Paso Robles City Council votes to dump paid parking

May 8, 2024

Councilman Steve Gregory, Mayor John Hamon and Councilman Fred Strong


The Paso Robles City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to dump the controversial paid parking program after rejecting a referendum to repeal the ordinance because of errors in the petition.

Multiple public speakers demeaned the council, saying they have failed to represent their constituents who want a chance to vote on the issue. Downtown business owners touted huge increases in revenue without paid parking.

Activist Gary Lehrer discussed the irony of the city council passing an illegal ordinance and then nitpicking at the referendum petition, which the city rejected because of the wrong size type on one line, an issue with the title and a failure to disclose they did not pay signature gatherers.

In response to the thousands of people who signed the referendum petition, Councilman Steve Gregory asked that the council to revisit the paid parking ordinance. While both councilmen Chris Bausch and Fred Strong have repeatedly argued the program harms local merchants, council members Gregory, Sharon Roden and Mayor John Hamon voted to continue paid parking, until Tuesday evening.

Noting he supports the democratic process, Gregory said it was time to abolish paid parking, and that he had no desire to ever talk about parking again.

Without paid parking, Hamon said they will not have the revenue needed to construct a parking garage in the future.

“Legally, there is no way to keep public employees or anyone  from staying there all day in those spots and taking away the spots from the people who are going to trade with the local merchants,” Hamon said. “That’s where we are going, and if that’s what you want, it is fine with me. It is your problem at this point.”

An avid supporter of downtown businesses, Bausch said, “Welcome to the light.”

The board then voted 5-0 to repeal the paid parking ordinance.


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What’s this shows is the actual destain the majority of counsel members hold for the local citizens. A appointed mayor ( previous mayor knew he was sick and shouldn’t have run) and a appointed counsel woman that represents the mayor’s previous district. Hamon has never considered the citizens, he has only pushed for what Wine Country Alliance and Travel Paso aka the “stakeholders” has pushed for, as well as what benefits his 99 year leases at the airport. The citizens give 3 million a year to Travel Paso so they can wine and dine the wealthy in hopes for being thrown a small bone. In a Q an A with the city they admitted theyvhave 41 million in unfunded road liabilities, as well as 41 million in unfunded calper penisons liabilities, their answer was “like most cities”….We are not most cities, we have sat on a tourism gold mine while the wealthy has bilked it, and took advantage of true local citizens. Paso has amazing wine! But shitty roads..And city leaders as well. Time for Change….

Just wait until people see what the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is up to…..more taxes on our receipts are said to be in our future. As if they don’t make enough they plan to tax everyone at local establishments.

Only $41 million owed to CalPERS? Your sister city San Luis Obispo owes over $180,000,000 to CalPERS and millions of dollars on other debts. San Luis Obispo is technically insolvent. But the city’s answer of course is to hire more employees and take on more debt, secured by never ending sales tax increases. You have a chance to spare Paso Robles from this horrific tax and spend complex. Don’t blow it.

Wineries can pay the city to use fairground parking. Harris Stage Lines and other rickshaws can run all day and night. BAN ALL CARS DOWNTOWN. Between Memorial and Labor, The whole park can be an outdoor restaurant 24/7. Shuttle busses can run down the alleys with The Berry Man and other vendors. But once 11am hits …part on, Garth. ScottsDale, MIami Beach, Tijuana can be the models. If you dance with the devil, you need to learn how to boogie.

Is the city council going to implement a plan to automatically reimburse all of the illegal traffic fines they made people pay due to the cities illegal paid parking program? The wasteful spending by this council on paid parking and all the problems it encountered over the last few years is inexcusable. I hope the voters remove every member on the city councel that favored paid parking and who continuesly chose to fight the locals and downtown business owners instead of listening to their concerns over paid parking.

A return to Paso taxpayer subsidized parking.

Only recently, has parking been a “paid for” situation. Thanks to those who moved here, from where paid parking is mandatory.

Were you here, when the hot rod clubs from across the state, would make the Memorial Day, and Labor Day runs to Paso? Filled the hotels and motels to capacity. Filled the restaurants to capacity, filled the bars to capacity…..and filled the streets to capacity. All manor of fantastic artistry in automotive iron imaginable. The main focal point of the gathering, was City Park, where the show stopping street machines would back into the numerous slots around the park, set up their beach chairs and picnic gear, and relax in a town that loved them to be there.

Well, until we got a Police Chief from Los Angeles (you know, where paid parking is mandatory?), who demanded, with threat of fines and towing, that the heavy spending (including taxes) hot rodders park NOSE in. Well, that just not done for a “show and shine”. It didn’t take too many to be fined and towed, for the twice a year car show to disappear….along with, their Lord knows how much, revenue to the city coffers.

Also, Pioneer Day? Used to be only essential businesses could be open (gas stations, grocery stores etc). Had a non-essential business? Not open for Pioneer Day! Yeah…I’ll let you guess what happened, when too many business owners that did not originate from the North County, came to Paso from places where paid parking is mandatory. I’ll give you a hint—who’s NOT open that day?

I’ve no doubt, that soon enough, the people from places where paid parking is mandatory, will shut down Pioneer Day as wasteful, road damaging, and anti-climate (especially with all those free beans).

Does Paso still allow horses on the streets?

I think you’re missing what I’m saying. There is limited space in a downtown, every bit of it can be put to a valuable use, and needs to be maintained. As good conservatives know, there is no such thing as a free lunch – someone is paying for that parking spot and there are really only two choices: resident tax payers of Paso can pay for the parking, or people who park pay for the parking. I prefer the later option.

Also isnt the great thing about Pioneer Day that parking is removed and downtown is full of people, not parked cars? Adds to my point – downtowns are for people and businesses, every parking spot is two tables for a restaurant to have summer seating. I prefer people to cars and trucks.

No cars downtown would be modified for car shows. Bring back car shows. Ban Cars Downtown. Yes 2 competing ideas can coexist.

If the Paso residents re-elect any of the current council or mayor when their terms end, the residents get what they deserve.

Reelecting the people who did what you want is… bad?

Now that wasn’t so difficult was it?

Notice how Hamon still had to act like a petulant child about it though. I wonder if he crossed his arms and stomped his foot while he told everyone it wasn’t his problem then.