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Residents Find Parking Tickets As Regular Street Sweeping Resumes
By Jorge Casuso
September 1, 2021 -- A video posted on social media Tuesday night chronicles what happened when Santa Monica resumed its weekly street cleaning after more than a year.
On a stretch of 18th Street near Santa Monica Boulevard, car after car -- nine in a row to the end of a block -- has a $73 parking ticket pinned to the windshield.
"This is just one part of the block," says John Petz, a longtime community activist as he walks with his camera trained on the cars.
"This is happening all over the city, block after block after block.
"If you're someone that got screwed like this, raise holy hell, because clearly they did not do a good job of notifying Covid-bound residents that they were changing the street-cleaning frequency."
Petz, who did not get a ticket, noted that street cleaning normally takes place on the first Monday of the month, but was changed to August 30, further adding to the confusion.
City officials said they gave plenty of notice that weekly street sweeping would resume on Monday after being done on a monthly basis since July 6, 2020.
The City posted notices on its website and on Next Door, as well as using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the message out, said City spokesperson Constance Farrell.
It also posted notices on the City's bi-weekly SaMoNews community newsletter and flashed it on digital message boards across the city, she said.
But given the hundreds of parking tickets that were likely issued, Councilmember Phil Brock said it is clear the message didn't get out.
"I know we want to make money," Brock said of the potential revenue from citations, "but this doesn't make sense. I believe our City needs to be fair to our residents."
Instead of relying on online sources, the City should have also used more traditional means, such as posting notices on street poles and in parks, Brock said.
While a small article appeared on the bottom of page two of Seascape, the City's printed newspaper, it didn't arrive in residents' mail boxes until after street sweeping resumed, Brock said.
Brock thinks it is only fair for the City to waive the fines.
"We need to find a way to convert the tickets to warnings," he said. "While many people have recovered, there are those who haven't paid the rent."
Farrell said dismissing the fines across the board is "not under consideration." But she notes that residents can contest their tickets.
"If anyone wants to put that in their contest application," she said, referring to the street sweeping issue, "I wouldn't discourage anyone from doing that."
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