Residents say they were not notified resumption of regular sweeping this week
By Sam Catanzaro
Many Santa Monica residents are voicing frustration after getting hit with $73 parking tickets, saying they were not informed that weekly street sweeping returned to the city this week.
The City of Santa Monica suspended street sweeping and citations associated with street sweeping on March 17, 2020, as part of the City’s fourth emergency ordinance in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 1, 2020 street sweeping and related citations resumed in Santa Monica, but only on a monthly basis, during the first full week of each month.
On June 22, 2021, weekly street sweeping was reinstated to start in September as part of Santa Monica’s biennial budget. Due to Laboy Day, however, the weekly street sweeping began on Monday, August 30, and many residents were caught off guard.
One of these residents is Gary Gurner, who has lived in the area of Idaho Avenue and 16th Street since the mid 1970s, and got a parking ticket Tuesday for not moving his car to make way for street sweeping.
“As you know, during the ongoing pandemic, street sweeping was only taking place the first full week of every month. I checked last week and the website indicated that regulation was still in effect,” Gurner said. “I don’t know a single resident who was notified of this sudden change including me. A friend told me that he spoke with one of the parking enforcement officers on 3rd Street yesterday and that they were late because “we were writing so many more parking tickets. The city needed to alert residents regarding this change in a better way. Had that been done, I could have easily moved my car to avoid this $73.00 ticket.”
Just a few blocks away from Gurner’s residence, Kevin Laffey shared a similar experience about receiving a parking ticket Tuesday. Laffey, who lives in an apartment building on 19th Street, says nobody in the complex was notified by the City.
“No one in our complex is aware that as of today street sweeping days have gone from once a month to once every week again after well over a year,” Laffey said on Tuesday. “We weren’t notified directly by the city via text, email or flyer, our landlord wasn’t informed, nor have the parking signs been updated. They didn’t have to be as they were never changed in the first place when sweeping went monthly! Because of that, our community has always been kept guessing when to move our cars due to the lack of communication and consideration on the part of the City of Santa Monica.”
“The SMPD Parking Enforcement division should be prepared for a backlog of complaints, contested tickets, and angry citizens. A more cynical person might think that for the City to not have been transparent, and by not alerting the public in a fulsome way, this irresponsible inaction is really just a money grab that prays on us unsuspecting tax payers. To be fair, however, they’d only be half right,” Laffey added.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the City said the August 30 date for resumed weekly sweeping was shared through the City’s website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor, the bi-weekly SaMoNews community newsletter and digital message boards throughout Santa Monica. The only physical notification about the return of weekly street sweeping, however, was in the September edition of Seascape, the City’s official monthly newsletter. The announcement was made in a small text box on the bottom of page 2.
The Santa Monica Mirror has reached out to the City following up, asking if it expected every resident to carefully read Seascape to learn about the return of weekly street sweeping, considering not all residents follow the City on social media. In addition, the Mirror asked the City if all residents received an issue of Seascape. The following response was received from Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer for the Cit, after this article was initially published:
“I think outreach needs to be considered cumulatively and not just at Seascape itself. Each of the inclusions, including three rounds of social media on each platform (Aug. 16, 23, 29) along with significant shares/retweets, including by neighborhood groups, SaMoNews (reaching 24K) and the digital message boards does add up.
Seascape does get delivered to apartment complexes, but for some residences, it may be a large stack at the mail area and not directly in mailboxes; it does vary.
I do encourage anyone who does not feel that they were sufficiently notified to an initiate an appeal.”