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Reader Mondays: Is There A Limit To The Greed In San Francisco’s Government?

I was born in The City.  I’ve lived in other places during my life but moved back to the Bay Area over a decade ago.  You can drink the water, the weather is fairly mild and it has some of the best views around.  I like that most people are well-read, open-minded and aren’t inclined to tie me to a stick and set me on fire because I don’t share their religious beliefs.  But there is something I have heard that disturbs me.  Parking.

Not just the regular parking mess that always plagues San Francisco.  We know The City is small and there are a shortage of parking spaces, terrible traffic snarls and that idiot bike rider riot that happens once a month.  What I am annoyed with is holiday metered parking.  All of my driving life, it has been a fact that you don’t feed the meters on Federal holidays or Sundays.  These holidays traditionally included New Years Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  Some places would also give you Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day and the day after Thanksgiving.  Well San Francisco is poor.  We know the economy is shit and while the city by the bay is far richer than Squirrelbutt, Arkansas (apologies to the wonderful people of Squirrelbutt), they are cash strapped.

I understand the need to save money but instead of saving money by cutting bureaucratic waste (of which there is a TON), they have decided to grab some more pennies at the expense of the working man.  They have eliminated the holiday meter freebie on certain federal holidays.  Since most of us had no idea that “pick and choose” holiday meter roulette was the new law, tickets fell from the skies.  One of my readers, Ling, had this experience:

“So, on Monday, Labor Day, I went shopping in the Laurel District of San Francisco when I noticed a meter cop distributing tickets on a row of parked cars. Last time I checked, Labor Day is a national holiday, and parking has always been free, like Christmas or MLK Day. Here in the East Bay, holidays, including Labor Day, are listed as free days. Apparently, the City of San Francisco is so strapped for money that it decided to change the holiday free parking law and ticket its residents for street parking on a national holiday!”

Yup, you are correct and it sucks!  I went on-line and found the official scoop.  Everyone take notes.  You can park for FREE at meters on these holidays in San Francisco: New Years Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The city website stated the 4th of July is “Not Enforced in 2010 due to holiday falling on a Sunday”.  So does that mean you have to pay in future years when the holiday falls during the week?  You are going to ticket people on the holiday celebrating the birth of our Nation?  REALLY?!

What pisses me off even more are the holidays NOT covered: Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and the day after Thanksgiving.  I’ll give them the Friday after Thanksgiving but Veteran’s Day?!  HONESTLY?!  I am ashamed at the thought that a person who fought and bled for our country would get a ticket on Veteran’s Day.  Hey Newson!  I know you’ve never served in the military.  Don’t you think this is a travesty or are you too busy with your own political aspirations to care about the City you are suppose to be leading?

The cost of living in San Francisco is through the roof.  A tiny one-room apartment is pricier than a unit of the same size in the Village in New York City . The once friendly, laid-back, progressive image of San Francisco has been replaced with money-pinching politicians, stringent laws and ineffectual police officers. What is happening to our city?  If you really care, you will look harder at the fat that exists within the government rather than taxing your already overburdened citizens.  You still have time to make this right.  You are the Mayor.  If you want to make it happen, you can.  As for the rest of the “unwashed masses”, here are the breaks you DO get on ALL holidays:

  • Street Sweeping: Not enforced (M-F street sweeping that is… the few streets that have 7-day street sweeping will still be enforced)
  • Residential Permit Parking: Not enforced
  • Commuter Towaway: Not enforced
  • Green Zone: Not enforced (short term parking – usually 10 mins Monday-Saturday 10am to 6pm)
  • My advice?  Move out of San Francisco and move to the East Bay, the weather is better anyway and you are still close to the City so you can visit.  How do we change this rule?  Well, a start would be a well worded letter to Mayor Newson asking him to do the right thing and remind him that if he can’t do such a small thing for the citizens of his city, he loses your vote for Lt. Governor.