Right to Park: Brea, CA

City Council

On July 7, 2009 the Brea City Council majority of Roy Moore, Don Schweitzer, John Beauman and Ron Garcia voted 4-1 in favor (Marty Simonoff was the only No vote) of a recommendation presented by the City Manager, Tim O'Donnell, to issue tickets to Brea residents with cars parked on the street during street sweeping days. This resolution was originally presented to the City Council in 2008 as a "Revenue Enhancement" and was turned down at that time. In 2009, when the council discussed the current budget, the council majority directed staff to move forward with the street sweeping enforcement program. Originally presented as a "Revenue Enhancement," this same measure was now being presented in a more politically favorable way -- as a way to keep Brea's streets clean. However, after approval of the resolution, the council majority announced they had a "balanced budget" in that street sweeping was projected to produce revenue of $700K the first year.

Brea residents were not able to vote on this "curb tax" before it was implemented by the City, but our goal is that residents will be able to vote on it in November 2010. Residents can clearly see from this resolution how City Council majority voted to tax a specific group of residents to raise revenue and balance a budget. The Council majority knew the impact this would have on the residents with existing parking issues, and they have shown their indifference to Brea residents who have exhibited hardships in the past nine months. Even though they had the ability to select a different enforcement option (including no ticketing and making exemptions available), the City Council elected to choose the program which with the most strict policy with no exemptions. The justification for their choice? "A program with exemptions will generate less revenue than one without." (see the July 2009 Recommendation)

UPDATES

>> July 6, 2010 Study Session, the City Manager recommended to the City Council: "Affirm the Street Sweeping Program and Policies as approved in 2009. Continue enforcement activities utilizing spirit of law principals. Establish a minimum 24-month operational period before consideration of modifications to the current program." That means, keep the enforcement program running as is without any exemptions and the City Council shouldn't look into the program for another 2 years! click here to read the full report

>> July 20, 2010 Council Meeting, the City Manager recommends to the City Council that residents can apply for an exemption by paying a $100 application fee per vehicle annually (and they continue to say it's not about the money and this is not a revenue enhancement!). The resident then must attend a hearing with the Public Works Dept. to establish a hardship for street sweeping days. In addition, residents that apply for street sweeping exemption must also have an active overnight parking pass for the same vehicle. click here to read the full report

>> July 20, 2010 Council Meeting, the City Attorney presented a sample Ballot for the City Council to approve for the November ballot to allow residents to vote. The City Council rejected the initiative to allow Brea residents to vote on street sweeping enforcement. Instead, they decided to continue the current program. The only way to get residents to be able to vote is to gather enough signatures to have it placed on the ballot since this council majority refused its inclusion for November voting. click here to view the ballot measure the city council rejected

>> August 27, 2010. Council member John Beauman wrote in his online blog regarding street sweeping, "I think the City of Brea and the City Council have been responsive to the well being of all its residents. Every decision, including street sweeping, has taken both sides into consideration, with the goal of keeping Brea a great place to live, work and play for all its residents." This City Council has been everything EXCEPT responsive the the concerns of the residents. It has now been one year since the council voted for this program and have yet to make a single modification to the program to help residents who have issues with the program. Mr. Beauman attempts to make it as though he and this council and City Manager have worked with the residents. A response I received from Mr. Beauman was to park my car 1.5 miles from my home at Downtown Brea parking structure and walk home with my small children and consider it my weekly exercise. I do not consider this to be "responsive to the well being of all its residents." Plain and simple: This program was implimented as a way to raise revenue based on erroneous data. The program is failing and the city council majority still refuses to address the problems. view Mr. Beauman's blog here for the complete text

>> August 17, 2010 Council Meeting, the City Manager was asked the details of the parking exemption application process. The City Manager responded with "No Comment" and the City Council did not follow up to request a response to a resident's inquiry into the details. This City Manager and Council don't consider the resident's concerns when making policy. The City Manager continues to dictate and control this City Council majority. We are still awaiting the details of the newly proposed parking exemption... click here to read the questions posed to the City Manager regarding the program

>> September 7, 2010. September 7, 2010: Residents opposing the street sweeping ordinance are referred to as "The Dark Side" by Councilmember John Beauman and supported by Mayor Ron Garcia. click here to view Mr. Beauman's blog

If this city council majority identifies those whose opinions differ from their own as the enemy, then how are we supposed to work together? If Brea RESIDENTS are viewed as the "dark side," then how in the world is the city council majority going to work WITH residents for the betterment of the community? These ongoing demonstrations of contempt for the residents of Brea show just how broken the current city council is.

