Saturday, May 16, 2009

San Francisco Knows What's Best For You

Socialist Board of Supervisors moves to save freedom to travel by killing it.For those fortunates among you who have never had the pleasure of living in an urban paradise, I will probably be introducing you to what it's like in my posts. Many densely-populated cities have Alice in Wonderland governments, but San Francisco's is almost in a class of its own.

San Francisco's streets are falling apart, literally. Occasionally, two or three automobiles get devoured by a sinkhole which suddenly appears as a result of the crumbling infrastructure. Parking is a nightmare, and when you find a place to park, you will pay some of the highest meter or public parking rates in the nation. If you're a developer who is lucky enough to get a business building permit, your request for two hundred parking spaces in the building will be reduced to fifteen or twenty. If you want to get from The Wharf to Ocean Beach, your traveling time in a car is about twenty minutes. On public transportation, that would be more like an hour and fifteen minutes to three hours, depending on which bus or train breaks down along the way.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has the answer. Raise the parking rates even higher, reduce available parking even more. Add Sundays to the meters on the streets (already in place in the downtown area), as well as imposing the higher parking rates at city-owned parking lots. Add five dollars to each parking ticket, even though our current fine rate is enough to support a small country. Cut street-cleaning in order to increase the fines on cars which are not moved during our already spotty street cleaning days. Folks, this is not my opinion. These are the exact words of the current proposal being presented to the full Board by Supervisor John Avalos.

Why would they do this? Because government knows best. The Muni (our local system of buses and light rail) didn't get all the money it wanted in the recently proposed city budget. But that's not the reason stated by the noble Supervisor proposing this brilliant solution. It's for the seniors, the "lower income" riders, and (you guessed it) the children. Never mind the occasional murder or mugging on the buses and trains, the multiple delays, the obnoxious drivers,and the arrival times that rarely bear any resemblance to reality--the Muni stinks, literally. The smell of urine, feces and unwashed bodies is almost unbearable. I keep bottles of Fabreze handy at work just to get the smell off my clothes, and I'm no pinky-finger metrosexual. "Hi, Mr. Homeless Person, what is that unusual cologne you're wearing?" "Hello, Mr. Junkie, I hope that's a clean needle you're using." "How are you today, Mr. Thug? My wallet's a little light today--you aren't going to kill me are you?" "And how have things been going for you, Mr. Drunk? I didn't know they even still made Thunderbird."

But everybody knows that public transportation, and only public transportation should ever be allowed in a big city. There is the allowance for walking or bicycling, but anyone who is not a well-toned athlete can tell you how practical those alternatives are in this city of cliff-like hills. But in order to keep the public employees working, union drivers employed, and people happily riding together in rolling sardine cans, the automobile must go, right after it has paid for the increases mentioned above to close the Muni budget gap.

A Mr. Goodwrench ad from a few years back had a jingle at the end that said "It's not just your car, it's your freedom." If our Supervisors and Mayor ever saw it, I'm sure they had a good laugh at the concept of freedom, then went back to figuring out how to increase the Muni budget, which currently stands at over seven hundred million dollars per year.

4 comments:

Auguste Ballz said...

What's the word?
Thunderbird!

What's the reason?
Grapes in season!

What's the price?
.50 twice!

Why you drink?
'Cos I can't think!

Who drinks the most?
Us homeless folks!

Not making light of your post 'Hawk, I'll pipe up in the AM.

Just reminicing on my youth when we thought a wine bottle was supposed to have a screw on cap. Good times. Good times.

SQT said...

I live in the Sacramento area and this is a big part of the reason why we rarely make it into the city. It's so much work just to visit that I can't imagine living there. California bureaucracies are a nightmare anyway, but San Fran takes it to a whole new level.

LawhawkSF said...

>>> Auguste: Hilarious. Wine isn't supposed to have a screw-on cap? I was quite the connoisseur in my youth. Ripple Red and Ripple Pink were fine for the average roll in the gutter, but I preferred the dry mellowness of Ripple Blonde Pear Wine with a Swanson's frozen turkey dinner heated slowly over a trashcan fire. I may have a clue now as to why my son never invites me to his chi-chi wine tasting parties in the Berkeley Hills.

>>> SQT: When my daughters come up to visit, I have them park their cars at Lombardi Sport at Polk and Pacific, and we take cabs wherever we go. It's pricey, but nothing compared to the parking and circling the block fifty times waiting for a space to open up. The meters in front of my apartment give you twelve minutes for a quarter, and you can't park for longer than an hour. Re-upping the meter doesn't help, because they mark the tires, and parking is only one hour. Stay over, and you pay a Sixty-Five Dollar fine.

Auguste Ballz said...

'Hawk, Thr Ripple vineyard was also Fred Sanford's first choice, but he never said what vintage. MD 20-20 and Diamond Red also challenge the Rothschild label in my neighborhood. And TANGO. Don't forget TANGO. A pre-mixed screwdriver potion using, yes TANG as a substitue for OJ to increase shelf life by avoiding the need for refridgeration. A brilliant marketing strategy.

Parking in Manhattan is much of the same as you describe in SF. And for-profit lots are ridiculously expensive. I had to fork over $30 for one hour at my last appt. with my ortho surgeon. And the NYC PVB (Pkng. Vio. Bur.) has lots of problems w/ corruption. At least they did. During the Koch Admin. a supervisor, Donald Manes committed suicide when the corruption came to light. Parking is a real racket, it is truly organized crime. And if you're unlucky enough to get towed, man are you in for one expensive trip thru several circle of Hell. Paying the original fine, paying the towing chg's, paying for time at the impound lot, (that's like paying the state for time in jail), paying at the impound lot a "release" fee. And if the vehicle got damaged in all this? Tough cheese, cry me a river. Like I said, organized crime.
Pass the bottle.

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