Brea residents collecting signatures to end street sweeping tickets

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Almost 5,000 residents of Brea have received $38 parking tickets since October of last year, on days that they were not supposed to park in the street, due to the City of Brea’s street sweeping resolution.

That’s a lot of tickets.

How much is $38?  Well, if you make $10 an hour, that is almost four hours of work.  For working families that is a huge hit.

The ticketing program, estimated to bring in $1.4 million in revenue in the first fiscal year, has made about $200,000 from October through June, said Public Works Director Charlie View, who oversees the program, according to the O.C. Register.

Brea residents Mike and Laurie Starkey have had enough of this.  They are collecting signatures for a ballot measure called the “Right to Park Act” that will end the ticketing once and for all.

Starkey said she has been able to gather nearly 600 signatures in the month since she began the parking campaign and she fully expects to gather enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot, according to the Voice of OC.

The Starkeys offer these explanations as to why the Brea Street Sweeping resolution should be repealed:

  1. Residents and visitors to Brea’s neighborhoods have no place to park on street-sweeping day! First, let it be clear that we are not against clean streets in Brea. We are against the City Council targeting Brea residents as financial prey to balance the budget by passing an unfair “curb tax” (without citizens’ vote) that tickets Brea residents who require street parking on street sweeping day. Not all residents have long driveways or garages … many residents require on-street parking and pay for on-street overnight parking passes, but their right to park on the streets is revoked each and every street-sweeping day when they are forced to evacuate their neighborhoods. Since September 2009, the City Council majority has chosen to ignore the hardships of Brea residents. click to see transcripts of Matters from the Audience
  2. The resolution was enacted to generate revenue. The resolution was enacted to balance the budget and the original projections of revenue are off by more than 90%. The program only generated $50,000 in its first fiscal year instead of the reported $1.3 million and $700,000 “conservatively” projected by the City Manager. The following years’ projections of $1.4 million annually are completely incorrect and now revised to closer to $200,000. This City Council majority planned to ticket 48,000 of its own residents to raise $1.4 million annually with a curb tax and hoped residents wouldn’t speak up! click to view the July 2009 resolution
  3. This resolution was passed based on misinformation and grossly inaccurate projections. The original recommendation provided by the City Manager to the council was filled with bad data, misleading information and egregious errors and was incorrect by over 90% in his estimates. The City Manager continues to provide the council with misinformation and calculations that are off by over 90% to 300%! click for more errors regarding the resolution (there are many!)
  4. The resolution is not about the NPDES. It is not about clean streets and it is not mandated by a government requirement, even though the NPDES is repeatedly cited as justification for the resolution. According to the City Manager, Brea had “already swept its streets at twice the rate required by the NPDES”. Actually, Brea sweeps at more than four times the rate required by the NPDES, and there is no requirement that streets should be clear of parked cars on street-sweeping day. The fact is that Brea had already complied and exceeded all local and federal requirements for street sweeping prior to the resolution.
  5. The streets are not cleaner because of the resolution. While some residents may be looking at their own street and noticing that it appears cleaner, most of us have the same clean streets we had when the sweeper used to drive around our parked cars. The overall cleanliness of Brea streets has not been significantly impacted by the enforcement program. As a matter of fact, based on the existing debris data, there has been NO increase in debris collected since parking restrictions were enacted. click here to see the debris data
  6. The carbon footprint…forget about Brea being a “green” city! The addition of two enforcement vehicles following the street sweeper for over 15,000 miles per year to issue tickets adds an additional 9+ TONS of CO2 into our air and tons of additional pollution. This is reason alone to abandon the enforcement program. click here to see the carbon footprint data
  7. This resolution was adopted with NO input from the public. This decision was made behind closed doors in a Study Session (these are never recorded or televised) and based on a seriously flawed recommendation with staff. There was no public hearing and no opportunity for the public to provide input until it was too late. Why were residents not consulted? Why were we not given the opportunity to vote on this matter? click here to read articles from the OC Register
  8. Access to Brea’s schools, public parks and neighborhoods are severely restricted by this resolution. Want to host a playgroup or a have a birthday party or just invite a friend over? Can’t be on street-sweeping day! Any visitor to a neighborhood must find a driveway in which to park, or they will risk being ticketed. The City Council has refused to exempt school streets from ticketing, and parents who are volunteering or attending school functions have already been ticketed. When asked when the street sweeper usually comes to the Brea Plunge (which requires almost entirely on-street parking), the parking enforcement officer replied that in comes on Tuesday some time between 8 am and 2 pm. When told about swim lessons, the parking enforcement officer suggested that parents “not take swim lessons on Tuesdays to avoid ticketing.” As parents bringing kids to swim lessons know, the lessons are five days a week, Monday – Friday.
