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City Poised to Dismiss, Refund Street Sweeping Tickets
By Jorge Casuso
Editor's note: This article was updated at 2:15 Friday to include Police Department data and comments.
September 9, 2031 -- (UPDATED) Many of the 3,000 Santa Monica residents ticketed when the City resumed its regular street sweeping schedule last week could have their citations dismissed or the $73 parking fines they paid refunded.
An item placed on Tuesday's agenda by Councilmembers Phil Brock and Oscar de la Torre would give residents until October 5 to easily contest the citations issued when the City resumed its weekly street sweeping after more than a year.
Despite what City officials say was an extensive information campaign, many residents were caught by surprise when they found tickets pinned to their windshields after their streets were swept last week.
"In the interest of equity and justice" the citations will be dismissed and those who have paid fines will be refunded, according to the agenda item.
"It was blatantly unfair," said Brock. "People can't pay their rent, people don't leave their homes, people have COVID.
"I want everyone to understand the tickets will be squashed."
Brock said he had to fight to have the tickets dismissed after City officials balked at extending the review process and refunding those who have paid their fines.
He then threatened to air a video at the Council meeting taken by a longtime community activist that shows a street with tickets on every windshield ("Residents Find Parking Tickets As Regular Street Sweeping Resumes," September 1, 2021).
"It paid to fight for a change," Brock said, "to fight for residents who just got socked."
According to Police Department data, there were 3,023 citations related to street sweeping parking violations issued from Monday August 30 to Friday September 3. Of those, 534 were issued Monday.
Lt. Rudy Flores, the Police Department spokesman, noted that fewer tickets were issued last week than during the first week street sweeping resumed on a monthly basis in July 2020, when there was more outreach by the City.
During that week -- from Monday July 20 to Friday July 24 -- 3,507 citations were issued, nearly 500 more than last week, despite extensive flyering beforehand.
The City "did tons of outreach in July, even put flyers on the cars," Flores said. "It's going to happen regardless of how much outreach you do."
The request must affirmatively state "that the recipient of the citation did not receive notice of the beginning of weekly street sweeping during this period and explains why."
Reasons can include that the person cited "did not access social media or website postings, did not see notice in newspaper, and did not otherwise learn of the street sweeping."
According to the agenda item, "The City will cause the citation (whether previously paid or not) to be dismissed based on a determination that extenuating circumstances make dismissal of the citation appropriate in the interest of equity and justice, and a refund to be processed for a citation that was previously paid."
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