Escondido councilmember Ed Gallo and Sam Abed have been talking about implementing an overnight-parking ordinance for 18 months. They’ve heard complaints from constituents about crowded residential streets and a growing trend of multiple families dwelling inside single-family homes. So, the city council shelled out $49,000 to a parking-consultant firm to find out how useful a restriction on overnight parking in the city would be.
On September 10th, at the Escondido City Council meeting, the results were revealed, much to Gallo and Abed’s dismay. The study found no parking restrictions are warranted and the ordinance wouldn’t be cost-effective, creating unneeded levels of bureaucracy and inconvenience to residents. But that’s not all. The study considered the ordinance “bad legislation,” unreasonable and unjustified.
One would expect that judgment to be the end of any conversation about an overnight-parking restriction, but for nearly two hours, dozens of concerned citizens protested the council's pursuit of the ordinance &mdash the majority of residents are opposed to any such ordinance. They said its real purpose was to target illegal immigrants and drive them away, leaving behind only their parking spots. Others said it was expensive, not fiscally responsible.
Maybe the City wasn’t aware of the staunch community opposition. Well, in the city staff report to the council, it was reported that of 150 emails, 71 were in favor and 79 were opposed. Of the 35 phone messages, 16 were in favor and 18 opposed (1 was neutral). A petition of opposition to the ordinance had 435 signatures.
Jonathan Brindle, director of community development for the City of Escondido, responded while reading the data: “As you can see, it’s pretty close.”
And after all the numbers were read and all the data was dissected, it seemed at least three of the five councilmembers were still in support of enacting a parking ordinance.
Councilmember Abed said that all he wants is to “protect the rights of every homeowner to park in front of their home.”
Councilmember Ed Gallo agreed. He said that over the past 35 years he has witnessed the deterioration of Escondido: “It frosts my crank to see it happen.”
The ordinance city staff came up with would affect over 29,000 households and cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in implementation.
After spending three hours of public comments and discussing the ordinance, the council directed city staff to come back with a few modifications at a later meeting.
For more information go to ci.escondido.ca.us, or, for more on the opposition to the overnight parking ordinance talk to anyone in Escondido, it’s better than a 50 percent chance the person you run into opposes the parking proposal.