Response to “Parking dilemma continues” and a letter from Jozelle Smith Jozelle Smith and Agape Church’s Parking Policy Since
Jozelle Smith is a member of Agape International Spiritual Center, she knows that Agape’s good-neighbor-parking policy, unlike that of the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, includes providing its members with both on-site and off-site/ off-street parking. In order not to flood the neighborhood, Agape shuttles its members to and from services. Perhaps, Mrs. Smith can educate Ken Smith as to what Grace’s good-neighbor-parking policy should be. If Grace would practice what it preaches (be kind to your neighbors), this nuisance could be resolved. Over the years, I have suggested this simple off-site/off-street parking solution but have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Church. Church’s Bad Faith Why would the Church not do as Councilperson Jim Clarke wisely suggests—“do a good faith effort to seek off-site parking”? Recently, Mr. Smith told me that Grace does not need off-site parking because they can park on Farragut Drive on Sundays. Hopefully, he will have a change of heart. Why would the City Council wish to revoke its multiple resolutions over a 32-year period that granted permit-only parking to the residents of the 10700 block of Farragut Drive without first determining what the Church’s efforts, if any, have been to ameliorate its scarcity of parking space? So far, the Church has not set forth one fact as to what its alleged situation is and/or who caused it. 100 percent of Farragut households have signed a Petition opposing Grace’s “Petition” to strip us of our permit- only-parking status due to the overwhelming intrusion of cars onto our street. No Culver City Council has ever attempted to modify once- granted parking restrictions on any other street in Culver City. Does the location of Grace Church have anything to do with it? It is beyond belief that the City Council is even entertaining the Church’s disingenuous request. Culver City, Listen-up Culver City residents listenup… today its Farragut Drive; tomorrow it could be your street. Complaint for a Public Nuisance Ken Smith, a senior official of the Church, publically admitted that its members flood every space on Farragut during 8 AM to 2 PM every Sunday. That activity does not have to be illegal to be a public nuisance.
At the request of the Grace Evangelical Church, two City Councilpersons seem hell-bent upon of foisting 2-hour parking restrictions upon the 10700 block of Farragut Drive. Since 1982, the City Council has recognized our need for permit-only-parking restrictions. On two occasions, once as recent as Nov. 12, 2013, the City Council grandfathered our status. Within the last year, the Traffic Engineer, the expert in these matters, has twice rejected the Church’s request to change our status, and publicly supported our permit-only position at the last grandfathering. Councilperson Cooper recently dismissed Farragut residents’ eye-ball testimony as just “anecdotal,” i.e., worthless. He and Councilperson Weissman wanted a study of our situation— at a taxpayer cost of $20,000. Some need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. But the supposed benefits of two-hour-parking restrictions are only “anecdotal,” and Councilpersons Weissman and Cooper should know it. Pursuant to the California Public Records Act, I requested the City of Culver City provide me with: (1) “All studies and reports dealing with the expected effectiveness and enforceability of 2-hour residential parking restrictions in Culver City” and (2) “All studies and reports dealing with the actual effectiveness and enforceability of 2-hour residential parking restrictions in Culver City.” Culver City officially responded that it “is not in possession of records responsive to [my] request.” I suggest that the Council, before trying to come down hard on Farragut, get its own house in order by studying the effectiveness of 2-hour parking restrictions. One of our 30-plus-year-Farragut residents, an expert in parking matters, said that he only once saw a tire marked in Culver City. Two-hour parking restrictions may have been designed to fail, but provide residents with the illusion of protecting our neighborhoods. In 1982, Police Chief Ted Cooke opined that 2-hour-parking limits were unenforceable. Based on the Police Chief’s opinion, the Traffic Committee recommended and the City Council adopted permit-only-parking restrictions on Farragut. No study is required to demonstrate the impact that the Church’s activities would have on Farragut if we did not have permit-only-parking restrictions. Since 1957, the Church has not had one on-site parking space. Further, the Church’s website describes the extent of its activities: “Grace Church is a community center! We host dozens of outside groups … such as: Meals on Wheels, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (including Ala-non and Ala-teen), scouting troops for children and youth, and Moms’ groups, to name a few. We also have several churches: the Eritreans, Chenzhou Mission, and House Upon the Rock. In addition to our own extensive in-church programs, there are nearly 60 ‘outside group’ events and meetings to help 100s of people at Grace EACH WEEK.” (Emphasis in original.) And where are these “100s of people” to park? This matter is causing me to lose confidence in the analytical abilities of some of our elected officials. Why won’t they defer to the experts? Further, I worry whether their bullying tactics have caused harm to my fellow Culver City residents.
Reply to Culver City,
Listen Up The Church seems to be trying to solve a problem that does not exist. Ms. Tidwell does not claim that anyone attending the Church has any difficulty finding a place to park his or her car. She states that the Church “encourages attendees to carpool, use public transportation if possible, or utilize the Julian Dixon Library parking lot.” So what’s the problem? Culver City has issued special parking permits to the Meals-on- Wheels program already. After an audit by Culver City, 15 of the 25 permits were revoked and exemption hours were reduced on the other 10. Further, the Church can seek parking waivers from Culver City during its Yard Sales. After-school kids and scouts don’t drive or need parking. People with handicap placards can continue to park on Farragut Drive as they have always done in the past. So, what’s the problem? Ms. Tidwell does not seem to realize that once the flood gates are opened, the Church would have to compete for parking space along with parents and staff from the CCUSD Elenda St. Complex, apartment dwellers, and employees and customers of multiple businesses on Overland Avenue. No space would be reserved for the Church. Culver City Neighborhood Activist Cary Anderson commented to the City Council that no traffic study was necessary on Farragut Drive. CCPD statistics reported that in a 6-month period 200 drivers chose to take their chances on being cited for parking without a permit and lost, that figure being 800 percent of any other street in Culver City. What would any other Culver City resident think if they saw advertisements like this: http://www.venyooz.com/venues/ grace-evangelical-lutheranchurch- culver-city for a neighbor who had no off street parking? Farragut Drive has no problem with the Church doing good deeds; however, it should not try to trample our legal rights in the process. Ms. Tidwell seeks “common ground,” but needs to define the phrase.
John L. Heyl
Recently some residents in the community of Raintree were the victims of burglaries. I would like to thank and commend Chief Scott Bixby and the Culver City Police Department for their immediate response and excellent work in dealing with these burglaries and ensuring the safety of our residents and their homes. Residents with dogs have an added measure of security against burglars. However, for residents without dogs, there are relatively inexpensive alternatives in the form of barking/ growling dog alarms that are activated when there is suspicious movement in the vicinity of the home. For anyone interested in information about these devices, please contact Friends of Culver City Animals at: info@friendsofculvercityanimals. org or (888) 893-9909.
Director Friends of Culver City Animals