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Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Fullerton City Council Misses the Point on Overnight Parking

First, let’s review the problem.  In the City of Fullerton, by default, parking is banned on most streets between 2:00 am and 5:00 am.  To be exempt, a majority of the homeowners on a street must go through a costly petitioning process.  The only other option is to apply for a “hardship exemption,” which is an expensive overnight parking permit.  However, those are only available if you own a single-family home.  Discrimination against renters is thus built into the Fullerton Municipal Code.  It is not only unfair, but it is also contrary to state law, according to Opinion 14-304 rendered by then-California Attorney General (now US Senator) Kamala Harris.

Almost a year ago, I pointed out this legal problem to the Fullerton City Council and City Attorney.  Soon after that, as shown in this City document, they recognized this legal issue, and quite appropriately, asked their staff to study the problem.  The recommendations were presented at the City Council meeting last Tuesday, and you can view it here.  (The segment on overnight parking is Item #3, starting about 3 hours and 26 minutes into the meeting.)  I encourage you to watch it, and here are a few things I noticed:

  •  One of those recommendations was to implement a need-based permit system, presumably one that does not discriminate on the type of home and whether it is rented or owner-occupied.  Unfortunately, when asked about the cost of such a system, the staff member simply had no idea, and implied it would be exorbitant because the City would have to investigate before issuing every single one of the thousands of permits issued!  I don’t understand why Fullerton doesn’t learn from other cities.  In La Habra, overnight parking permits are $33 a year.  In Brea, a city which is as pleasant (if not more so) than Fullerton, they are $18 a year if purchased online.
  • Three members of the audience gave comments on the recommendation.  The first erroneously stated that these are things are “already on the books.”  The second remarked that the recommendations are confusing and complicated, as if the current system is not. 
  • The City Council members themselves were sidetracked into a discussion on parking around the college campuses in Fullerton.  This issue and the overnight parking issue are as different as night and day.
  •  At the end, the City Council decided to do nothing right now.  The conflict with state law was never even mentioned.

It’s pretty sad.  The Fullerton City Council missed the point on overnight parking.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fullerton overnight parking survey

I'd like to thank Janet, one of the readers of this blog, for sending me this link to an overnight parking survey the City of Fullerton is doing.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Signs of progress

Read here about the discussion on overnight parking at the Fullerton City Council meeting last Tuesday.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Something is finally happening

My last post got the attention of the City of Fullerton.  When the California Attorney General speaks, people listen.  The Fullerton City Council will start discussing the overnight parking situation this Tuesday.  You can read about it here. Let's hope that things finally change for the better.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fullerton’s Overnight Parking Policy Disregards State Law

In Fullerton, overnight parking is banned on most streets.  It is possible to apply for a hardship exemption, but only if you own a single-family home (Fullerton Municipal Code 8.44.080).

According to Opinion 14-304, published on April 14, 2016 by California Attorney General (now US Senator) Kamala Harris, local authorities, in issuing long-term parking permits, are not authorized to distinguish among residents based on the type of dwelling in which they live. 

The City of Fullerton is out of compliance with state law.  It’s time to put a stop to this.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Another Victim of the City of Fullerton

This week I received a message from another victim of Fullerton’s overnight parking ticket law:

I m living in Fullerton. Today family get another 2 tickets for over night  
parking. we have 1 car garage.we dont know what to do. :(
We see no sign of "not allowing to park over night"...very tressfull but  
dont know what to do :
Can you please give me advice?

I didn’t correct the spelling and punctuation, but I think you get the message.

It is true that most Fullerton neighborhoods don’t have signs prohibiting overnight parking.  The City of Fullerton can get away with that because state law only requires such signs on the edges of the city.  You may have noticed them as you drive into Fullerton from La Habra, Buena Park, Anaheim, Placentia, or Brea.

Once you know that overnight parking is banned, it is indeed stressful if you have nowhere else to park.  You could get parking tickets ever night.  I have seen the Fullerton Police give tickets on one night and come back and do it again on the same street two nights later.

If you contact the City of Fullerton for help, you will discover it has evolved into a greedy bureaucratic monster.  Click on this link and you can see for yourself:

Look at the $475 non-refundable fee to for a Select Street Exemption.  Do you want to apply for a hardship exemption?  That will be $250, please.

Don’t think that it is like that everywhere.  In Brea you can apply for an overnight parking permit online for $25.

As I’ve been saying for a long time ( and, we need to convince the Fullerton City Council to change this ridiculous overnight parking law.  Another election is coming up, and I’m inviting all the Fullerton City Council candidates to comment on this.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Disabled Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient is a Victim of Fullerton’s Utterly Failed Overnight Parking Policy

As I’ve mentioned many times before, many cities let anyone park on the street overnight.  Others cities restrict it, but they offer overnight parking permits for those who need them.

In Fullerton, the overnight parking policy evolved into a chaotic mess.  In 1924, the Fullerton City Council banned overnight parking on all streets.  In those days, there weren’t that many cars, so there wasn’t that much of a problem.  However, through the years the population increased and the number of cars grew, so a change was needed.  The city enacted a system of exempting certain streets from the overnight parking law.  Do you know what happens when you do that?  I won’t park on my street because I might get a ticket, but your street is exempt, so I’ll park there.  This is not a theoretical problem—I’m about to give you a real example.

