Creation of an ordinance exempting from parking meter fees military veterans who display honorific license plates was proposed at the Santa Monica City Council meeting Tuesday, October 3rd.
City staff was directed by the council to create the ordinance after evaluating any possible revenue implications. Honorific license plates to be exempted include Congressional Medal of Honor, Legion of Valor, Purple Heart, American Prisoner of War and Pearl Harbor Survivor.
The request was made by Councilman Kevin McKeown and was approved unanimously by the council.
After attending an event where a number of Pearl Harbor survivors gathered at the Santa Monica Pier, McKeown says he was “so struck by these people and the history and the courage and the bravery they showed,” that he thought exempting them from parking fees would be a nice way to honor these victims of war.
“I think they deserve this respect,” McKeown said. “I think this would be a wonderful way, at very little cost to the city, to honor a subset, but still an important and heroic subset, of America’s veterans.”
If a parking fee exemption ordinance is eventually adopted for these veterans, Santa Monica will be joining Culver City and Fresno, which already have ordinances like this in place, Mc-Keown said.
“The hope is to make this a statewide thing to allow free metered parking for these license plate-designated veterans,” he said.
Jerry Rubin, a Santa Monica resident who spoke at the council meeting, said his only concern is “the funds that are taken away” by exempting these veterans from parking fees.
“You can certainly evaluate this as a positive thing and see where it goes,” Rubin said.
“The revenue impact is going to be truly tiny, but I’ll have staff assess that,” said Mayor Bob Holbrook.
The 11th Airborne Division Association, the Jewish War Veterans Los Angeles District Council and the Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs all support the City of Santa Monica creating this ordinance, McKeown said.
“Hopefully we’ll encourage other cities and eventually the whole state [to adopt this ordinance],” McKeown said.