Sunday, August 03, 2008

City drivers soaked again

C.W. Nevius's batting average for the number of useful columns he produces is remarkably high. True, he's writing in Progressive Land, a target-rich environment for anyone not blinkered by liberal ideology. Yesterday's column about still another hike in city parking fines pokes another sore spot for city residents: anyone who owns a car in SF is primarily a source of revenue for an out-of-control city government that has 27,680 employees, including 10 people in MTA working in the city's Bicycle Program.

According to MTA's Transportation Fact Sheet of August, 2007, the city collected $29,687,616 from its parking meters in fiscal year 2005-2006. In the same year, it collected $33,350,354 from the operation of its 20 garages and parking lots. In FY 2004-2005, the city collected $5,492,633 from its Residential Permit Parking Program, wherein city residents pay for the privilege of parking on the street near their homes. But the big money-maker for the city is evidently parking tickets, since it collected $88,174,228 this way in FY 2005-2006. Add it all up and it comes to $156,704,831 extracted from drivers in the city in a single year.
A fringe benefit from Nevius's columns is the blizzard of online comments he routinely provokes. I don't know how many traditional letters to the editor an article like that would have gotten in days of yore, but computer technology now surely makes it a lot easier. Last time I looked this column had 123 comments.

A typical comment that shows the danger in continuing down the present anti-car road:

Years ago we used to enjoy going downtown to shop and have lunch about once a week. Now we go down the peninsula. No hassles, no derelicts, free and easy parking, and lower sales tax. I feel sorry for the SF merchants, but San Francisco has become too user-unfriendly for us. And we have lived here all our lives.

Another commenter recommends Marin County as an alternative to SF for that kind of outing. Visit downtown Mill Valley or San Rafael, both of which have easy public parking, good restaurants, and no derelicts. Or there's the Stonestown Galleria, which has plenty of parking. People giving up on SF is the inevitable consequence of a bloated city government that preys on residents, visitors, and its own small businesses.

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