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    Councilmember Suja Lowenthal & Vice Mayor/Councilmember Bonnie Lowenthal Jointly Propose Banning "Cruising" On Pine Ave. b/w Ocean Blvd.-7th St.

    (July 28, 2006) -- 2d dist. Councilmember Suja Lowenthal & Vice Mayor/1st dist. Councilmember Bonnie Lowenthal have jointly agendized an item for the August 1 City Council agenda proposing an ordinance that would ban cruising along downtown Pine Ave. between Ocean Blvd. and Seventh Street.

    The item, whose text includes sociological comments (and a scholarly citation), doesn't make explicit reference to the July 9 fatal shooting of a 15 year-old in the area of 1st and Pine. As previously reported by,, LBPD said at the time that the victim was part of a group walking at about 12:30 a.m. when words were allegedly exchanged with a group in a car and the victim was fatally shot.

    We post the text of the Councilmembers' memo below:

    Visitors, businesses and residents along Pine Avenue complain that persons "cruising" Pine Avenue in their cars are creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians and motorists, contributing to traffic jams and detracting from a positive dining and entertainment experience.

    Cruising is a decades old pastime having evolved in purpose and consequence generation after generation. Cruising can be simply defined as unnecessary repetitive driving without immediate destination (Goffman, Steven N., 2002). Persons engage in cruising for a variety of reasons: to display their cars, to see other people’s cars, to find racing competitors, to impress members of the opposite sex, to socialize, or simply to be around and on the lookout for possible social developments that may be intriguing. Cruising as we know it today is predominantly confined to downtown areas. While it is a seemingly harmless activity, cruising creates significant problems for public safety, economic development and community living.

    This practice endangers pedestrians because the driver is often times more concerned with the activity on sidewalks than crosswalks and directly ahead of his/her automobile. It also contributes to the traffic jams along Pine Avenue and frustrates those individuals who come downtown to patronize restaurants and businesses. Cruisers in cars with modified tale pipes and loud music also detracts from the positive experience of Pine Avenue, discouraging real customers from returning to downtown.

    A similar ordinance was approved by the City Council to ban cruising around Bixby Park as a means of protecting residents. This ordinance was effective then and we urge the City Attorney to develop a similar ordinance for Pine Avenue.


    Request the City Attorney draft an ordinance banning cruising on Pine Avenue from Ocean Blvd to Seventh Street and return to the City Council in (30) days.

    The Pine Ave. shooting occurred roughly twelve hours after a city management-convened community "budget summit" at which LB officials said City Hall is expected to have a structurally balanced FY 07 budget...but which doesn't include $25-$30 million a year that City Manager Jerry Miller has said is needed for police, fire and library services.

    During her twelve year rule, former Mayor Beverly O'Neill routinely forwarded to the Council budgets proposed by then-city management that failed to deliver police levels for taxpayers as recommended in a City Hall "Strategic Plan" issued the year O'Neill took office. During the O'Neill administration, LB became less safe per capita in terms of violent crime than NYC [not necessarily downtown but in citywide statistics. Source: FBI crime statistics cited by Morgan Quitno press]. The policy-direction was annually accepted by multiple City Councils, the body ultimately responsible for determining City Hall spending.

    In November 2005, the Council voted 8-0 (Baker abstaining owning property in area) to establish a one-year pilot program for a Downtown Dining and Entertainment District...which on city management's recommendation included providing additional police officers for the downtown area. Management offered the Council two options: additional policing over three days ($543,000) or seven days ($905,000); the Council chose seven days a week...and management indicated it planned to cover the cost based on "[r]evenue projections to the General Fund [which] have increased based upon the transfer of Redevelopment Agency Port-related tax increment revenue to the General Fund, which must be approved annually."

    City management's agendizing memo indicated the added police costs would "add to the General Fund's structural deficit if the identified funding source is not maintained, or if an alternate on-going resource is not identified"...but City Manager Miller indicated at the Council meeting that he viewed the annual transfer of roughly $1.3 million to the General Fund by the Redevelopment Agency (the first was made in 05) as a continuing revenue source, even though it had to be requested annually by the City Council.

    Under the City Charter, City Management is preparing to forward its proposed FY 07 budget to Mayor Bob Foster by August 1, who will then review it, offer suggested revisions and forward his proposals and management's to the Council by August 15. Following public hearings, the City Council gets the last word on City Hall spending; on or before September 30 it must vote on its version of LB City Hall's budget...or the City Manager's proposed budget takes effect.

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