Council Candidate Robert Fox Says If Elected He'll Agendize Items To (1) Roll Back Council-Increased Parking Fines In Parking Impacted Areas; (2) Restore Council-Cut Time For Public Testimony On Council Agenda Items
|(Sept. 13, 2019, 8:15 a.m.) -- Taking positions that contrast with those of Mayor Robert Garcia and the City Council's incumbents, 2nd dist. Council candidate Robert Fox says that if elected he will agendize an item to reduce parking fines by "at least $20 to their 2015 levels in the most parking impacted areas of the city."
In a Sept. 12 dispatch on his campaign's Facebook page, Mr. Fox said 2nd dist. Council incumbent Jeannine Pearce had voted for parking ticket fine increases "with full knowledge that her District is the most parking impacted of the city."
In a Sept. 6 Facebook dispatch, Mr. Fox advocated reducing parking fines back to "the $45.00 that we had 4 years ago" and cited Alamitos Beach, East Village, NABA, Bluff Heights, Rose Park, ORCA,, AOC7, Carroll Park as those needing the abatement. He said Pearce had voted to raise parking ticket fines by $10 "in order to extract another $1.5 million from Long Beach residents" and said "ours [the 2nd Council district] is the most parking impacted district of the City, so obviously 2nd District residents will bear the brunt of the burden."
That came a day after Fox charged that Pearce had "figured out how to offset all her careless misuse of taxpayer funds: on the backs of her most vulnerable constituents." He then went further on Sept. 6, stating that as a Councilman "I will pledge never to vote for a budget that includes the raising of parking tickets."
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In late July, Mayor Robert Garcia recommended a city management-proposed FY20 City Hall spending budget that's legally balanced (a mandatory requirement) by showing City Hall spending offset by anticipated City Hall revenue. On Sept. 3 and 10, the Council voted to approve the FY20 budget that's "balanced" by including the parking fine increases.
City management's FY20 budget indicates $1.5 million is citywide sum it expects from the $10 parking fine increase. It's not immediately clear by how much that sum might be reduced by rolling back fines in the parking-impacted areas proposed by Mr. Fox.
A Councilmember's motion, if seconded by another Councilmember and approved by a Council majority, could direct city management to reduce the parking fines. Management could respond by offering Councilmembers various options, which could potentially include offering to economize/operate more efficiently, spend less, or reduce some currently budgeted services and/or raise fees elsewhere if the Council seeks to maintain its current FY20 spending levels.
By raising the parking fine issue in the parking-impacted 2nd district, Fox has opened the door to a broader issue in an election cycle when taxpayers/voters can weigh-in: disagreeing with current Mayor/Council spending on multiple items (some of which have drawn fire on social networks.)
In his Sept. 12 campaign dispatch, candidate Fox also said that if elected he will agendize an item to restore the public's opportunity to speak for three minutes each on items agendized for City Council voted actions. On Sept. 10, the Council voted 7-0 on an ordinance that cuts members of the public to 90 seconds each on items on which more than ten people seek to speak (typically those impacting neighborhoods (zoning/density/land use), City Hall spending or policy actions.) Councilmembers supportive of the action described it as a way to "streamline"/speed up their meetings (although they declined to limit their own total speaking time or restore holding a 4th Council meeting per month.)
Mr. Fox said his stance is meant "to encourage public engagement and ensure that the people of Long Beach are able to educate City Council on the various issues and solutions involving their specific neighborhoods and communities."
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