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Cruising culture making a comeback in National City

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Posted at 2:52 PM, Feb 23, 2022

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) — After decades of being banned, cruising is making a temporary comeback to National City this spring.

The United Lowrider Coalition has fought for months to get the cruising ban repealed and National City leaders are giving them a period to show it can come back safely.

The ban

The ban was instated in 1992 when the city council passed a city ordinance.

The city classified cruising as "the repetitive driving of a motor vehicle two or more times within a four-hour period, in the same direction, past a traffic-control point in traffic which is congested at or near the traffic-control point."

If someone is found guilty of cruising they could be fined $1,000 and spend up to six months behind bars.

The stereotype

When the ban was instated, those behind the wheel said they were stereotyped.

"We got labeled as the cholos or the bad guys, the thugs, the guys that come over here and cause issues and problems," Mr. Rabbit said.

His wife said what people didn't realize is that those behind the hydraulics had careers to support their hobby.

"They don't realize that even way back when- we all had jobs. We all had careers. We all had families and our cars meant a lot and a lot of money went into our cars," Jovita Arellano said.

Potential business boom

So much money, it fueled an industry.

"You can easily spend 30-grand on a paint job and the striping. It's an expensive hobby," Jonathan Mercado of Mercado's Pinstriping said.

Mercado does custom paint and pinstriping jobs for car enthusiasts. He thinks the temporary return has the potential to help his industry boom.

"It's going to want to get more people involved in the sport. So, more cars are being built. They need painters and stripers. There's a lot of talent out there, not just me," he said. "There is a lot of styles. So, it's definitely going to help us."

The culture

"It's going to be like going back to Disneyland now," said Marcos "Mr. Rabbit" Arellano as he smiled. "Lowriding—it's not just about the cars. It's a brotherhood. It's family."

The culture is something that comes with cruising.

"The one word that would describe the lowrider culture would be unity," Jovita Arellano said.

The group hopes to change the stereotype.

"What we do for the community and what we do for positivity— we are trying to change the narrative," Donnie Taylor said.

Repeal efforts continue

The coalition hopes to get the thirty-year-old ordinance fully repealed.

"If we do it in National City, which would be the first city in the State of California to repeal a no cruising ordinance, then other cities are going to be hopping on and asking for our help," Jovita Arellano said.

The first cruise during the trial period is scheduled for April 2.