Don’t pay the ransom, I’ve escaped.


Don’t pay the ransom, I’ve escaped.

A reader pointed out to me that he hadn’t seen any blog posts lately from me. He was right, I have been remiss. I’m caught between long covid, various other ailments, and the summer doldrums. The truth is that the real reason is the summer doldrums.

Parking doesn’t stop just because its summer. In fact, its more on our minds as we head out to the beach, mountains, and open air concerts, ball games and the like. And it can be expensive. A venue like the Hollywood Bowl here in LA can price parking as much as a general admission ticket.

Stop me if you have heard this story, but foggy mornings here on LA’s westside remind me of the conundrum folks bidding on running beach parking can find themselves facing. I’m not sure what the deal an operator cuts with LA County today, but back in the day, it was a lump sum contract. The operator bid a certain amount that was to be provided to the county, and then was able to keep all revenues generated by the lots, fair enough.

The problem was predicting the weather. Although it can be very warm in the inland areas of Southern California sending folks scrambling to the beach and filling the parking lots and the operator’s pockets, the weather along the coast, over those beaches, can be problematic. Its July 22 as I write this missif and it is overcast and cold at the beach.

So the operator is at the mercy of Mother Nature. If its cold and foggy at the beach, not as many people will come and park, and not as much money will be generated. If the operator bid an amount high enough to get the contract, and the weather didn’t live up to the Chamber of Commerce’s info, disaster could strike and the operator would find itself at a loss.

There is a fog horn that alerts boats as they approach the entrance to Marina Del Rey which is at the heart of beach parking. If that horn is going off during the day, its bad news for the operator. In fact, it was known that if you heard the horn on the Fourth of July, there would be no profits that year for the operator.

I can hear that fog horn from my home. And throughout the years, I would listen in early  July to determine whether or not the operator running the parking at LA county beaches was going to make a profit. Most years were profitable, but some years not so much.

This has been a good year for parking at the beach. No Fog Horn on the Fourth.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. You are certainly entitled to a break, but know your voice is missed. Hopefully words like this will help to lift you out of your doldrums.

    Get better and stay well.

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