I get in trouble in SF


I get in trouble in SF

The Tax Administrator for SF didn’t much like my comments about his office biting off more than it can chew with its new parking ordinance. You can read my article in PT. Its pretty straight forward.  I kept most of the editorializing out of it. However that’s what the blog is for.

Mr Purtis (Tax Administrator) took a bit of umbrage, I think, with my comments in the blog that related to his staff mentioning to me that their auditors were fully capable of handling parking audits. I had mentioned that perhaps they should hire real parking auditors to handle the job and they commented that perhaps the parking consultants should help the operators meet the letter and spirit of the new law.

Let’s put it another way. My concern is that the city and county of San Francisco is not taking parking seriously. When they attempted to do so a few years ago by writing a specification and then attempting to hold both the manufacturers and the operators to a high standard, they went off the rails.Everyone involved in the process, the manufacturers, the operators, the owners, the folks from weights and measures all had problems with the law.  It was complex, difficult to understand, and placed extremely heavy requirements on each of the players.

Now, butchers and the people who make scales, oil companies and the people who make pumps, hotels and the people who make elevators, etcetcetc all seem to be able to make their products to a standard and the city inspectors seem to be able to check them and ensure they don’t cause problems for the citizenry. However in the parking business, the city was unable to write a ordinance that could be followed, weights and measures couldn’t seem to enforce it, the people actually involved couldn’t deal with building equipment to meet the standards or approve the equipment that actually existed. Now why is that?  Are we saying that parking is more complex that pumping gas or weighing hamburger or ensuring elevators don’t fall out of the sky?

Yep — I suggest it is.

I also suggest that using the same auditors that audit the local 7-11 or men’s clothing store and adding one person to the staff who will handle parking won’t cut it. There are over 600 parking locations in the city. If you have a 4 person team doing nothing but auditing garages and each garage takes 3 days, that means you would audit each garage  once every three years, maybe. I think that when their survey is complete, they will find  another  2-300 locations in the city and once they get them on the rolls, they will have nearly 1000 garages to audit.

Of course, once they find a problem, then they have to do something about it. But that’s another story for another time.

I know George and his team are professionals, and will bring all their background and knowledge to bear on the problem. But that’s just it, isn’t it. As an industry, we attempt to audit and set controls in place ourselves and do a so so job. And we know all about parking and the issues. How is the city going to do that without help.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Nice comment about the audit every three years- you’d expect that auditors would be able to count….

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