For the past few council meetings and correspondence in between meetings, I and other residents have brought up issues regarding the street sweeping ordinance that is making it difficult on a specific group of residents; namely, those residents with more vehicles than parking spaces on their property. After bringing up these issues, the City Manager and City Council members respond with information that is inconsistent which I'd like to point out.
1) After I spoke at the last
council meeting, the City Manager and Mayor redirected the focus of the complaints
of residents to being complaints from "The Starkeys" and attempted
to make this an issue that is only impacting one family. However, just prior
to my remarks, another resident had voiced their problem with the street sweeping
ordinance as well and their comments were disregarded and ignored in response.
The City Manager questioned our use of our garage (which is used to store a
vehicle) and made the issue about "the Starkeys".
If the City Manager and Council wants to change the focus of the issue to be "the Starkeys" parking situation, that's fine, because our situation reflects many of the residents with small driveways in my neighborhood. However, I would think the residents from the Ash Street Cottages that have no garages and no driveways at all may have issues with their parking as well. This is not a problem specific to the Starkeys.
2) The City Manager referred to the street sweeping and says "Frankly, I'm pretty pleased with the way that the street sweeping implementation has gone "
That's great that the City Manager is "happy" with new ordinance. That, however, doesn't seem to be same opinion of many of the residents with parking issues raised by the new ordinance. I thought the City Council was supposed to help make the residents "happy", not the City Manager.
3) "Frankly, out of
the 13,000 households we have in Brea, we have literally only received a handful
At an earlier council meeting, there was a city employee who held up a stack of papers and presented them to the council prior to the resolution being passed saying essentially, "Look, I have 18 complaints here about residents not getting the front of their houses swept." Mr. Moore followed up with saying that a resident at the Country Fair approached him and said "We have to pass this thing". But, when trying to get a number of residents who have complained about the new ordinance, the city is not logging those complaints. So, there isn't a definitive number of complaints to report other than the City Manager saying "a handful". Seeing as how the city has issued over 1,000 tickets so far, my guess is that if the city was logging complaints there would be close to 1,000 people that are not in favor of the implementation of the new ordinance. However, the City Manager was quick to point out in the Study Session that they received 3 letters complimenting the clean streets.
4)"The Starkeys have
been persistent and we've been working with them extensively".
Continually telling us that there are no exceptions and telling me that I should park my car a mile and a half away from my home at the downtown parking structure after calling the Police Watch Commander to ask for permission, is not what I would describe as working with us extensively. And, when we recently emailed the city for clarification of what possible temporary exemptions would be allowed, the Mayor essentially said that the city has done everything possible to suggest remedies to help our situation, but there is no standard for temporary exemptions. It is up to the current watch commander to allow exemptions.
5) "We continue to
suggest that the program is essentially the same as cities in the area with
the exception, obviously, of a city that does not have an enforcement program
Mr. Siminoff responded: "To say that we've modeled this and doing this as other communities does it, No, this is pretty much cut and dry that you either move your car or you get cited."
I have a list of other communities in our area and what the City Manager is saying is not what research has found when contacting other cities. In fact, no other city with hilly neighborhoods like mine or tightly packed ones like the Ash Street Cottages sweeps BOTH sides of EVERY street EVERY week with a parking restriction policy that covers massive territories in a single day. In some cities, like West Covina and Whittier, street-sweeping restrictions are enacted in a given neighborhood only after a majority of residents sign a petition or vote to allow it. In La Mirada, residents are allowed to park on their lawns on street-sweeping days. For 35 of La Habra's streets, alternating sides of the street are swept on different days in order to give residents a reasonable place to park. And again, I would also like to point out that Fullerton has NO parking restrictions on street-sweeping days. Yet, the City Manager continues to say that the program is the same as in other communities. At least now, he has added the word "essentially" when claiming that fact.
6) "NPDES does not
That is exactly true. The NPDES does not require anything. However, the warning tickets that were issued said "The City needs to comply with NPDES" and when the resolution was presented originally, it was to comply with NPDES and the CWA. I find it misleading that this ordinance was brought forward as a need to clean streets to comply with the NPDES requirements, yet the NPDES does not require anything. If the NPDES doesn't "require anything", then Brea clearly already complied with the needs of NPDES before the street sweeping ordinance was even put in place. Why did Brea preemptively enact an ordinance when one wasn't needed? And, I also find it curious on how this new resolution was voted upon and them moments later the city's budget shortfall was fixed.
7) "The City Council
did extensive research and discussion about the street sweeping program. The
City Council was presented with an odd-even strategy with an explanation that
it is much more expensive, requires signage far in excess of what we can do
on a total track basis as we are doing now and was subsequently rejected as
too administratively cumbersome and too expensive to implement."
