"No other California city is known to have a similar measure on the books, nor have any been identified in other parts of the nation," according to the City Attorney’s report released by the city of Ventura today, July 8.

The real question is, is the initiative legal? (Given no other city has passed such an initiative, this gives way to a heated debate.) 

According to the report:

The California Vehicle Code strictly controls the City’s power to regulate parking.

For the last fifty years, the California courts have held that the state- delegated power to regulate parking meters is vested exclusively in the City Council.

 

The courts have held that the regulation of traffic, including parking meters, is too dynamic to be administered by the voters given the "cumbersome delay and heavy expense" of election processes.

 

The California legislature created limited rights in Vehicle Code Section 22508 to challenge parking meter regulations by referendum.

 

The California court of appeal has held that the referendum rights the legislature added to Vehicle Code Section 22508 do not include the right to repeal parking meter regulations by initiative.

 

The portion of the Parking Meter Initiative purporting to repeal "City of Ventura Muni Code Chapter 16.225" is not a proper subject for the initiative power because the state has delegated control of parking meters exclusively to the City Council. The measure therefore improperly addresses an administrative action outside the scope of the people’s reserved initiative powers.

 

The portions of the Parking Meter Initiative prohibiting charges for "parking on any street or city-owned property without a ballot election in which a 2/3 majority of ballots cast approve the fees" also appear to conflict with the Council’s exclusive powers under the Vehicle Code, at least as to on street parking (including preferential residential permits).

 

The portion of the Parking Meter Initiative prohibiting post-December 31, 2005 charges for parking on "city-owned property" without a two-thirds vote may be valid. This language is at least conceivably severable from the remainder of the measure.

The Parking Meter Initiative may be subject to a preelection legal challenge.  

 The real question regarding the parking meters for those who oppose: game on or game over?