Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oakland's Parking Controversy

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Some Oakland residents and merchants are angry about the city council's decision to jack up parking rates, increase ticket fines, and crack down on illegal street parking, according to the Chron. Merchants are upset about the extension of parking meter hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the increase in street parking to $2 an hour, arguing that it will harm the city's shopping districts. And some residents are angry about the crack down on parking on the wrong side of the street or parking your car with two wheels on the curb on narrow streets. The frustration and outrage are understandable, but there's no denying that the city needs the added revenue because of its desperate financial condition, and because it's already slashed services across the board.

It's easy to rail against Oakland City Hall, but hard to find solutions. It's true that the increased parking fees and extended hours may hurt retail merchants, but the city council has few other options for raising revenue. There is a good argument to be made that city employees should take another pay cut, but that will be a tough sell to the unions, who have already agreed to a 10 percent cut in compensation - except the police union. The only way to get them to do it, would be to threaten more layoffs, but if they call the city's bluff, then more layoffs will only gut city services further.

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