It doesn't quite reach China, but a pothole in the parking lot of the Valley Prescription Pharmacy in Merced has been wreaking havoc in the parking lot.
Flat tires and accidents have befallen drivers as they traverse this treacherous landscape, a tipster told me.
And despite continued complaints, nothing has been done.
Ron Krein, who runs the pharmacy, says people have been complaining for months. He's called the landlord -- to no avail. He said the pothole may be hurting his business.
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The hole on East 13th Street is not Merced's only parking lot pothole.
Another tipster pointed out more such obstacles in a parking lot along Olive Avenue.
I went out to take a look and found a 3-inch-deep pothole in the parking lot in front of Ross. No cars were parked near the chunked-out piece of asphalt. It looked like a meteor impact, and everyone was staying away.
Nearby, beside Jose's Tacos, another series of potholes marred the cracked drive.
As one tipster who informed me about these road problems put it, "I was wondering why they are letting this town go to crap."
So I made a few phone calls.
The pothole on East 13th, said code enforcement officer Kelly Roseman, is being dealt with. She has sent out a letter to the property owners, she said. Ultimate responsibility for upkeep of property is with those owners, she said.
The other pothole in the Ross parking lot hasn't been reported and so hadn't been on code enforcement's radar.
Now it is.
And the enforcement office responsible for that area, Roberta Medina, said she will go and take a look this week.
Greg McSwain, one of the city's three code enforcement officers, said they don't deal much with commercial properties. But when they do, it works pretty much the same as with other property owners. First, the city sends a letter informing owners of the public nuisance. If the problem isn't solved after that step, there's a hearing before the city manager. After that, if the problem isn't fixed, the city council can make a decision that could bring the matter to court.
"If people have issues like that, by all means give us a call," said McSwain.
If you want to report a pothole or any other code enforcement issue with the city of Merced, call (209) 385-6861.
What's wrong: potholes in commercial parking lots.
Who's involved: City of Merced code enforcement officials, (209) 385-6861.
What's being done: Code enforcement officials have sent out one letter to the owners of the pharmacy. They didn't know of the pothole in the Ross parking lot, but are going to take a look.