About 150 angry south Glendale residents packed the Glendale City Hall on Monday to complain about a city proposal to require paid permits for overnight parking in neighborhoods zoned for apartments and condominiums.
It was meant to be a public hearing before the Glendale Parking Commission to give residents the opportunity to comment on the proposal, but the standing-room-only crowd transformed it into a political rally.
Speakers took turns ridiculing the proposal and chastising the City Council on issues ranging from overdevelopment of the city's commercial district to the recent targeting of south Glendale for a series of stringent zoning regulations to the perceived neglect and lack of political representation of neighborhoods south of the Ventura Freeway--the least affluent and most crowded in the city.
'No Political Clout'
"It doesn't take much to figure out why the city has chosen for this parking permit program a certain part of the city with no political clout," the first speaker, Edward F. True, told the commission, setting the tone for what would follow.
"The streets in our neighborhoods are ours ," he added, drawing an explosion of applause from the audience. "They are yours in trust to keep and maintain, but this time you have gone too far."
The proposed permit program for parking between 2 and 6 a.m. calls for fees ranging from $15 to $120 per year for apartment and condominium residents, depending on the number of permits per household and the amount of off-street parking available to the applicant. Those who have garages would pay more to park on the street.
Proposed Fees Vary
Under the proposal, which was mailed by the city to residents in the targeted area, residents of single-family homes in apartment neighborhoods would pay half as much as apartment dwellers for the permits.
Glendale Traffic Engineer Tom Horne said the proposal is aimed at easing congestion in densely populated neighborhoods and would force residents to use their garages for cars, instead of storage space.
But the overwhelming majority of those present at the public hearing saw it differently.
"The city is guilty of discriminating against south Glendale and against apartment residents," Val Sofita said, drawing cheers from the back of the auditorium.
"If you'd like to fix the problem, put an end to the overdevelopment. You allowed the greedy landlords and developers to enter our city. You precipitated the problem," he charged, looking at Parking Commission President Mike Moro.
Moro replied softly: "We are citizens like yourselves who volunteer our time to serve as a filter for the City Council."
Minutes later, when an angry speaker directly accused City Council members of being in the pockets of developers, Moro asked the speaker, "Please, let's not name names or make unfounded accusations against people who are not here."
But Moro did not stop the barrage of criticism.
"This proposal is a backdoor method for the city to grab revenue from the people that can least afford it," Joel Bernhard snapped.
"The proposal is elitist and ill-conceived. The City Council has the fantasy of turning Glendale into another Beverly Hills," Chris Keller complained.
Many more complained about not receiving notices of the hearing until late Monday. Others repeated charges that the council was discriminating against them. Still other shouted from the back that the proposal was ridiculous and "How could anybody think up something so stupid?"
"Let's not make this into a sarcastic revolt type of thing," Moro pleaded. "When I was a kid, there were four or five cars in every block. Now it's an impossible situation we have to deal with."