Lowriders celebrate after Sacramento scraps anti-cruise rule
Olivia Fonseca stood by her light blue 1952 Chevrolet Deluxe, parked along Broadway late Saturday afternoon in Sacramento.
Four days earlier, Fonseca appeared virtually as a member of a group that had formed in recent months, the Sacramento Lowrider Commission, urging the city council to end Sacramento’s 34-year anti-cruise ordinance. , which the board quickly unanimously agreed to do.
And now, with an assortment of classic cars beginning to maneuver slowly down the boulevard, near the 4 p.m. start for an event scheduled before council action, Fonseca and others could celebrate.
“My God, this is liberation,” Fonseca said. “That’s what it means…you don’t have that fear factor that we’re here and we’re going to get arrested and we’re going to get a ticket.”
Cruising seems to have never completely disappeared in Sacramento.
Lowriders representing car clubs have been seen in the town every weekend night during the summer and local police have reportedly stopped enforcing the anti-cruise ordinance in recent years. This can now officially be done without worry.
An hour later, moods seemed largely relaxed with slow-moving traffic along Broadway between about 21st and 26th Streets, but there were few complaints and no law enforcement presence.
The event drew dozens of cruisers, but also passers-by who walked along Broadway with their families.
“I think it’s a great idea,” one of the onlookers, local photographer Harvey Bilt, said of the cruise as he stood near family members. “It amazes me that there was a law like this in the first place.”
Coverage of Bees from March 20, 1988, two days before the city passed the anti-cruise ordinance, noted that cruises on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights could attract thousands of people.
“We have to put a stop to this,” then-council member Joe Serna Jr., who later served as mayor, told The Bee. “The problem on Franklin is that the cruise attracts an unsavory element. We were beaten there a few years ago.
The order is now considered discriminatory, The Bee reported on Wednesday. Councilor Eric Guerra said lowriders are often wrong and blamed for side shows, spinning engines and tire marks. But the reality is that these events are usually family friendly.
Francine Mata, a member of the Sacramento Lowrider Commission, noted that a diverse cross section of society crossed paths, telling The Bee on Friday: “We have a lawyer, we have business owners, we have public officials, we have people who are in politics who all lowride.”
Saturday’s event had the atmosphere of a high street parade mixed with a classic car show and tailgating before an alumni concert.
“It reminds me of the good old days,” said Johnny Ramos, 60, of Stockton, holding a strawberry drink near his black 1967 Buick Riviera in the parking lot of Mexican restaurant Los Jarritos.
The event drew minor criticism. A security guard at the Mainstage dispensary at 2320 Broadway, who went by the name Marcell, stood near a 76 gas station where many cruisers appeared to be parked by pumps but not buying gas. The guard said he and others had to stand in the parking lot to make sure dispensary customers could park.
“It’s just about respecting other businesses on Broadway,” he said. “I can’t say I’m happy with it.”
Many other cruisers, however, appeared to be dutiful about their attendance on Saturday. Ramos said auto clubs in the area have come together and are making sure to pick up the trash. A bag could be seen tied to a sign post along Broadway, appearing to contain bottles.
Katie Valenzuela, a Sacramento City Council member who helped lead efforts to have the anti-cruise ordinance removed from the city’s code, said Friday afternoon that members of the Sacramento Lowrider Commission were seriously following up s there were complaints.
“What you hear from every lowrider you talk to, every club member you talk to, they’ll almost on their own say without prompting that they need to make sure they’re doing it right because they don’t don’t want to spoil it for everyone,” Valenzuela said.
This story was originally published June 5, 2022 5:00 a.m.