Angry Crowd Gets Council to Drop Overnight Parking Ban
Faced with more than 100 angry residents and a petition containing 600 signatures collected by Southeast Young Democrats, the South Gate City Council on Monday abandoned the concept of a permit system for overnight parking in a pilot single-family neighborhood.
The council had planned to discuss a proposal aimed at getting some cars off the streets for public safety reasons, but council members retreated under withering words and clapping from the audience. Speakers said the proposal discriminated against large families in a city where there is not enough parking.
“This is the silent majority in the community,” said Victorio Gutierrez. “The people don’t want it, they don’t need it, not now, not ever.”
Mayor Gregory Slaughter said the council will take formal action Dec. 23 to rescind the overnight parking ban approved in August but never implemented because of complaints. Councilman Robert Philipp said he favors putting the issue on the April ballot, but he conceded that he does not have the council backing to do so.
At one point, Slaughter briefly adjourned the council session after people in the audience loudly objected to closure of the public hearing. They accused the mayor of not letting people speak, but Slaughter said the overwhelming opposition was obvious.
The city staff had recommended that the council enact a revised ordinance in January intended to blunt some of the earlier criticism about permit fees and hardships for people without garages. It would have reduced the annual fee from $65 to $25 and provided two free permits to residents without garages or on-site parking spaces.
The program was proposed for a 1,500-home area bounded by Otis Street, Tweedy Boulevard, Atlantic Avenue and Abbott Road. It would have banned street parking between 2:30 and 5 a.m., except by permit.
In other business Monday, the council rescinded another ordinance that drew the wrath of the audience. The measure, enacted in 1985, calls for a city inspection of residential property before it is sold in order to detect illegal or unsafe improvements.
A city staff report said the practice helps upgrade the housing stock, but critics objected to the government telling them what to remove or add to their homes when they sell them.