September 23, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Harsh Penalties for Trivial Violations Reduced in Santa Monica:

Minor city violations, such as riding a bike on the sidewalk, are now issued with citations, a major change from the lengthy procedure of going to court for a misdemeanor.

City staff recommended the process as a way to increase the amount of fines collected as well as simplify an unnecessary court process for residents. Currently, unless otherwise specified, any violation of the Santa Monica Municipal Code is a misdemeanor. City Council agreed on Nov. 23 to allow the option of treating a violation to certain ordinances similar to a traffic fine.

Riding a bike on sidewalks or in parking structures, remaining in City parking structures for reasons other than parking, and leaving property unattended on certain public property, are all violations that will be treated with citations. This also includes specific codes to the “use and enjoyment” of public parks, most importantly how one acts in a park.

When a person is charged with a misdemeanor, he or she must appear in court to answer the charges.  The person doesn’t have the option to pay a fine online or by mail, as is the case with citation violations. Treating these violations as infractions will allow the person charged with the offense to resolve the matter in the same way as a traffic violation, by simply paying a fine. 

Santa Monica Police Officers could issue citations as either infractions or misdemeanors for specific, sometimes controversial City codes. The ordinance also expands the list of City staff authorized to issue citations to the Office of Sustainability and the Environment Inspectors, License Inspectors, and Animal Control Officers. 

The City Council reviewed the City code after receiving a complaint from a resident who received a misdemeanor citation for riding his bicycle on a public sidewalk, according to the staff report. The person paid for the citation, but complained about the “inconvenience of going to court.” The Council unanimously agreed on Tuesday for the possibility to reduce the consequences for these minor violations.

Michael Cahn, a cyclist advocate and member of Santa Monica Spoke, lamented that reducing the citation did not address the “larger issue” of safer road conditions. He proposed using this occasion as an opportunity to involve police offers as educators, not just enforcers, for bikers who are often unaware of Santa Monica’s laws. The laws do not promote riding bicycles, Cahn said, curbing an opportunity for a systematic approach by the City to deal with violations.

Gary Cavanaugh, another Spoke representative, encouraged reducing violations to infractions, describing misdemeanors as too strong. He pointed to legislation in Oregon and Austin, Texas that allows police officers to connect cyclists to education classes instead of simply enacting fines, a process that could be implemented in Santa Monica.

The problem with still be an issue on streets such as Lincoln Boulevard until it becomes less of an “hostile environment,” he said about people riding their bikes on the sidewalk for safety reasons.

The City of Los Angeles does not cite cyclists for riding on the sidewalk. L.A. also revoked a bike license registration that overcharged according to state law, a similar situation that city attorneys said will be addressed by Santa Monica at a later date.

in News
Related Posts

Risks Posed by Wildfire Smoke

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

UCLA pulmonologist on how people can tell if the wildfires are making them sick By Toi Creel Even if you...

Will Los Angeles County See Another Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

County health officials keeping close eye on data this week By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health officials are monitoring...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Fire Department Fighting Blazes Across State

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

The Santa Monica Fire Department has been busy helping combat wildfires burning throughout the state. Learn more in this video...

Lawmakers and Residents Take Steps Towards Police Reform

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Santa Monica residents will soon have more control of policing after local lawmakers took significant steps to reform the Santa...

2020 Census Due September 30th: Santa Monica Beat – September, 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * 2020 Census Due September 30th * Bobcat Fire Reaches Historical Size...

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica Offers Free “Living With Diabetes” Zoom Patient Conference

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

By Staff Writer Although the novel coronavirus has dominated the health space this year, other diseases — like diabetes —...

SMa.r.t. Column: Spending and Pension Policies Are Undermining Our City’s Future

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Our guest columnist this week is Marc L. Verville. He is a native of Santa Monica, now lives in Sunset...

4.6 Quake Felt in Santa Monica

September 19, 2020

September 19, 2020

4.6 magnitude quake recorded Friday night By Sam Catanzaro A 4.6 magnitude earthquake struck the San Gabriel Valley Friday sending...

Edify TV: Miramar Santa Monica Redevelopment

September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

The Santa Monica skyline may look different in the future with a major redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel &...

‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ Mansion For Rent On AirBnb

September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

Today on Westside Cribz, 30th anniversary of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Airbnb is renting out the mansion for...

SMMUSD Kindergarten Enrollment Down 20% : Santa Monica Beat – September, 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * SMMUSD Kindergarten Enrollment Down 20% * As Covid-19 Cases Drop Will...

Edify TV: Sit-down Dining Safety?

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Despite a recent CDC report stating the risks of in-person dining, many Westside restaurant patrons feel the experience is safe....

Sur La Table Closing Santa Monica Location

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

1930s building listed for lease By Sam Catanzaro Sur La Table, the popular kitchenware retail chain, is closing its downtown...

Death by Suicide at Santa Monica Place

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Man dies by suicide Wednesday morning By Sam Catanzaro A man died by suicide at Santa Monica Place mall Wednesday....

Santa Monica Partners With Local Elementary Schools to Provide More Outdoor Spaces

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Playground Partnership agreement goes live By Toi Creel The City of Santa Monica and local schools are working together to...