My neighbor Neilsen Buchanan wrote me this a.m. while on vacation about parking and the results of last night’s Council meeting. I had sat through the staff presentations and oral communications from about 20 citizens but left the meeting when Council began deliberating because my leg began to ache. It was 10:30. I had been there for about five hours. All in, I was in “democracy-observed” mode since about 2 p.m. discounting the time I was reading John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” which is about labor.
The parking proposal was a little like Obama-care in that if it is a step in the right direction — arguably – it is still far short of “socialized medicine” which is what we really need. The parking discussion reminded me of all the quality time good people in good faith were putting in reacting to the draft ordinance banning amplified music at Lytton Plaza which I further characterized as bad policy, perhaps dictated to staff by some of these same powerful figures. Former Mayor Dena Mosser said the proposed parking program (called “RPP” for residential parking permits) would turn a neighborhood into a “test tube” — an experiment. I think it would be like pouring water onto an ant trail.
I introduced myself to Rob Steinberg in the hallway after he spoke. He lives on Bryant. Our parents are friends and were neighbors. One of the papers quoted him about his misgivings on the proposal, which is remarkable because as a prominent architect — he designed the new JCC for instance — he surely knows well most of the downtown people who are the root of the inertia here. I’d like to know more about who makes out when we build more garages, and the Supreme Court case a speaker referenced that seems to cover some of the same ground. And why cannot we hold landlords responsible for holding their tenants responsible to car-pool, use public transportation and or use pay parking downtown.
I met a nice lady from the 1000 block of Cowper, a Ms. M, who said she and her neighbors only recently started noticing the hipsters carrying computer bags from her blog to their downtown start-ups. I caught her in the hallway for clarification that her reference during oral communications was indeed pointing the blame to the high tech office workers boom.
Ultimately (and now that I have read the coverage of what I missed — the meeting went on for another two hours, until 12:30 a.m.)Council decided not to put their names on a half-baked staff proposal. This is not progress, just not a debacle. I would say in chess terms its like asking to draw versus Chop Keenan- Barbara Gross-Russ Cohen et al rather than taking the opposition. I will have to talk to more people and perhaps review the tapes to see how accurate my comparison to Lytton Plaza noise ordinance case is.
edit to add: I am a novice chess player and am open to suggestions on how to better describe this dynamic in chess terms. I found a video that gives us a pretty thorough discussion of “opposition”, briefly, the proper movement of your king to push the opposing king backwards and towards defeat. Novices sometimes make the wrong step and lose the opposition, a piece, a match. We (the people) can do better on this parking game.