Recently, many Brea residents have presented their concerns to the City Council regarding the Chevron professional services agreement that is being discussed with the city. As the City Council prepares to vote on this matter, I certainly hope that the information provided to them is more accurate than the data presented for the street sweeping resolution. The City Manager's street sweeping resolution recommendation to the City Council has so many inconsistencies and inaccurate projections that residents should be leery of any research presented to the City Council. Street sweeping was projected to bring in $1.5 million dollars to the general fund by taxing residents who have to park on the street, but it has turned out to be generating less than $300,000 dollars instead. That's a drop of over 80% below the initial projection by the City Manager. If the same flawed process is used for Chevron's $17 million dollar project, could the City Manager be off by 80% again? Perhaps the Chevron contract, once signed, will grow to $86 million? Sounds crazy, but since the City Council voted in favor of the street sweeping resolution based on the presentation of inaccurate and misleading facts, then the credibility of ALL matters being voted on by this council should be questioned.
On the very first page of the City Manager's recommendation document, he writes, (quote) "the street sweeping program assists the City's efforts to comply with the federal Clean Water Act and the NPDES" (end quote). In the very next sentence the City Manager then says (quote) "The City currently sweeps public streets at twice the rate required by the NPDES" (end quote). If Brea already sweeps at twice the rate required, why would the City find it necessary to tax its residents for parking on the streets and how could they cite compliance with the NPDES to justify such a tax? We know that in a recent council meeting, the City Manager has admitted (quote) "the NPDES requires nothing" (end quote). Therefore, we can see that the street sweeping resolution has nothing to do with the NPDES; it's about raising revenue.
In spite of the City Manager's continued insistence that it's all about clean streets, he writes on page two of his memo, (quote) "The amount of City revenue generated by an enforcement program is dependent on the type of program implemented" (end quote). How can it be said that this is not about generating revenue when he goes on to write, (quote) "A program with codified exemptions (ie, permits) will generate less revenue than a program with no standard exemptions" (end quote)? Is it any surprise that he ultimately recommends a program with no exemptions?
Speaking of revenue, the revenue projection study presented by the City Manager to the council was incredibly flawed and resulted in wildly inaccurate projections. A parking control officer followed one of the two street sweepers for one week to count the number of cars it drove around. They found that 1,175 cars were swept around, and that was the number of vehicles used in the revenue calculation. However, of those cars, 728 did not have overnight parking passes, so 60% of the cars counted had the opportunity to be parked off street. More importantly, no parking restrictions existed at the time so street parking was completely legal when the count was done! Still, when projecting $1.5 million dollars in revenue, the City Manager assumes all of those vehicles would remain on the street and be ticketed.
In his memo, the City Manager reports that the following cities have an enforcement program: La Habra, Chino Hills, Placentia, Diamond Bar, Anaheim, Orange and Garden Grove. However, missing from the report is the fact that two of those cities sweep twice monthly, not weekly. Two are not even in Orange County. One of the cities allows exemptions. One city does alternating sides for 35 of its streets. One town exempts school zones. In Anaheim, they towed 45 student owned cars one day that were blocking the street sweeper one day, and in La Habra, parents were ticketed while attending a school's Easter egg hunt. This is the model the City Manager wants Brea to follow? I thought the new theme for Brea was "It's Better in Brea", not "Brea: we take the worst ideas from everyone else!"
What's dishonest about the City Manager's study is that it failed to mention the policies in the cities immediately surrounding Brea. You would think this would be a better guide than Anaheim. The cities surrounding Brea: Yorba Linda, no restrictions. Fullerton, no restrictions. La Habra Heights, no restrictions. Whittier, each neighborhood votes. La Habra, alternating sides on 35 streets. The City Manager did model his recommendation on Placentia, but the landscape for Brea is so different that it's not a valid comparison. (He also failed to mention that Placentia's huge projection of $1.4 million dollars per year in revenue was proven wrong as their program breaks even financially.) So, do you think a complete and accurate analysis was done to reach the recommendation brought to the Brea City Council for street sweeping? Is the same being done for Chevron?
Finally, the City Manager presents the following four options, with a recommendation for the first one.
1: Full enforcement, no exemptions.
2: Full enforcement, but residents could apply and pay for an annual exemption.
3: Full enforcement with exemptions for everyone who already pays for an overnight parking permit.
4: Keep current policy (no parking restrictions).
Apparently, the City Manager determined for himself that sweeping alternating sides of the street (thereby giving residents a reasonable place to park on street-sweeping days) was too "administratively cumbersome" and didn't even present it to the Council for consideration!
The City Manager has said that the vast majority of residents are complying with the ordinance and complaints have dropped. However, I would argue that "Compliance does not mean Acceptance"! And, residents know that the complaints are not being logged, so why bother calling to complain? If City Council members actually walked through Brea neighborhoods and spoke with Brea residents about the program, or hung out for a while in the Copy Room at my kids' school, they would certainly get a different response than the distorted picture presented by the City Manager.
Brea residents were not able to vote on this tax before it was implemented by the City, but residents will be able to vote on it in November when City Council members are up for re-election. Residents can clearly see from this resolution how City Council members voted to tax a specific group of residents to raise revenue and balance a budget. They knew the impact this would have on the residents with existing parking issues, and they have shown their indifference to our hardships in the past several months. Since this resolution has clearly not raised the revenue expected and there is a budget gap again, what is the next tax on residents the City Manager will propose to the City Council to raise revenue and close the gap? Thank you.
[click here to download pdf of this presentation]