Thursday, June 18, 2009

Zone 4, Santa Monica

I've had a lousy day. I had to get a new tire for one of my bikes, so I could cut down on my driving even more than I already have. The REI in Northridge, and the one in Arcadia were both out of the one I wanted, so I drove to Santa Monica. I found a place to park, got my tire and when I got back to my car, I had a $52 parking ticket. What really angers me is what it was for. I had the gall to park in Zone 4!

Santa Monica is one of those towns that restricts parking, in some areas, to residents. OK, I know that in comparison to war, famine, and the other fun things of our modern world, restricted parking is a minor issue, but I'm still angry. If Santa Monica decided that in some neighborhoods, they didn't want non residents on the sidewalks, and started ticketing strangers seen on the streets, there would be a law suit. If Santa Monica decided that it didn't want people from El Monte to use the beach and posted restrictions, it would make the news, not to mention Letterman. So why is it that they can tell someone like me, from Atwater Village, sorry, no parking on our streets!

I know that the official reason is that locals shouldn't have to cruise around looking for a parking place in their own neighborhoods, but I have to wonder if that's the only reason. There are lots of neighborhoods around the Los Angeles metro area with residents only parking restrictions. All the ones that I've seen are in upper middle class and above neighborhoods. I mean, aren't the people in Zone 4 just a wee bit concerned that some of us low class folks are polluting their streets?

Homelessness is increasing in America. I know of at least four people who I've worked with on movie sets who have moved into their cars. And with those increases, there has also been an increase in over night parking restrictions, and non resident parking restrictions. The people in Zone 4 have done well in life, and I don't begrudge them their success. But, let's be honest, we live in a country that feels comfortable with keeping taxes low, even if it means that some of our citizens have to live on the streets. (And I may be one of them within the next two or three months.) It's easier not to feel guilt, if the riff-raff are kept at arm's length.

No comments: