A Berkeley parking citation. Photo: Citizen reporter
The city will review street-sweeping tickets that residents submit by email. Photo: Pete Rosos

Berkeley City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley said Friday that she will consider waiving parking ticket fines related to street-sweeping violations — but you have to email her first.

Many people have asked Berkeleyside and the city why street sweeping, and the ticketing that accompanies it, has continued during the current shelter-in-place order, which restricted many activities throughout the state. Since mid-March, only essential businesses have been allowed to operate and community members have said they don’t see why street sweeping made the cut.

Williams-Ridley said Friday, in a virtual town hall with Mayor Jesse Arreguín and Berkeley’s health officer, Dr. Lisa Hernandez, that she’s heard the complaints loud and clear.

And, in news that is likely to be welcome to many, Williams-Ridley asked anyone who gets a parking ticket related to street sweeping during the shelter-in-place period to email it to her for review. She will then consider waiving the fine. Include your name and citation number in the email for easier processing, along with a clear photograph of the ticket.

Berkeley is legally required to keep its sewage lines and waterways clear, said Williams-Ridley, which means street sweeping must continue. Everything that goes into the city’s storm drains ends up in Aquatic Park and the San Francisco Bay, she said.

She described street sweeping as “still important and critical” even under the current circumstances.

Oakland and San Francisco said last month that they would stop ticketing in connection with street sweeping. But city staff told Berkeleyside at the time that this wouldn’t be the case in Berkeley. (The city did relax rules related to many other parking violations.)

On Friday, Williams-Ridley said it’s still crucial for residents to move their cars once a month so street sweeping can happen.

“We really need compliance,” she said. “We need voluntary compliance.”

Emilie Raguso

Emilie Raguso (senior editor, news) joined the Berkeleyside team in 2012. She covers politics, public safety and development. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...

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17 Comments

  1. Sorry to respond so late, but that is a very entitled attitude. There are a lot of people in the Bay Area who do not have email – not by choice, but because they can’t afford a computer, smartphone or tablet, they can’t afford internet service, or they haven’t been given training on how to use it and how it would enhance their lives. Just because you have it doesn’t mean everyone else does.

  2. If you don’t have an email address in 2020 it is by choice. That’s totally cool but there are consequences for choices. But yes, if they aren’t going to enforce parking rules then they shouldn’t be ticketing in the first place.

  3. Does ever single Berkeley resident have email? And a scanner to scan copies of tickets? This seems like a serious class issue to me. The CM is assuming everyone is connected and have the technology to do this. So people who have tickets are going out to get them scanned at Kinkos?And what about all the people who were sent home, so they may have cars here that they physically cannot move?

    Why doesn’t the CM just waive all street cleaning tickets? That seems more equitable and simpler.

  4. I know Francisco St. is not swept. Would that mean that not all of the streets in Berkeley are swept?

  5. Hmmm, I wonder if the City Manager would consider reversing the “fines” paid by homeowners with non-conforming, non-dwelling spaces in their homes? This dubiously gained revenue stream has the potential to do much more harm to homeowners with coronavirus-related economically fragile circumstances than parking tickets. Besides, plenty of homeowners aren’t fined for their non-conforming spaces, so the “fines” aren’t levied equitably.

  6. Can she waive property taxes for the evil people who own one single home in Berkeley and have to pay $1500 “per month” in property taxes? I have a question… for every hippie/communist/socialist/anarchist in berkeley who think that having a home where to live is a basic right; Why do they tax so heavily to people who only own one freaking little house? Are little property owners guilty of something? Why don’t they tax income across the state instead of sacrificing little property owners?

  7. Ticket issuance on street sweeping day enables the City to actually clean our streets, rather than bob and weave between unmoved vehicles.

    Tickets also prod non-resident vehicle owners, often with expired and/or out-of-state plates, to not leave their cars/trucks/buses in place for long periods of time.

    The City has already suspended enforcement of the 72-hour parking rule, so it does no good to call these vehicles in now; our only hope is ticketing once a month on street sweeping day.

  8. I wish they showed this much concern over RV squatters dumping their sewage into the storm drains. Anyone been down Harrison lately? It smells like an open sewer which, I guess, it is.

  9. Trump wanted Governors to ask nicely for aid.

    Berkeley CM wants a nice email to help with your ticket.

    Striking similarity. You’re dumbfounded those two don’t have more pressing issues to spend their time on.

  10. It must be nice for a City Manager to have nothing higher-priority to do than something that could be handled by an admin assistant with a few written criteria. At a cost somewhat lower than her ~$270/hr (counting benefits and unfunded pension but not that $800k home loan). Must be a slow news month.

    A reminder for all victims: You can sign up for free monthly text alerts, fully settable for your block’s schedule, at http://www.dontfearthesweeper.com/ . Don’t forget to set a 2nd one for the other side of the street, if different. They arrive at 7pm the night before.

  11. Fine article, just a shame there isn’t one on the housing announcement from that same livestream. Especially given the hypocrisy in the explanation behind the street sweeping.

    “Berkeley is legally required to keep its sewage lines and waterways clear, said Williams-Ridley, which means street sweeping must continue. Everything that goes into the city’s storm drains ends up in Aquatic Park and the San Francisco Bay, she said.”

    Ok fine. Street sweeping is a bit dangerous, exposing city workers to infection. But it’s legally required so the City does it.

    Let’s look at the housing situation. The ZAB could meet remotely, so no exposure risk. The ZAB is also legally required to perform its duties in a timely manner (California Government Code 65950 mandates certain deadlines for ZAB approvals)

    And yet, Williams-Ridley said that, while they could hold virtual ZAB meetings, they don’t want to and won’t. With no explanation.