>> September 7, 2010. EXEMPTIONS!!! Finally! One year later! Even if they do look exactly like the overnight parking exemptions, Brea residents can now pay an additional $20 per year per vehicle to apply for an exemption to park on the street on street sweeping day. Although, we do encourage you to park off the road, if possible, even if you do obtain a parking permit. Here is the link to the city's website to apply for a permit. Brea Parking Permit Website

>> October 1, 2010: The Inner City Coastal Cleanup Day in Brea on September 25, 2010 cleaned up an estimated 2,800 a pounds of debris in the watershed (great job Brea volunteers!). Last year, the Costal Cleanup Day cleaned an estimated 1,800 pounds of debris in the watershed. If street sweeping was supposed to keep the debris from getting into the watershed, why did we collect MORE debris than we did last 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.

>> March 15, 2011; 5:15 Study Session Conference Room Level 3 - Street Sweeping Parking Enforcement is finally on the Agenda. Click here for the related Staff Report (note that 6 of the 8 options include continued ticketing). Click here for a summary of street sweeping data compiled by this website.

>> November 2, 2010: The election of Brett Murdock to Brea City Council. Brett has heard the residents complain about the program while walking the streets of Brea during his campaign. At the Chamber of Commerce candidate interview (and Brea Voices interview), Brett voiced his desire to repeal the parking ban on street sweeping day. We look forward to working with you on this issue.

Update: Brett Murdock voted with the council majority to continue the street sweeping ticketing despite his professed intentions to repeal the ticketing during his campaign . Marty Siminoff remains the only council member in favor of eliminating the ticketing program.

>> May 3, 2011: The council voted last night (3-2 with Brett Murdock and Marty Simonoff as the minority) to keep the current street sweeping enforcement program going. Residents who disapprove of the ticketing were labeled as "whiners" last night by Mayor Moore. Mayor Moore also claims the majority of the public supports the ticketing program based on the 76% that answered as such in the city survey conducted by the City Manager questioning 400 residents at a cost of $24,000. Due to those results, and a lack of public outcry (dismissed as a "Starkey Problem"), the ticketing program will remain. Marty and Brett finally got the council majority (Garcia, Schweitzer and Moore) to admit that the original intent of the program was to raise revenue and not have alternating-side sweeping in order to raise more income. This admission comes after two years of denying that was why the program was implemented in the first place when presented by public comments at Matters from the Audience at the City Council Meetings. Brett Murdock made a compelling argument that the 20% that are affected have much bigger hardships than the 20% of residents that complain about neighbors parking in front of their residence on street sweeping day. Their guess is that 60% of residents don't care because they have long driveways and are typically at work on street sweeping day. Brett also brought up how much city staff time and effort is being put into a failed program when Brea Directors are going out to residents' homes to survey their appeals and how this punitive program is "just not what Brea is all about." The ticket prices were just raised to offset the costs of this program. Don Schweitzer was concerned about making sure residents have an option for exemptions when there is no place for residents to park on street sweeping day. Don spent some time driving around Brea to locate particular problem areas in Brea and attempted to get reasonable alternatives for these residents. However, Mayor Moore felt that the spirit of Brea was to help the residents complaining about neighbors parking in front of other neighbors' homes and concerned about the "warring factions of residents" if ticketing did not continue instead of the hardships of those residents without driveways or adequate residential parking. The fact that Brea had already swept its streets at FOUR times the required rate by any agency (NPDES or OC BMP as claimed by the City Manager and quoted on the tickets and city website) was ignored again as it was made perfectly clear that it is about raising revenue. No city in Orange County (or all of CA for that matter) sweeps more frequently and issues tickets as Brea does with its current policy of sweeping both sides of every residential street every week. All cities that have an enforcement program offer alternating-side sweeping to deal with parking hardships for residents, except Brea.

It's been a long year and a half battling the city council and city manager on this issue, but failed with a 3-2 vote. Marty agreed with us that if they had just done alternating-sides no one would have ever complained. The council did plan to reduce the hours of restricted parking from 6 hours to 2 hours and the signs are supposed to be updated throughout the town. We realize that for residents with a complete lack of parking, reducing it to 2 hours does not eliminate the problem. The council also rejected the option that overnight parking passes (which residents must apply and pay for already) automatically work as an exemption for the street sweeper. Our position was that if a resident proves that they have a parking issue at night and the city grants an overnight parking pass, then it is unlikely that the parking problem simply goes away during the day. Since the council confirmed that this is a revenue generating policy, then offering alternating-side sweeping or automatic use of overnight parking passes would reduce the income to the city. Apparently, three Brea residents contacted the city to apply for a street sweeping exemption, but only one was granted.

Thank you for your support.
Mike and Laurie Starkey

Click here to view the Coastal Cleanup Information

Click here to view the street sweeping collection data from the Public Works Dept.

Brea residents deserve to have input!

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