In recent weeks, I have noticed a very large number of broken parking meters along Via Marina, overlooking the Marina del Rey Channel. As I have mentioned before, this is one of my favorite Los Angeles area spots, and is a very popular spot for people to park their cars, watch the boats come and go, eat, snooze, walk, take their dogs for walks, hit the beach, have sex (yeah, I’ve inadvertently seen that at least twice), etc.
These broken meters cause two major problems. First, they cut down on the number of allowable spots, making it impossible for many area residents and visitors to park there. Today, and two days ago, I had to pull into at least 6 different spots with broken meters, and walk along the meters, to search for one that was operating. As the picture above indicates, the signs on and near the meters clearly prohibit parking at such meters when they’re broken. Second, these broken meters lose income for Los Angeles County. As a County resident, I have an interest in knowing that revenues to the County are maximized by having broken meters repaired swiftly. That is definitely not happening at present.
I wrote to the County Department of Beaches and Harbors today, asking them to take immediate action on this. But I suspect that meter repair is being curtailed due to budget cutbacks. That is speculation, but I cannot imagine what else the problem could be. It’s not vacation season for County employees. The swine flu has only killed 10 people in the U.S., and most of them are not in California. And I don’t think it’s a deliberate County effort to cut down on public sex.
If the problem is budgetary, then the broken meters along the Channel are merely a tiny precursor of some very bad reductions in governmental services destined to whack all of us in the Los Angeles area. I sure would like to know how California’s finances got so fucked. Would anyone care to list what they think are the major contributing reasons? I would love it if people kept prejudged political ideology out of it, but I know that’s asking way too much. I’ll start off by listing one: the two-thirds supermajority requirement for California’s legislature to pass a budget. This requirement seems assured to lead to gridlock and the impossibility of making tough budgetary choices.