A Stockton tire dealer and retreader said he will fight citations from the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office that claimed he had not followed state regulations regarding scrap tire storage.
The 11 citations against Brannon Tire Issued on Feb. 14 included improper storage of old tires, improper fire prevention maintenance and inaccurate log keeping for tires hauled in and out of the company's two Stockton locations.
If found liable on all counts in the complaint filed before the San Joaquin County Superior Court, Brannon Tire will face penalties totaling more than $300,000.
Jerold Brannon, founder of Brannon Tire and a 51-year veteran of tire retailing, said he plans to fight the citations in court to bring attention to what he feels are unfair regulations.
According to Brannon, his attorney said the court fight would be expensive, but he is willing to spend the money. "If I can help to make these laws fair, I'll consider I've done something good for our industry," he said.
David Irey, deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County, said he hopes to meet with Brannon's attorney within the next few weeks. He declined comment on the case, saying he preferred to reserve such discussions for Brannon's attorney.
As Brannon sees it, he and other tire retailers and retreaders in California are the victims of scrap tire regulations that make them all targets for inexperienced inspectors and capricious government officials.
"I cannot tell you how much overtime we've spent trying to comply with the regulations," he said. "They made us rearrange our yard three times, and each time they told us to do it again."
The current charges came out of the blue, according to Brannon. "The latest inspector said, 'Everything's fine, see you next year,' and before we knew it, we were served with citations," he said.
Brannon said he has asked the California Integrated Waste Management Board three times whether retreadable casings in a container are considered scrap tires under state laws. First he was told no, then yes, then no, he said.
"The real problem is with the state calling a retreadable casing a scrap tire," he said.
Brannon said he also feels the penalties are draconian, such as $2,500 for having one digit wrong in a tire hauling log book.
Harvey Brodsky, managing director of the Pacific Grove, Calif.-based Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau, agreed with Brannon that California scrap tire regulations show little or no understanding of how a tire retreading plant actually operates.
"State regulators aren't bad guys, but they don't live in our world," he said. "What is the real goal? Are they regulating just to regulate, or are they trying to do the right thing?"
What the California board should do, Brodsky said, is to call all interested parties together-including representatives of the tire industry-and have a town meeting to discuss what changes are necessary in the regulations.
"They need to get the facts from the people who know the industry-the tire people," he said.
Brannon Tire employs 78 at its two locations. According to its Web site, the company sells an enormous range of sizes and brands in the passenger, light truck, commercial, OTR and industrial tire fields. It also retreads some 120 truck and industrial tires per day, according to Brannon.
The company also sells casings and used tires to Mexico and Central America, he said.
Brannon has turned over the operations of Brannon Tire to his son, Craig Brannon, and his daughter, Casey Cumberlege, he said.