, 1994, and the States of Emergency resulting therefrom, residents of those areas sought to purchase emergency supplies, food and other consumer goods necessary for their health and safety. Though no general shortage of consumer goods was evident, numerous residents reported instances of excessive price increases for consumer items, such as gasoline and food items, many times above the prices in effect just prior to the disasters. Though price increases may be necessary, where a vendor or service provider has actually incurred higher expenses, the price increases reported in most cases clearly exceeded those that would be reasonable and needed to recapture any actual increase of operation or selling expenses.

B. Intent.It is the intention of the Board of Supervisors, in adopting this ordinance, to protect County residents from excessive and unjustified increases in the prices charged during any abnormal disruption of the marketplace for consumer goods and services vital and necessary for the health, safety and welfare of residents resulting from an emergency or disaster for which a state of emergency for the County of Riverside is proclaimed or declared pursuant to County Ordinance No. 533 and/or Government Code Section 8630 et. seq. or for which a local disaster or emergency is declared by the President of the United States or Governor of California.

C. Excessive Price Increases Prohibited.

1. Goods. Upon the earlier of either the issuance of a Proclamation or Declaration of Emergency involving or threatening the lives, property or welfare of the residents of the County pursuant to Ordinance No. 533 and/or Government Code Section 8630 et. seq. or for which a disaster or emergency is declared by the President of the United States or Governor of California and for a period of thirty (30) days from the date such State of Emergency is terminated, it shall be unlawful for any person, contractor, company, business or other entity to sell or offer to sell any consumer food items, emergency or medical supplies, or gasoline for an amount which exceeds by ten percent (10%) the price charged by such person, contractor, company, business, or other entity for said goods on the day prior to the emergency period as stated in the Proclamation or Declaration of Emergency, unless said person, contractor, company, business, or other entity, can establish by clear and convincing evidence that a greater increase in price was directly attributable to additional costs imposed on it by the supplier of the goods or for labor or materials actually used to provide or make the product.

2. Services. Upon the earlier of either the issuance of a Proclamation or Declaration of Emergency involving or threatening the lives, property or welfare of the residents of the County pursuant to Ordinance No. 533 and/or Government Code Section 8630 et. seq. or for which a disaster or emergency is declared by the President of the United States or Governor of California and for a period of thirty (30) days from the date such State of Emergency is terminated, it shall be unlawful for any person, contractor, company, business or other entity to furnish or offer to furnish any repair, reconstruction or construction services, for an amount which exceeds by ten percent (10%) the price charged by such person, contractor, company, business or other entity for such services on the day prior to the emergency period as stated in the Proclamation or Declaration of Emergency, unless said person, contractor, company, business, or other entity can establish by clear and convincing evidence that a greater increase in price is directly attributable to additional costs imposed on it by the supplier of the good or for labor or materials actually used to provide the service.

D. Definitions. For the purposes of this ordinance, the following definitions shall apply:

1. A consumer food item is any article which is used or intended for use for food, drink confection or condiment by a person, domestic pet or farm animal.

2. Repair, reconstruction or construction services are those contractor services for repairs or rebuilding to residential and commercial property of any type which are damaged as a result of a disaster. Contractor services are services as defined by Business and Professions Code Sections 7025, 7026, 7026.1 and 7026.3.

3. Emergency supplies shall include, but are not limited to, water, water purification devices or tablets, flashlights, lanterns, radios, generators, batteries, candles, blankets, sleeping bags soaps, tents, cooking and heating fuels and diapers.

4. Medical supplies shall include but are not limited to prescription and non-prescription drugs, and medicines, bandages, gauze, and splints.

5. Gasoline shall include all octane levels of unleaded, leaded gasoline, diesel and alternative fuels.

E. Hearing. If there is reasonable cause to believe that a person has violated the provisions of this section, the County Director of Purchasing or his designee shall, prior to authorizing the filing of a criminal complaint, conduct a Review Board hearing upon due notice and an opportunity to be heard to the party or parties accused. At the conclusion of such Review Board hearing, the Director or his designee may, in his discretion, recommend that a criminal complaint be filed. The Director or his designee may for good cause, dispense with the requirement of conducting a hearing prior to recommending that a criminal complaint be filed.

F. Review Board. The Review Board shall be chaired by the County Director of Purchasing and no less than two other Education, Municipality, or Special District Purchasing managers with counsel provided by the County. The decision of the Review Board shall be final. The Review Board shall also have the authority to negotiate a settlement based on all the facts presented. Upon the Review Board=s final decision, all documentation will be forwarded to the Deputy Director of Purchasing for transmission to the District Attorney or for other appropriate disposition.

G. Violation. A Violation of this Ordinance is hereby declared to be a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 6 months or both.

Section 2. This Ordinance shall be effective thirty (30) days after the date of adoption.

ADOPTED: 11-18-97 (Eff.: 12-18-97)