City Council moves forward with increase in parking fines

In Monday’s meeting, the Malibu City Council passed a motion to increase parking citation, addressed the Los Angeles County Measure R and M Transportation Funding and Federal Infrastructure Grants, and voted to craft a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors opposing the proposed Local Coastal Program amendment that would allow camping in environmentally sensitive habitat areas.

To start off the meeting, City Council members provided reports and raised concerns on the traffic that would be increased at the Civic Center when the Santa Monica College and Sheriff’s Substation would be completed. Councilmember Steve Uhring asked the participants on the call to take a moment to visit the Civic Center as it is, before construction is complete. 

“Somewhere down the line, we went wrong. We have dramatically changed the nature of our city with some of the development that’s going on down there,” Uhring said. “As we go forward, we’re going to need your voices to help us make sure we’re doing the right thing for the city, for the residents, and not turning ourselves to the next Beverly Hills.” 

Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas presented the next item for the increase in parking citations for vehicles that impact public safety. The proposal was returned to the City Council for evaluation and consideration of the appeals, which would need additional staff.

In Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the city received approximately $1.367 million in revenue from parking citations. In 2021, 4,179 citations were written for this offense. It is unknown how many were due to misidentification of a fire hydrant, but this issue may benefit from improved signage or marking.

On Nov. 3, 2021, the Public Safety Commission performed its annual review of the city’s parking citation fine schedule. The violations identified for possible fine increases were based on input from representatives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Lost Hills Station and the city’s Volunteers on Patrol (VOP). At that meeting, the commission voted to recommend that the City Council increase the fines for 14 code violations, with six of the violations called out for substantial increases to $150 due to their public safety impact and prevalence.

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On Jan. 5, 2022, the parking citation fines were brought back to the Public Safety Commission for second review. Staff recommended that the commission consider the new factors identified by staff, including the four factors used in the case Pimentel vs. City of Los Angeles to determine if the recommended fine increases should be adjusted. After a thorough discussion, the commission voted to re-affirm its original recommendation to the City Council, citing safety concerns related to each of the violations.

On March. 7, the Administration and Finance Subcommittee reviewed the proposed changes to the fines recommended by the Public Safety Commission and voted to have the City Council consider the proposed change.

According to the report, staff is working with the city’s citation processing vendor to develop an updated projection as the parking citation revenue is anticipated to increase moderately as a result of this action.

Dueñas said when citations are appealed, it does require additional staff and cost to work on those appeals. Dueñas also provided consideration to implement proper signage. 

Public speakers included longtime residents and members from the public safety commission, Chair Chris Frost and Josh Spiegel.

“Malibu has a unique perspective in this area because we are a tourist-driven town on many days of the year and the traffic fines in Malibu need to be increased in relation to the huge increase in the number of visitors we have,” Frost said.

Father and longtime Malibu resident Eric Preven shared his thoughts on the parking fine increase and asked the council to consider implementing proper signage.

“We should let people know before they get nailed,” Preven said. 

Council considered the speakers and public safety commission comments in implementing better signage.

Councilmember Bruce Silverstein said the City of Malibu is considered a higher fire zone compared to other cities and said the increase is reasonable. 

“This should not be revenue-driven, this should be safety- and fire-safety-driven,” Silverstein said. “We are in a situation where our safety is a much more difficult matter.” 

The commission motioned to go forward with the proposal.

Public Works Director Rob DuBoux presented the Los Angeles County Measure R and M Transportation Funding and Federal Infrastructure Grants update.

Improvements include projects at PCH utility undergrounding, the Las Flores and Rambla Pacifico intersection, PCH improvements from city limits to Cross Creek Road and pedestal signal at 22523.

The city currently has $4.3 million in Los Angeles County Measure R funds remaining to be obligated to eligible transportation capital improvements projects. In addition, the city has approximately $5.2 in Los Angeles County Measure M funds to be obligated and anticipates additional Measure M funds will be available for eligible city transportation projects in future years.

Council approved the recommended action. 

The last item on the agenda was for the City Council to recommend Mayor Paul Grisanti to send a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors opposing the proposed Local Coastal Program amendment that would allow camping in environmentally sensitive habitat areas.

On July 7, 2021, the CCC considered the Commission’s approved (but not certified) suggested modifications as well as the county’s additional changes. Pursuant to the July 7, 2021 CCC staff report, the proposed amendment would also add new development and operational standards for low-impact campgrounds, including location criteria, types of prohibited activities and items, capacity limits, a prohibition on camping during “red flag” wildfire warning days, length-of-stay limitations, and inspection standards. New standards were also proposed for specific types of support facilities associated with low- impact campgrounds, including parking and drop-off areas, restroom facilities, fencing, water storage, signage, and fire suppression equipment.

On April 19, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider the California Coastal Commission’s modifications to the county’s proposed plan to allow low-impact camping in the Santa Monica Mountains. If the board adopts the modifications, its actions will be reported to the CCC for final certification.

Council motioned to revise the letter with the assistance of Rick Mullen. Mullen has an extensive history with Malibu; he was the president of both Paradise Cove and Ramirez Canyon Homeowners Associations, former fire captain of the LA County Fire Department, and former Malibu mayor.   

Council motioned to revise and submit the letter.

Meeting adjourned in memory of Pierson’s stepmom, Helene Pierson, and the security guard who passed away at Trancas Country Mart, Inge Baumbach.

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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