Then of course, there’s Oakland

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Then of course, there’s Oakland

Like Whistler below, Oakland is attempting to raise parking rates. They have done some good things in the face of the recession, but can’t seem to get any respect. From this article

Over the past year, Oakland’s city councilors slashed the size of city government, cut 350 city employees, sliced their own budgets by 20 percent, took 10 percent pay cuts and persuaded powerful city unions to swallow up to 10 percent wage concessions as they reduced budget gaps of $144 million, shuttering no major programs and even, with the help of the mayor, increasing the number of cops to a historic high in one of the most violent cities in America – leading to a 13 percent decline in the city’s most serious crimes.

Yet, the figures provoking citizen outrage are 50 cents and 2 hours. They represent the increase in hourly parking meter rates to $2 and the extended time, now until 8 p.m., that meters are enforced.

Will they never learn? Parking is the most emotive subject known to man. Screw with a person’s taxes and you have a heated discussion, screw with their parking, and you have a revolution.

If you read the article carefully, you might find that this revolution most likely swirls around a single individual businessman who thinks the city is using “extortion” to raise parking rates.

Once again, it sounds like a good PR firm is needed. As one councilperson put it:

Council members had some 35 public meetings on the now-$400 million budget, but they’ve found themselves taken aback that the complexity of the budget process has gotten buried in protests over parking. “I’m amazed at how many people are only now hearing about our budget crisis,” Councilwoman Pat Kernighan said of her talks with residents over parking. “I don’t think they understand the context in which some of this is happening.”

This city has succeeded in reducing all its services a bit, painfully, but in doing so was able to keep all its major programs. WOW! Sensible government, and in Oakland, right next to Berkeley, but I digress.

They cut every program in the city and heard little or no complaints. When then started messing with parking, all hell broke loose.

It sounds like a few public meetings discussing parking in general, a market approach, and good information on where the money is going would be in order. Maybe Whistler and Oakland could use a good “parking retreat” where they could discuss these issues. Don Shoup call your office.

JVH


 

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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