The state Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday passed a resolution that encourages cities with decades-old anti-cruise ordinances, such as National City, to repeal them and recognize the cruising culture.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 176, introduced in April by Assemblymember Luz Rivas, D-San Fernando Valley, was approved unanimously and now moves to the full Assembly.
The resolution is a symbolic gesture acknowledging that cruising is a cultural pastime for many Chicanos and that bans on cruising are outdated and discriminatory, Rivas said. With permission from the state, cities began implementing ordinances since the 1980s over concerns about crime, traffic and noise. These laws have not been enforced for years, according to police departments in various cities, including National City and San Jose.
Lowrider groups say they want to see signs prohibiting cruising taken down from their city streets, saying that cruising is not a crime but part of a culture that appreciates the love of cars and all that comes with modifying them.
“This is a part of our Mexican American culture we embrace. My children are learning from this lifestyle. They’ve learned to work on cars mechanically and cosmetically. They have learned that hard work and saving does pay off,” read, in part, a letter in support of ACR 176 by Sofia Toral-Swain.
She is a National City resident who grew up around lowriders with her family and now owns a 1965 Chevy Impala. She is also a member of the United Lowrider Coalition, a group of local residents with roots in cruising working to convince city leaders to repeal the 1992 cruising ban.
Monday’s unanimous support behind the resolution is a step in the right direction, said Toral-Swain, who was one of several people from lowrider groups across the state that urged lawmakers to approve ACR 176.
“We all sent letters of support, hoping this would pass because we weren’t able to get this through with National City officials,” she added. “But this is only the beginning. We won’t stop until we’re able to cruise peacefully.”
National City Vice Mayor Marcus Bush also sent a letter, saying the resolution “helps to de-stigmatize the lowrider community” because the bans criminalize “culture and an activity enjoyed by predominately black and brown community members.”
Bush and Councilmember Jose Rodriguez have reiterated that they support repealing the city’s 30-year ban immediately. Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis and council members Mona Rios and Ron Morrison have said the city must first assess if cruising can safely work in National City. Future meetings between city officials and members of the United Lowrider Coalition to discussing the topic are expected.