The Purple Heart is awarded to military personnel who are killed or wounded in combat.  This week, a Purple Heart recipient, who is disabled and handicapped and lives in Fullerton, contacted me.  He has a house on Drake Avenue with a single-car driveway.  He has two cars, and his street is exempt from overnight parking enforcement, so he should be able to park one car on the street in front of his house.  Unfortunately, there are apartments nearby on Amerige Avenue, where overnight parking is prohibited.  Consequently, those apartment dwellers park in front of his house!

He sent me this photograph, which was taken at the corner of Drake and Amerige Avenues, looking south to the corner of Commonwealth and Drake.  He wrote me the following: “There are 20 spaces shown here on Drake signed for overnight parking, in this photo of these 20 cars parked at 630pm.  NOT ONE OF THESE CARS ARE FROM DRAKE.  Every one of these are from the apartments on East Amerige and Richman Ave.”

This is a vivid example of Fullerton’s utterly failed overnight parking policy.  It needs to be changed now!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Three dollars and one phone call

Although I haven’t seen any overnight parking tickets in my neighborhood lately, there has been recent activity from others on this blog.  This makes me believe that the Fullerton Police Department has been issuing overnight parking tickets in other areas of the city.
How can we stop them?  We need to change the law.  They won’t be able to enforce a law that doesn’t exist.  To do that, we need to make it clear to the Fullerton City Council that the present situation is absolutely unacceptable.
Before you get started, here is an important point to remember.  People in Fullerton City government are programmed to think that if you are complaining about overnight parking tickets, you mean petitioning to get your street exempt. They will tell you that you will need signatures from a majority of the property owners on your street, and then you have to pay a $475 fee for a so-called engineering study.  Do you really believe that it takes an engineer to count how parking spaces there are on your street?  The study is then fed through the city bureaucracy and is voted upon.  If it is denied, you investment is lost. 
It is hard to think up a dumber way to deal with overnight parking.  I doubt if you really want to even attempt this, but let’s suppose for a moment that you and your neighbors go through this long and complicated process and you are successful.  Now your street is exempt from overnight parking.  You went through all that, and you only fixed the problem on one street!  What everyone else in Fullerton?  They have to go through that whole thing for their street.  What about people on nearby streets?  They might be tempted to park overnight on your street now.  Moreover, there might be some people on your street (such as elderly neighbors) who never had an overnight parking problem to start with.
It is time to replace Fullerton’s system with something similar to what the nearby cities do.   Many Southern California cities don’t ban overnight parking at all, and they seem to do fine without it.  The cities that do restrict overnight parking make parking permits available at a reasonable price.  As you can see, Fullerton’s approach is harsh, archaic, inefficient, and just plan ridiculous. 
We need to make it clear to the Fullerton City Council that they have to change the overnight parking law.  Phone calls and letters get more attention than emails, so here is what I suggest:
1.       Call the Fullerton City Council at (714) 738-6311.  As I explained above, you have to tell them they need to change the law to be in line with what other cities do; otherwise, they will think you want to make your street exempt from overnight parking enforcement.
2.       Write a letter to each of the five members of the Fullerton City Council:
Jennifer Fitzgerald
Jan Flory
Doug Chaffee
Greg Sebourn
Bruce Whitaker

This is their address: 303 W. Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832.  Again, when you write to them, make it clear that they need to change the overnight parking law.

3.       Get your friends and family members who live in Fullerton to do the same thing.

This will cost you the price of five postage stamps, which is less than three dollars.  If the Fullerton City Council members get hundreds of letters and phone calls, they will have to take notice.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fullerton Tyranny

I know that Thomas Jefferson lived long before automobiles were even invented.  However, regarding Fullerton’s overnight parking law, this quote from him is very appropriate:

For a variety of reasons, some people have to park their cars on the street at night in Fullerton.  They may have visitors staying with them, older children living at home, or construction going on in their driveway.  This list goes on and on.  Whenever you do it, however, you do so in fear of an overnight parking ticket.  And not just one parking ticket—the Fullerton police have been known  to ticket the same vehicles multiple times within a very short span. This means you fear your city government, and according to Thomas Jefferson, that is tyranny. 

We need to turn the tide.  Let’s make the City of Fullerton afraid of us instead!  Contact the Fullerton City Council and demand a change to the overnight parking law.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Don’t expect help or support from this page

This link will take you to this webpage that is part of mygovhelp.  It is part of the City of Fullerton, CA Citizen Support Center.  This page is dedicated to this question: How do I get an overnight parking permit?

That is definitely a good question.  Since 1924, overnight parking has been illegal in most of Fullerton.  For some of us, however, it is not always possible to park off of the street.  We might have small garages or short driveways.  Some families have older children, and they need their own cars in order to function.  Every other city (that I’ve seen so far) that bans overnight parking also has a permit program for those who need to park on the street at night.  Well, if you click on the web page, here is the answer you’ll see:

The City does not issue overnight parking permits. Residents can petition the City to have their streets removed from the overnight parking prohibition. Further information may be obtained by calling the Fullerton Traffic Engineering Office at (714) 738-6845.

The ludicrousness of trying to get your street removed from the overnight parking prohibition has already been expounded upon on this blog, and I have no desire to repeat it here. 

Do you need help or support from the City of Fullerton?  When it comes to overnight parking, you won’t find it.