The city of Sacramento no longer has a law on the books banning lowriding, the popular pastime in which people show off customized classic cars by cruising on city streets.
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to repeal the 1988 ordinance that restricted cruising, a law that today is viewed as discriminatory in the Latino community.
Sacramento police have not enforced the law in at least a decade. Getting it off the books and taking down no-cruising signs along Franklin Boulevard and Broadway, nonetheless, represented a huge milestone, said Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela.
“This ordinance is a remnant of other days,” said Valenzuela, who led the effort to delete the ordinance. “Days that bring painful memories for many of our residents. It’s never too late to do the right thing.”
Olivia Fonseca of the Sacramento Lowrider Commission was near tears as she took a seat in Valenzuela’s chair to share a written testimony during the virtual meeting.
“For 34 years we have had this cloud hanging over our heads for driving our beautiful cars, our mobile art, on the boulevards of Sacramento,” Fonseca said. “We want to drive low and slow not speed, not rev, not leave tire marks … Hundreds of lowriders ask you to appeal the ‘no cruising’ ordinance. Repeal the ordinance and take down those darn signs.”
After the council voted, a crowd of people watching a livestream of the meeting in Cesar Chavez Park broke out in cheers, Valenzuela said. Several people were crying tears of joy in her office.
Councilman Eric Guerra said the ordinance was hurtful because it targeted a specific community. Many people mistakenly blame lowriders for side shows, revving engines and creating tire marks, he said.
But that’s a contrast to what actually happens at lowrider events. The gatherings are typically family friendly, and often include volunteering and donating to charity.
“If anybody has ever seen low riding, nobody wants anybody burning out, chipping this classic paint, all this detail that’s gone into creating this expression,” Guerra said. “Cruising means family. Cruising means community.”
The police department will continue enforcement against sideshows and reckless driving, a city staff report said.
The ordinance, which council adopted in 1988, carried fines of $250 to $500 per violation.