October 19, 2010

Since this is the last time I will be able to address this council regarding the street sweeping resolution, I wanted to present an overview of the program to members of the audience so they can be informed when heading to the voting booths next month. The City of Brea website claims that most residents are <quote>"reporting satisfaction with the street sweeping program". However, this seems to contradict what council candidates are finding when walking the streets these days and talking to residents.

The City Manager stressed how we should all stick to the facts, so let's do that:

1) In the original staff report, the street sweeping ordinance was projected to generate over $1.4 million dollars per year by ticketing 48,000 cars every year. The staff <quote>" conservatively estimated revenue of $700,000" for the first year. At the 6 month point, the program brought in only about $50,000. An error of over 70%.

2) The city council previously rejected the same street sweeping resolution when it was presented as a <quote> "revenue enhancement". Instead, the staff re-bundled the street sweeping resolution as a need to have clean streets to comply with the NPDES. However, Brea had already complied with and exceeded all regulations as Brea had already swept four times more than recommended by the NPDES.

3) When reviewing the data from the public works department, you will see that the amount of debris collected since the start of the enforcement program has not increased at all. Actually, the amount of debris collected has decreased compared to last year, even though the sweeper isn't driving around cars. So, our streets are NOT any cleaner now that there is an enforcement program. Many residents would say that's because they weren't dirty in the first place.

4) Council members say that the program is needed to keep debris from the Brea watershed since this debris runs directly to the ocean. If the sweeping is now more efficient and is collecting more debris as the staff claim, then the amount of trash collected this year at the Coastal Cleanup should be less than last year, right? Well, it wasn't. Last year, with all those cars parked on the street and debris supposedly building up and dumping into the drains, we collected 1,800 pounds. This year, with street sweeping enforcement, we collected 2,800 pounds of debris. We collected MORE debris from the watershed this year.

From the DATA, not from staff reports, we are not generating $1.4 million dollars in revenue, our street sweepers are not collecting a significantly more amount of debris from the streets and our watershed still has the same amount of debris as it has all these years. This program is a failure on all fronts.
Why didn't the staff present an option for alternating-side sweeping as it's done in most cities? Some argue that it wasn't even considered because it clearly wouldn't generate as much money if residents (especially those of us with short or no driveways) had a place to park on street sweeping day. The staff claimed that alternating-side sweeping was too <quote> "administratively cumbersome". So, now there is an administratively cumbersome program dealing with exemption applications, ticket appeals and a clear lack of signage.

Let me briefly talk about signage. A review of the appeals of the tickets that were issued shows that the majority of tickets are being issued to visitors to Brea who have no idea that there is a ticketing program in effect. Because the signs in Brea do not specify that the parking restriction applies to a <quote> "tract" or "neighborhood", then how could a visitor to Brea reasonably understand that a sign posted as simply <quote> "no parking" applies to a street several blocks away from the posting of that sign? We brought this to the council's attention last month, but, as usual with matters from the audience, we received no response. When the matter is looked into, take a close look at the California Appellate court decision "Homes on Wheels vs. the City of Santa Barbara" in 2004. The city of Brea and staff enacted an ordinance that posted signage that went against a decision that was already clarified in court. So, now there will be an even larger "administratively cumbersome" issue for the city staff to deal with as residents can claim that the signage in Brea is incorrect.

The city council majority still claims that the program is about the need to comply with the NPDES for clean streets and it's not about generating revenue. However, there is a new exemption program for parking on the street on street sweeping day. For $20 per year per vehicle (originally, the staff presented a cost of $100 per vehicle per year to apply for a parking permit), mostly for those of us that already have to pay for overnight parking passes, you can park on the street on street sweeping day.

So, what is Brea's message here???

We need to comply with NPDES for clean streets, but if you pay us an extra $20 per year then we don't really need to comply with NPDES.

I strongly urge residents become informed about the candidates by viewing the video at the brea chamber of commerce. Or ,even better, go to www.breavoices.com to view extended interviews of the candidates to see what they are actually saying about issues that affect all of us in Brea.

Thank you for your time.

[click here to download the pdf of this presentation] - pdf includes all supporting documents