Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Parking: Who says the little guy can’t win?

By cburt
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009 at 7:31 pm in Night Owl, Politics.

As my dear, late mother would say: ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease.’ And all the squeaky, squawky drivers who wrote, called and emailed their elected reps to protest the new parking fees, fines and hours, have been heard.

Both Councilmembers Pat Kernighan and Ignacio De La Fuente are ready to sponsor legislation to do away with the 8 p.m. meter enforcement, rolling it back to the previous 6 p.m. cutoff (hooray, I say!).

“We have to admit when we made a mistake,” De La Fuente told me earlier today.

“After hearing from a great many outraged constituents, I have concluded that the City Council tried to impose too much at once regarding parking fees and fines… Consequently,  I favor rescinding the 8 pm enforcement and going back to 6 pm. ,” wrote Kernighan in an email I just received.

Nothing can happen until the council gets back from break in September. And a word of warning: that revenue the city would have gotten has to come from somewhere. My advice: enjoy the moment of victory, it could be short-lived.

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5 Responses to “Parking: Who says the little guy can’t win?”

  1. awoodall Says:

    City just announced (Thursday 11:15 a.m.) that it would extend all multispace kiosks to 3 hour parking from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. A rumor about a parking-fine amnesty is circulating. No such thing, says city officials. Must be confusion with the tax-amnestry program.

  2. Bruce Nye Says:

    The meetings, petitions, supposed outrage etc. over the very necessary parking changes reminds me of the “astro-turn roots” hysteria we’re seeing during disruptive protests at the health reform town hall meetings. I have just sent the following letter to city council members Kernighan, De La Fuente, Brunner and Quan, all of whom provided leadership during the very difficult budget decisions:

    Council members Kernighan, De La Fuente, Brunner and Quan,

    I have closely watched the increased media attention to the very loud campaign of Alameda resident and Grand Lake Theater owner Allen Michaan to force a role-back of the recent adjustments to parking meter enforcement times and rates. The purpose of this e-mail is to urge you to please stand firm in the face of what appears to be largely manufactured hysteria.

    While I have often been critical of City Council action and inaction over a variety of issues, I was very impressed with the way the council recently addressed the extraordinarily difficult budget decisions it faced. The four of you, in particular, filled the city’s leadership void in forcing the difficult decisions that were necessary to balance the city’s budget. A small but important component of this balancing process was the change in parking regulations. As thanks for your efforts, you are now faced with hysterical meetings, fake recall petitions, and counterproductive proposals that damage local businesses and hurt their employees. Neither Mr. Michaan nor any of his followers have suggested an alternative revenue source, nor have any of them made a convincing case that folks who go out to dinner in the Montclair and Rockridge neighborhoods or Park or Piedmont Avenues cannot afford to pay $2.00 per hour to park while they wine and dine.

    Media reports over the last 48 hours suggest that Council members De La Fuente and Kernighan, among others, may consider the parking adjustments to have been a mistake. These adjustments were not mistaken, were necessary, and I urge all of you to stand by them.

    When you return from your well-deserved summer break, I’m sure you will be faced with a barrage of heat from Mr. Michaan’s followers and others. You will be confronted with supposed poll results showing how unpopular these changes are (the current Oakland Tribune on-line poll gives participants 5 options — 4 of the choices are anti-parking meter adjustment). As I am sure you realize, when voters are asked “would you like to pay higher taxes or fees?” with no alternatives presented, (i.e., “Would you like us to reduce fees and lay off 10 police officers and close the main library 2 days per week”) everyone says”no.” But in a vacuum, that information is pretty meaningless.

    Bottom line is this: you all made very hard decisions to balance the city’s budget. The comparison between the city’s recent performance and the State’s in this regard was stark. The compromises you made were hard, painful and essential. Please don’t go squishy on us when you come back from your recess.

    Bruce Nye
    Member, Make Oakland Better

  3. Cecily Burt Says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens in September, but my notion is the council (particularly Pat) is getting a lot of heat. When I first wrote about the proposed increases I got different responses depending on which neighborhood I was in. Rockridge meter feeders were more like you, considering the increased fees a necessary evil to help the city out of financial crisis.
    The merchants on Grand Avenue aren’t so generous, it appears. They are blaming the decline in business to increased meter fees/enforcement hours, but wasn’t business bad before the meter prices went up?
    What I’d like to know is where the extra $1-2 million the city expected to make from the higher fees, etc, is going to come from if they cave in to the angry parker/merchants.
    In full disclosure, I have to admit I can live with the higher meter prices but I think the 8 p.m. enforcement is just wrong! Even SF stops at 7 p.m.

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