Got a call from the Old Gray Lady, our newspaper of record,
the New York Times. The reporter, one
Jesse McKinley, said he was at deadline and writing about handicapped permit
abuse in California. It was Friday at 6 PM but I agreed to in interview. After all, it was that bastion of fact and
archive, the NEW YORK TIMES.
We spoke for twenty minutes.
I told him that the problem was rampant across the country but the main
reason was that people with these permits get to park for FREE. At least on
street and at least in California, Florida and other states. That meant that
the permits meant not only that people got a close in space, but that they
could park without paying.
I also commented that most handicapped really wanted access,
not a handout. That they needed the handicapped space so they could drive their
big vans and get their chairs and crutches out without problems. The fact that the permits were free was
secondary, and in my opinion causing the problem.
If you have access to the NYT, you can read the article
It’s interesting that he quotes me and the parking rock
star, Don Shoup, with sort of throw away comments, but never quotes a
handicapped person, a handicapped group, or worse, never brings up the
potential real cause of the problem (free parking.) He also neglects to mention the fact that
these permits cost cities millions (the chap from San Francisco touches on this
but it’s never followed up). Not necessarily
because the permits are free, although that’s a big deal, but because cheaters
take space that could be used by the paying public.
The inference is that by raising the fine to $1000 the
problem will go away. Oh Please. As the women who wrote the law said herself
Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, a San Francisco Democrat
who sponsored the new law, said she had seen placards advertised on Craigslist, as well as fakes. “They
are really hard to identify,” Ms. Ma said. “Only a trained eye could tell the
difference.” All of which, she said, has made the law a people pleaser.
Let me parse this for you – The law was written because it will please a
group of people, however it will do little good since placards are a commodity,
even on Craigslist, and the fakes are so good that most can’t tell the
difference. It will please some people, but do little or no good.