Though it‚Äôs been decades since I watched “Cool Hand Luke,” thanks to our city government I now understand why Paul Newman‚Äôs character cut off the heads of parking meters. My parents opened s small business at Fourth Street and Broadway in 1944. Our family still operates that business, now located at Seventh and Broadway. The city‚Äôs decision to replace the parking meters and now charge 25 cents for only 7 minutes has affected our business. A few customers say they won‚Äôt shop in Santa Monica. Many more rush in and out, not taking time to shop for fear they will get ticketed.
I had an opportunity during the holidays to speak with a city councilman. He admitted that the council didn‚Äôt know what they were buying when they purchased these meters. They knew the new meters would accept credit cards and that the time was being reduced. What they didn‚Äôt know is that the meters would reset when someone pulled out. And obviously they didn‚Äôt know that a construction truck driving by could also reset the meter to zero, causing people who paid for time to be ticketed. Personally I pulled into a space on 14th Street, between Broadway and Colorado, put in 50 cents and got 2 minutes. The city had been called twice before, but hadn‚Äôt bothered to repair the meter.
On two occasions I e-mailed our City Council members. That was months ago; I never received a response. A city employee suggested I e-mail the city manager. I did, about two months ago. Again, no response.
The city may be taking in more money from the meters and the tickets, but some of that will surely be offset by reduced sales tax revenue. