PERSPECTIVE-Mayor Garcetti’s 2014-2015 budget included a line item for the hiring of 50 part-time parking enforcement officers. He estimated it would add $5 million to revenue. The mayor tried to paint the strategy as a way to promote business by discouraging violators, thus making parking spaces along commercial corridors more available.
If the mayor really believes the public will buy that explanation, then he is an embarrassment to Oxford University. Let’s check his transcript to see what he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Perhaps he should have paid attention to the advice offered by Bell Scholar Robert Rizzo: “Pigs get Fat … Hogs get slaughtered!!!! So long as we’re not Hogs … All is well.”
Granted, $5 million pales in comparison to the theft orchestrated by Rizzo and his crew, but the principle is the same: there is a line where even if you cross it by an inch, an alarm is triggered. Garcetti tripped it by attempting to shake the spare change from the public’s pocket.
He got greedy, and now the spotlight is focused on his credibility. His budget may just transition from pig to hog status. If the mayor is playing games on parking, it is likely there are other aspects of the budget worth challenging.
What’s more, Garcetti’s ploy just might end up reducing revenue in the long run.
As a result of the negative publicity generated by the prospects of ramped-up parking enforcement, Garcetti has had to include the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative Group to participate in a panel to discuss reforms to the ever-growing cash cow (hog?) fed by ticket revenue.
Steven Vincent and Jay Beeber, the group’s founders, have already succeeded in bringing down the red light cameras. They have street cred.
In an interview on KFI, Jay Beeber made it clear that if the discussions do not yield satisfactory results, a ballot initiative would be the next step. If the group is compelled to go the initiative route, they will likely make it worth their while by demanding more stringent reforms.
Either way, ticket revenue is likely to decrease, especially if meter violation fines are capped at $25 (down from $63) and a reasonable appeal process is implemented.
It is ironic. Garcetti’s attempt to balance the budget on an issue that affects everyday life for most of us may lead to a larger budget hole, not only now, but in the future.
That’s what happens when you avoid key structural changes in favor of penalizing the public.
Mr. Garcetti, we are not Rhodes Scholars, but we can read a meter … and yours just registered “fail.”
(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and former NC Valley Village board member and treasurer. He blogs at Village to Village and contributes to CityWatch. He can be reached at: [email protected])
Vol 12 Issue 35
Pub: Apr 29, 2014