NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — Leaders with the United Lowrider Coalition have canceled a series of scheduled cruise nights in National City.
“We have decided to cancel all of the future cruises on Highland Avenue, sadly,” Jovita Arellano with the United Lowrider Coalition.
The decision comes after National City had a cruise night earlier this month – the first one in 30 years – since a ban on cruising in 1992 over crime and traffic concerns.
After meeting with the coalition for more than a year, the city lifted the ban to hold six cruise nights on the first Friday of each month through October.
City organizers were then told they’d have to pay following a cruise night May 6 for the final four cruise nights: $8,000 for police security, with other fees on top of that.
“That’s almost $60,000 to $70,000 for the next four cruises from July to October — we can’t afford that,” said Arellano.
Arellano said when the coalition started last year, the goal was to get a repeal for the city’s “no cruising” ordinance.
“By everybody’s account, what happened less than a month ago was a huge success. Neighbors came out and said they enjoyed it. Businesses enjoyed it — everybody that was a part of the cruise enjoyed it. There were no major issues in our city, only cause for celebration and so we need to do more of that,” city councilmember Jose Rodriguez said.
The coalition claims the city never mentioned any fees in the beginning.
“This is not a ‘City of National City versus cruising’ issue. This issue is about an event and temporary use permit that was re-evaluated as needing to address the safety of community, transportation impacts and congestion,” Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis said.
Arellano says city leaders should look at the examples of cruise nights, held without fees, in other cities around the county.
“It’s generating revenue for those cities and they see that opportunity and they’re all peaceful. We enjoy going to those. It’s like, San Diego County can do this, why can’t National City pick up on this?” Arellano said.
The next cruise night was scheduled for June 3.