"The Spirit of Brea". I see these signs all around town; in newspapers, online and at an award ceremony in these chambers. Quotes from the Mayor saying that in "times of overwhelming economic problems" "that everyone in government must take closer look at how business gets done". And that "in spite of concerns about cutbacks and reductions, Mayor Beauman particularly wanted to chose a theme [for the city] to help remember that our values are important to see this through." The Mayor "observed that positive community feelings are nurtured through city services, programs, places, or events that gather people together for shared feelings and experiences." So, the theme for the city is "The Spirit of Brea".
That is the sentiment that reminds me of why I moved to Brea 13 years ago; the community, neighbors working together and the family feeling in this town.
Then, the City Council and City Manager passes this street sweeping ordinance. Or, as some previous speakers to this council have referred to it as "the cash grab" or the "curb tax".
I see volunteers at schools getting tickets for parking on the street while committing their time to helping our kids in school. I see parents coming home for lunch and getting tickets. I hear stories about kids driving home sick from school and getting tickets. I see neighbors getting tickets because they are on vacation. These residents, our neighbors, are getting tickets for parking in front of their own homes. These are not people who don't care about the streets of our town being clean. These are not people who are speeding down our streets and endangering anyone or intentionally breaking the laws. These are not people who need to clean out their garages. These are not people who need to go rent storage for their vehicles. These are people who bought homes that don't have long driveways, or have no garages or driveways at all. These are people who have more drivers and vehicles in their family, than parking on their property. These are people who are getting tickets for parking their cars in front of their homes at the wrong time on the wrong day. These people are violating a parking restriction that was put in place by this Council and City Manager to fix a problem that didn't exist; to comply with requirements that the city had already met and exceeded. The City Manager stands here and says "The NPDES does not require anything". However, the warning tickets that were issued and posted online say that "The City needs to comply with NPDES" and when the resolution was presented originally, it was to comply with NPDES and the CWA. If the NPDES doesn't "require anything", then Brea clearly already complied before the street sweeping ordinance was even put in place. Therefore, why a need for the ordinance at all? I guess that's why they referred to it as the "cash grab" and "curb tax".
You know who has the "Spirit of Brea"? Fullerton does. Whittier does. Yorba Linda does. These are towns that got together as a community to determine the direction their City takes that directly affects the residents. The Brea city council went behind closed doors to pass this one on us.
Our City Manager says:
"We continue to suggest that the program is essentially the same as cities in the area".
Mr. Siminoff responded: "To say that we've modeled this and doing this as other communities do it, No, this is pretty much cut and dry, that you either move your car or you get cited." (I'd like to apologize in Mr. Simonoff because I have referred to the "City Council" in my remarks, but you are not the target of my complaints since you are the only council member that has sided with the resident's in the new street sweeping ordinance and I thank you.)
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 these 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. In some cities, like 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 Yorba Linda, there are street signs posted for street sweeping days and times and ask the residents to do their best to keep their cars off the street so the street can be swept. And, if residents cannot completely remove their cars, make sure they move it to a cleaner area on the street. This is what Brea used to do. This is what I used to do. 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. But, at least now, he has added the word "essentially" when claiming that Brea's policy is 'essentially' the same as other cities.
The City Manager also says:
"Frankly, out of the 13,000 households we have in Brea, we have literally
only received a handful of complaints," and "the vast, vast majority
At a previous 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, "Look, I have 18 complaints here about residents not getting the front of their houses swept." Mr. Moore followed up with saying that this ordinance would help comply with NPDES and that a resident at the Brea 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". At the Study Session, the City didn't even consider that the 60 people who are contesting their tickets are "complaining" about them. Seeing as how the city has issued over 1,500 tickets so far, my guess is that if the city was logging complaints and polling the residents, there would be probably be close to 1,500 people complaining and 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 and logged 3 letters complimenting the clean streets.
In 2008 this council rejected this ordinance when it was proposed as a "revenue enhancement". In 2009, you then accepted it as a way to address the 18 complaints per month and comply with NPDES. We know that the NPDES issue is not true. But now, the city is dealing with 60 complaints a month regarding the new ordinance instead of coming up with a way of dealing with the 18 complaints. And, the original projection of $1.4 million dollars in revenue that was detailed in May then dropped to $700K in revenue in the budget to now $350K based on the results in the Study Session. (And, I contend that this projection is not accurate either.) But, the expenses of dealing with the new ordinance with staff and police time, dealing complaints and hearings for the residents contesting tickets clearly outweighs what it would have taken to deal with the just 18 complaints in the first place. If the city council had done the research it said it did, they would have read the report from Placentia that said "This is the same restriction that was put in place in Placentia about 5 years ago. Their fines are $47 and according to a city council member, "The first year we made a little revenue. Today, the program breaks even". Instead of hearing the same information from the City Manager, I'd like to hear responses directly from the council members, as we almost heard during the Study Session, about questioning issues that have been raised by this "revenue enhancement". The city council has implemented a flawed program brought forward under misleading, misguided and erroneous data that affects the daily lives of the residents and are too timid to correct the flaws.
When contacting the Mayor, City Manager and Council telling them that there are many residents with serious parking issues in some areas of Brea, the response from the Mr. Beauman was that with the current resolution "People can live a normal life". No, Mr. Beauman, we're not. Is spending another Tuesday night speaking to the City Council about street sweeping living a normal life? Are residents who come to these meetings and tell you that they are losing sleep trying to deal with this ordinance living a normal life? Is sitting around with keys in hand listening for the street sweeper so you can move your car every week living a normal life? Your personal solution to resolve my parking issue was for me and my family to park a mile and a half from my home at the downtown parking structure after first calling the Police Department to alert them to me parking there, and claim that that is a reasonable solution and that you have "worked very hard to resolve unusual situations including short driveways" suggests to me that this council is out of touch with the issue and how it's affecting the residents. Can you even claim that your solution to my problem complies with your own theme of the "Spirit of Brea"?
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
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