Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Santa Monica City Council Explores Increased Parking Tax as Serious Parking Revenue Leak is Unaddressed

There is at least one thing in which Santa Methica has always excelled: terrorizing all who dare to drive a car here

These Observer pages have long chronicled decades of mismanagement by Santa Methica's governing bodies, the accumulated misdirection and incompetence having led the city to the death spiral in which it currently finds itself.

However, there is likely agreement among not only Observer regulars, but, residents and tourists alike, that there is at least one thing in which Santa Methica has always excelled: terrorizing all who dare to drive a car here, by handing out very expensive tickets for expired meters/street cleaning/parking too far from the curb. Not to mention stupid road diets like the Disaster on 17th St. (more on that in a near-future submission). I vividly recall the longtime, blonde, pony-tailed female meter maid who seemed to absolutely relish raining misery on her charges. I believe she's now long retired, enjoying a bloated SM pension, and, laughing hysterically, telling friends her war stories. Like how (and I actually watched this about 20 years back) she came by in her Cushman cart, and gave a guy a ticket as he was waiting in the red zone outside the old 15th and Montana Starbucks; engine running, waiting for his friend to emerge with the lattes. THEN, as he reacts, she, without expression, without saying a word, goes around to the front of the car, sees he has no front license plate, and hands him a SECOND ticket. I still remember his blood-curdling wail, his sheer horror, so many years later. I've been to all 50 states. Only Fort Lauderdale, Florida tops Santa Methica in parking enforcement terror. Twenty year old memories from their downtown: having to put money in a meter there while going into a Walgreens at 3 AM to buy some toothpaste; and, another run-in there, being ordered by a meter maid, to either feed some coins or receive a ticket, while unloading my car in front of a Fedex shipping location, the meter having innocently expired on me.

So, in light of SM's infamous, ruthless efficiency in the matter of parking, this reign of terror against the evil automobile, how is it, that Santa Methica is hemorrhaging money at its parking garages, just as we are reading that it wants to explore increasing the parking tax. You see, there's a nasty little, not-so-secret game going on, has been going on for many years: keep your car in the garage, say at Broadway, spend the day at the beach, then, when it's time to pay the weekend $25 all day max fee, just ***TAILGATE*** the vehicle in front of you, and, ****PRESTO****, your parking for the day has cost you.......NOTHING!!! How easy, how simple, how....brilliant!

This annoying tailgating has happened to just me a number of times, so, I am sure it is a very common event indeed. The scofflaw simply times his approach to the toll gate, and gets in nice and tight right behind you. When the gate goes up on you, he just scoots right out with you, and he's on his way, and Santa Methica is out significant money. There is a sign warning drivers not to do that, but, there is no enforcement of the threat. Not only is SM losing money, but, the practice is dangerous, and could well lead to a rear-end accident.

You'd think that maybe "rogue" City Manager David White, as downtown crusader John Alle recently (and too benevolently) called him, would maybe want to take a look at this situation. Maybe, in the year 2024, there might be something called a license plate recognition camera that would send a citation to the perps who are sneaking out of our garages. No, that would be too intelligent a move for Mr. White, who spends his time on how best to encourage western America's druggies to make a pilgrimage to the drug addict's Mecca, Santa Methica. Or writing his misguided, dreadfully dull and boring, blah-blah-blah, boilerplate magnum opus on how Santa Methica is addressing the homeless situation (published in Santa Monica Daily Press on Dec. 30, 2023). Mr. White, why don't you spend more time on prosecuting these garage tailgaters? While you're on a roll, you might consider how to remove visual blight from the city (dilapidated, abandoned newspaper boxes or public phone remnants); or try planting trees downtown where there has been only an empty dirt square for years on end, a previous street tree having died----rather than trying to be Father Theresa to the world's down and outers?


Reader Comments(1)

Bonnie writes:

There's no homeless/oversize parking ticket (surprise). The City has openly welcomed and sold itself to the State and LA County's goal of only catering to and serving unemployed, homeless, drug addicts who have driven themselves mentally ill. The City engages with multiple State and County agencies to grow the homeless-industrial complex by providing phones, money, drug paraphernalia, food, clothing, and all other needed materials so that these folks can live permanently in our parks and on our streets. They support bringing out-of-city people to come live the same lifestyle. In turn, the government then comes to us for more money because only more money can solve the problem they created. Homeless people need to get clean - off drugs - and get a job. They need to move somewhere they an afford (not santa monica). Not one more dime of City money should be spent on homelessness. It should be spent on law enforcement and steam cleaning our feces strewn sidewalks.