The odd-even was too "administratively cumbersome" for the city, so instead residents would have to take the brunt of the punishment and responsibility for resolving parking issues on their own. Now that the city has issued over 1,000 tickets at $38 per ticket, I suggest that the city could use some of that $40,000 it taxed the residents to change some of the signs and implement an odd-even plan in some of the zones that have parking issues, not a complete, city-wide change.
8) "There are alternatives
that each of the homeowners have to employ to best fit their particular circumstance.
We are trying our best to accommodate them whenever we can. "
Again, the city is saying that the residents must resolve their own parking issues. This is unlike other cities where residents can actually vote on the policies that affect their lives.
The City OK'd the construction of our homes with small garages and with small-to-non-existent driveways with the understanding that on-street parking is available. After all, that is why we applied for, pay for and receive overnight parking passes for the vehicles that do not fit on our property.
9) "Overall, I think
the implementation is going quite well. In proportion to the number of exposures
we have, the number of complaints is actually quite small. And, we'll continue
to commit to working with these people to try to manage it within reason."
"It does require that some people adjust their habits slightly."
The city keeps saying that residents must adjust their "habits". Like having more drivers and vehicles at a residence than parking spaces is a habit. Responses such as these just suggest that this City Manager and City Council are just out of touch.
10) Spirit of the law.
"We hope we're talking about a 10 minute period once a week, which most
people, in fact, it's proven, have accommodated that and we're willing to work
with these few people to help them comply as well."
There is a street in our neighborhood with short driveways and no on-street parking because the street is too narrow. In this case, the residents on this street with more cars than parking already have to park down the street and walk to their cars since they cannot park in front of their house. And, because of the lack of an odd-even plan, there is no place for them to park down the street either. Suggesting that they just move their car when they hear the sweeper approaching is insulting and completely unreasonable, especially if there is more than one car that needs to be moved as the sweeper approaches as their car is not just simply parked in front of their own homes and have to react to the sweeper. Some residents have parked in Fanning School parking lot as a solution and last week a car left in that lot was vandalized.
And, since the City Manager likes to annualize numbers presented to the council, the 10 minutes per week he suggests means that the residents must spend over 8 and a 1/2 hours per year driving around the street sweeper since the odd-even plan would be too cumbersome for the city. What about the burden the city has placed on residents?
11) Mayor: "The Police
have gone out and visited [the Starkeys], and I think a number of times to try
and help them resolve their parking situation." "We have made every
accommodation possible to accommodate 3 out of the 4 vehicles
worked very hard to resolve unusual situations including short driveways."
Mr. Simonoff said it best when he said "In essence we're creating exemptions in commercial zones because we're not going to cite or enforce there, but when it comes to the residents, we're basically telling the residents you need to figure out what to do and if you have to park a mile and a half away (and I've seen those emails), then park a mile and a half away. And, I don't understand how that is actually working to resolve the issue."
FYI: The Police came to our house once to pick up a ticket that was mistakenly issued to a vehicle that was supposed to be exempt on that day. The officer that visited recognized our situation and our other neighbors and his only suggestion was to continue to bring the issue up with the City Council because "they are a reasonable group".
12) Mayor Beauman: "People
can live a normal life".
No, Mr. Mayor, we're not. Is spending another Tuesday night speaking to the City Council about street sweeping living a normal life? And by suggesting that parking a mile and a half from my home is a reasonable solution suggests to me that this council is out of touch.
13) The City Manager said that 99.9% of the city is not having a problem. If that's the case, then simply granting exemptions to that .1% that are clearly struggling would not have any effect on the clean streets.
14) If it's about clean streets and not generating revenue, then why does the city constantly measure the success of the resolution in terms of number of tickets per day? The Study Session didn't reveal how many additional tons of debris is being cleaned throughout the city now that the ordinance has been in place.
15) From the Study Session, it certainly seems like the City Manager is the one running the show. The tail is wagging the dog and the residents are getting stuck with the wrong end.
16) One of the first issues
I brought up with this ordinance was that within any school zone parents volunteering
at the school should never be ticketed. I was told by the Council that they
altered the routes and timing of the sweeper in order to avoid this ever happening.
However, within the first 6 weeks we've already had an instance of multiple
parents at school being ticketed. Can we assume that if there are cars parked
at a school, they are parked there for a good reason? Do we really want to send
the message to the parents that volunteer at the schools that we really appreciate
your Spirit of Brea and volunteering for our kids in school, but if you park
on the street, you'll get a ticket? Can we please just drive around and not
ticket these cars or is the revenue from these residents so necessary that we'd
rather have their $38 than their time with our kids. The Brea website has the
headline "Volunteers Needed
Make a Difference". Should it include
the text in there to just be careful when and where you park while making a
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