Shocked SHOCKED…


Shocked SHOCKED…

Its Casablanca in San Francisco — Just as Captain Renault (Claude Raines) was Shocked SHOCKED to find gambling at Rick’s, just as he was handed his winnings, the Supervisors in San Francisco are "shocked" to find that money from parking meters isn’t getting in to the city’s coffers. Read about it here.

I have a post below about part of this issue. My concern here is that only now the city dads in SF are only beginning to realize that they have a problem with their parking.

For years it has been know in the parking industry that San Francisco (and other major cities) has had a problem accounting for revenue. The city’s off street lots have under reported income for years to dodge the 20% parking tax. One operator paid a fee of $1 a year plus a percentage over a certain amount. The lot generated the overage only in the last two years of the five year contract. and only a minimal amount then. HUH?

How about the operator that was running the lots around the baseball stadium and couldn’t pay the six figure fines fast enough when he was caught under reporting. Did you know that there are parking locations in the city that the government doesn’t even know exist?  Welcome to San Francisco.

It is shocking, but certainly not surprising. The city tried a few years ago to get revenue control equipment certified so they could understand how much money was being collected. They proceeded to muck up the process so much that the plan had to be abandoned. The replacement law is embraced by the operators, who are laughing all the way to the bank.

The problem in Baghdad by the Bay, as in most cities, is that no one cares. Parking is that weird uncle we keep locked in the attic. Don’t talk about it and maybe it will go away. Cities like New York and Los Angeles have millions in uncollected fines. Chicago has millions in uncollected taxes (due primarily to unreported income). The list is endless.

One of the Auditors in San Francisco told me that frankly that he saw no problem. He was adding two people to his staff to handle audits of the over 600 parking garages in the city. Asked whether or not these were parking experts, he  said "no, they were seasoned veterans of the audit and could do the job well." Heh. The operators are rolling on the floor.

Watch this space. I am aware of other happenings in cable car land that will hit the headlines soon. When they do, they will create more than "shocked" supervisors.


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John Van Horn

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