I don't know much about city governance, but I thought it was the City Council that makes the decisions on how the City is run. I thought we used to follow the "Brea Standard" when the City Council used to work with the residents to make policies in the best interest of the City of Brea and the Citizens of Brea. That no longer seems to be the case. Instead, it seems that the City Manager is the one who is making these decisions and running the show when it comes to the new street-sweeping rules.

On Nov. 17, then-Mayor Beauman said for those of us with "a legitimate, rare exception" with "an insurmountable problem that is totally uncorrectable, you need to..contact … Captain Tibitz and explain your situation and see if something can be done about it." But on December 1st, the City Manager insisted, "residents MUST figure out a way to comply." Is it my imagination, or are those two statements contradictory? Whose opinion carries more weight? Apparently, it's the City Manager's, because that is the policy the city is following.

The City Council has determined that residents are required to park just ONE car in a two-car garage, allowing the other side to be used for storage. The City has reviewed my property and has concluded that with my short driveway, I have only ONE legal parking space so I am allowed to purchase overnight parking passes for my other vehicles. However, on December first, the City Manager had apparently re-written the rules by declaring that "people HAVE to figure out a way to accommodate the sweeping operation. If someone has a 2-car garage and can fit two cars on their apron of their driveway, and they have four cars, that does it." Once again, the City Manager's policy trumps the City Council's policy. On street sweeping day, am I supposed to empty my storage onto the street so I can park a second car in my garage?!

In the November 17th Study Session, Councilman Moore asked why the overnight parking permits can't be used as exemptions on street-sweeping day. The City Manager's response was that it doesn't work that way. Isn't it the City Council's job to make such decisions? At that same meeting, Councilman Simonoff asked if the Council was willing to consider street-sweeping exemptions. Again, the City Manager took control by insisting that the program needs to run for six months before such a discussion can take place. I am confused by this apparent chain of command.

The City Manager says: "We continue to suggest that the program is essentially the same as cities in the area." This is NOT true. In fact, NO other city with our terrain sweeps BOTH sides of EVERY street EVERY week. Still, the City Manager has rejected the options of sweeping twice monthly or sweeping alternating sides. He said, "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." It seems this presentation was not based on research, but rather on the City Manager's own biased point of view.

All the while, the City Manager has assured us how they are working so hard to be reasonable, by sweeping around school schedules and exempting landscaping trucks from ticketing. However, these too are broken promises, as a large group of Mariposa parents were ticketed last month while volunteering at the school and just this week, a friend of mine saw several work trucks get warning notices when the street sweeper passed AFTER 2 pm when the parking restrictions were over. I guess I understand why the City Manager continues to claim that there are only a "handful of complaints," since he's not the one answering the phone when the complaints come in and complaints aren't even being tracked. If the "vast, vast majority" of residents are indeed accommodating the new parking restrictions, then issuing a few exemptions for those of us with insurmountable problems should be a trivial matter that certainly won't alter the effectiveness of the overall program.

I am also concerned that the City Council's approval of this resolution was based on an alarming amount of misinformation. The resolution was presented as something that is mandated by the NPDES in order to comply with the Clean Water Act. After it was pointed out that this is not true, the City Manager finally admitted "The NPDES does not require anything." Also, it was originally projected that up to 1.5 million dollars in revenue would be generated by issuing citations. It seems this revenue projection was cut in half and a projection of $700,000 was used to close this year's budget. Now that it is in operation, we are learning that the numbers are closer to $350,000. If research had been properly done, the City Manager would have presented the fact that many cities either break even or make very little revenue on their street-sweeping program, and it would not be the cash cow that it was made out to be here in Brea.

The City Council was not told the truth about the requirements of the NPDES, the cost of odd/even sweeping, the facts about other cities' programs AND the projected revenue. If the City Council had the proper facts at the time, would they have still passed this flawed resolution? Perhaps if they had sought input from the public, as Brea has always done in the past, then some of these errors might have been exposed. Now that the City Council is under new leadership, I am hopeful that the Council will take swift action to correct the problems of this resolution, by seeking public input and putting it on the Council's agenda immediately. I am tired of the City Manager brushing off residents' concerns and making up new rules as he goes. It is the City Council that should be making these decisions and it is the City Council the residents want to hear from. Thank you.

[click here to download pdf of this presentation]