I went to the City Council hearing earlier today hoping to change some minds about the resolution to extend free parking for hybrids that happened to get a sticker from the state. I was armed with arguments ranging from the high cost of free parking, after all, the city could raise another $116,000 by moving this proposal and remove roughly 75,000 miles of VMT from city streets and basic economics, if the state isn't giving out hybrid stickers any more this program isn't going to encourage anyone to buy a hybrid.
Since the parking-hybrid resolution was first on the agenda after some ceremonial stuff, I made sure to be there promptly, even if it meant skipping breakfast. You may note, Streetsblog had three stories put up today...my writing didn't suffer from my advocacy.
I filled out my speaker's card just before the scheduled start time at 10:00 and stood in the back, all of the seating was reserved for people being honored and city employees.
After an hour and a half, including a moving 45 minute ceremony honoring the outgoing city clerk (no complaints from me for that) and a 45 minute commercial for the LA Dodgers the council approved 12 of the 13 items on the agenda by consent. No debate. No public comment. I realize that "public hearings for these items had been held," but I wasn't aware that mugging for pictures with Dodgers executives was more important than hearing from the public before passing 12 binding resolutions. Heck, I missed the big overhead clock that Metro uses to cut speakers off.
The worst part of the story, Councilman Rosendahl, the only councilmember to speak against this proposal in committee after four speakers rose to question it, was busy getting his picture taken when the vote was actually tallied. I tried, but couldn't get a picture of it because security told me I couldn't stand in the center aisle and take a picture.
But hey, at least Tom LaBonge got a baseball autographed by Don Newsom to replace the one he lost as a kid.
UPDATE: Thanks to Councilmember Rosendahl for forcing the council to revisit the issue last week. Hopefully we'll be able to get enough comments in to kill this program once and for all.