  9. The burden to certain residents to comply with this resolution is overwhelming. Residents who have small to nonexistent driveways (Ash Street Cottages, the hills, cul-de-sacs) and those with multiple drivers have no place to park on street sweeping day. These hardships disproportionately affect families, stay-at-home parents, the self-employed and retirees. The City Council majority’s insistence that we should just listen for the street sweeper and rush outside to move our cars in time is NOT a real solution. Even though residents apply and pay for overnight parking passes, the City Council refused to recognize this as a parking situation that would need to be addressed on street sweeping day. Instead of providing exemptions, the City Council implemented a program with NO exemptions in order to generate more revenue. click here to learn more about hardships
  10. Brea residents with limited parking on their property will have problems selling their homes. Many Brea neighborhoods have severely restricted parking situations. These developments were approved by the City, and residents purchased these properties knowing they had the right to park on the street. The right to park on the street has been revoked by this resolution. This serious problem will have to be disclosed when residents attempt to sell their homes, rendering many properties unacceptable to certain buyers (especially families).
  11. Residents’ vehicles are put at risk when parked in public lots. Since ALL street parking is prohibited throughout several adjacent neighborhoods on street-sweeping day, residents are forced to move their cars to various public lots and parking garages (up to a mile away from their homes) to avoid ticketing. This resolution not only denies these residents access to their personal property on street-sweeping day, but it puts their vehicles at risk of vandalism and theft since they are left unattended all night every week.
  12. This is a one-size-fits-all, extreme parking policy that is seriously flawed. Why wasn’t a smarter program, like alternating sides of the street in other cities or one that included hardship exemptions proposed? Why weren’t residents who clearly have a parking problem at their residence and pay for overnight parking passes exempt? This would clean our streets just as effectively. However, it would not have generated as much revenue! Why must EVERY street in Brea in EVERY unique neighborhood be swept EVERY week, when many neighboring cities sweep twice per month? The Orange County Best Management Practices indicates that street sweeping frequency should be based on factors such as traffic volume, and that parking restrictions should be considered in problem areas, but Brea’s plan ignores these recommendations.
  13. Why do we have to ticket at all? When Brea wanted to start a water preservation program, they simply asked the residents to help, resulting in a decrease of over 10% of water usage. The city did not first implement a program to fine residents using too much water. Simply asking the residents to comply produced positive results. Why not just ask residents to help with street sweeping by removing their cars first? Since this was a revenue-generating resolution, the first action was to enact an extreme program to ticket as many residents as possible. Is this the new “Spirit of Brea”? Voluntary parking restrictions work in Fullerton and Yorba Linda, where no cars are ticketed on street-sweeping day.
  14. So, now that there’s a budget gap again, what’s next? Now that the street sweeping program has not generated the amount of revenue that had been wildly anticipated, what cash-grab is the City Council going to go after next in order to bridge the budget deficit? Perhaps the City Council will pass a resolution to ticket people walking their dogs on the city sidewalks because a few dog owners failed to clean up after their dog and it generated 18 complaint calls per month (this was the number of complaints received about cars parked in the street on street-sweeping day). They could argue that it’s about cleaning up the city, but it would really be about raising revenue. Such an across-the-board prohibition would be unfairly punative and burdensome to all dog owners. Should only dog owners stand up to voice their disapproval of such an ordinance, or should we all stand up to fight a law that is unjust? Perhaps this parking resolution does not affect you since you have a long driveway or not many cars/drivers in your family. However, what if the City Council arbitrarily decided to issue tickets for something that was unavoidable for you?
  15. Let’s put an end to business as usual: the City Council should look elsewhere to balance the budget. The amount of waste in Brea is significant due to continuously increasing salaries and programs that cost Brea citizens a lot of money. It is time for ordinary citizens to get involved and cut down on this excessive spending and waste. Also, we need to put an end to the current City Council majority’s exclusive reliance on staff reports filled with faulty data. Bad advice leads to bad decisions!

The Starkeys also state that “The Open Governance Petition is related to this as it gives residents a tool to keep an ‘eye’ on the City Council. In the City Council Study Session, when the parking resolution was discussed as a revenue enhancement, the residents did not have the option to have the session taped for public viewing. If that was taped, you would see how the resolution was used to balance the budget, but presented to the public as a street cleaning issue. With the Open Governance Petition, the City Council and City Manager will become accountable to the residents they serve instead of their own interests (i.e. $). Learn more at”

Click here to contact the Starkeys.

About Art Pedroza