Change in always a challenge, be it at the national or local level, and there is no issue that makes this more evident than paid parking. The city has implemented paid parking in several locations throughout the town and this has met with strong resistance from within the community. One can understand their opposition to pay for something you haven’t had to pay for in the past. In my job I get to travel to many destinations and they have paid parking, so I never saw it as a big deal. I just assumed the city was catching up with many other destinations. I don’t have a problem with paid parking my reasons are several.
First, user fees are fair. Those who use an asset should pay for it. The mother who takes her two kids to the pool will pay $14 to use that community asset. The father that takes his kid for a round of golf will pay around $20 each for a round to use that community asset. It’s simply unequitable for those that want to use the community asset at Lakeview Commons and other locations to get a free ride while those that use other community assets pay. It creates an artificial subsidy.
In the scheme of things, the number of tickets written are not a big deal. In fiscal year 2012-13, the police department wrote 3,551 tickets total — that’s everywhere for everything, not just paid parking tickets. Consider that this destination on an annual basis generates 1.6 million overnight visitors and, for the sake of discussion, assume that there are 2.5 people per car, that’s 640,600 cars. The number of tickets written for everything amounts to 0.5 percent. That doesn’t mean we need to make unhappy visitors by giving them a ticket but that can be improved with better education, outreach and information.
We need every nickel and dime we can find. Some will say it’s a small amount of the total budget so we should not bother with it. I disagree. It’s a quarter of a million annually we don’t have now. Over 10 years, it would be nice to have $2.5 million that we don’t have now to have put into community services.
We need to take the long view and a different view. Let’s step back, let the program operate for a year or two and have a thorough review of the program and see if it works in the best long term interest of the community. It would be great to at least have a full year of data so we can really see the programs impact, then we can make an informed decision. Let’s have the city form a city/community advisory committee to constantly review the program and make recommendations for improvements.
The world has changed, the recession has changed everything and in many ways local government is responding to those changes. There will always be someone or some group that opposes change but, if we react to them and fail to take the long view and how to best change for the good of the community, we are just destined to remain the same and that’s what really hurts the community.
Don’t miss HBO’s documentary “Sports in America” it does a great job of showing the connection of sport to people’s lives and the difference and importance of those events. It’s a don’t miss.
It’s a Wrap
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Remember those that are less fortunate then you. Not everyone has a family, many are alone. It can be the best time of year and the toughest. Give where you can.
— Carl Ribaudo is a contributing columnist to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He is also a consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Shore. He can be reached at email@example.com