Jen Ezpeleta

Stay at home order prompts reduced Street sweeping fines

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by Dan Blackburn

Residents will get a “holiday present” from Redondo Beach city officials after council members decided Tuesday during their last meeting of the year to reduce fines for parking violations issued on street-cleaning days.

The new policy will start Monday and end December 31.

Stay-at-home orders by state and county health officials prompted the move, with council members  expressing sympathy for people vying for a limited number of street parking spots.

Council member Todd Loewenstein initially suggested a complete waiver of citation fines, but following a lively discussion, the lawmakers voted unanimously to reduce the fine to “about” $25 — half of its current level. Because  surcharges are extracted from fine revenues by state and other government entities, the exact amount to be levied to local residents is yet to be determined.

“Let’s be a little resident-friendly here. This is a huge inconvenience for people.”

Council member Christian Horvath took sharp exception to Loewenstein’s comment.

“We’re not resident-friendly? What a ridiculous thing to say,” he snapped.

When it was suggested that street cleaning simply be suspended during the holidays, council member Laura Emdee said she was concerned about pollution washing into the ocean. 

“I totally empathize with what is being discussed here,” she said, “but I remember when we suspended (the service) before, and the streets got very dirty. The sewers get blocked when it rains. Also, when there is no enforcement, people don’t move their cars. We live in a beach city, and we want clean oceans. The first line of defense is street sweeping.”

Council member Nils Nehrenheim said he, too, has been getting complaints about citations. 

“It’s a big issue for people, many of whom are working at home trying to stay safe. Rather than penalizing people we should be promoting ‘safer at home.’ We need to be more accommodating.”

Mayor Bill Brand pointed out that Redondo Beach is in a state-mandated “clean water zone” so keeping streets clean is “something we are really required to do.”

In other action, the council:


— Approved unanimously the removal of mature paperbark trees lining the south side of Beryl Avenue near the Vons shopping center. Public works director Ted Semaan told the council that the tree roots are compromising sidewalks and impacting new construction. Brand said he hates to see trees removed anywhere, and asked if the trees are “really doing damage.” Semaan assured him that was the case. 

“We all have the same philosophy about removing trees,” said Semaan.”

The council then agreed to replace the older trees with new plants, larger than the usual replacement saplings the city generally uses.

— Authorized the lease of five apartment units in Wilmington to house homeless people from Redondo Beach. Wilmington is a partner with Redondo Beach, working to find temporary housing for needy individuals. City Attorney Mike Webb said Redondo Beach will cover liability issues for those locals housed in the Wilmington facility. Cost to the city will be approximately $30,000. ER


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