NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) – National City’s cruising event, which recently returned after a 30-year absence, is being canceled by organizers due to fees they would have to pay the city.
National City’s City Council had asked the United Lowrider Coalition to pay roughly $18,000 per cruise event, which included various fees for traffic safety and security in the form of off-duty police officers.
For the five remaining cruises scheduled, that would have meant $90,000 – an amount the Coalition said they could not afford.
In response, the Coalition made what they called a “difficult decision” to cancel all future cruises.
The group is comprised of volunteers, and organizers said they do not have the funding to make cruising events the way the city envisions.
Organizers said they do not want to burden the community, and they were hoping to reach a compromise to make the events happen.
With the cancellation of the cruises, the group hopes the City Council might finally hear their pleas.
The Coalition said their goal of repealing the “no cruising” ordinance will continue.
National City Mayor Alejandra Sotero-Solis sent ABC 10News this statement on Friday’s decision:
“This is not a ‘City of National City versus cruising’ issue. This issue is about an event & temporary use permit that was re-evaluated as needing to address the safety of community, transportation impacts and congestion.
I was personally contacted by businesses & organizations who stated they would help pay or help fundraise for the fees.
It saddens me that the United Lowrider Coalition continues to choose to make their decisions via the media & not through the City ad-hoc committee or city staff who were all willing to help make this a success event. It is their decision but as we saw earlier this week, we must have public safety at the forefront.
We cannot control what others do, but we can control how our City partners with event organizers to ensure public safety.”
The City of San Diego and National City are among the cities in California that have ordinances restricting cruising.
"This is an ordinance that has not been enforced. In other words, it just sits there. So, let's just get rid of it. Why do we have to have it on the books? What is that saying to us? Is that saying, 'oh we're not good enough? Is it saying that as Chicanos or Latinos that we have this stigma? ," said Dr. Alberto Pulido, professor of ethnic studies.
He explained the hobby was criminalized around the country in the 1990s and said it's time to rethink the stigma.
"How do we honor and how do we value this tradition that's been in San Diego since world war II?," he said.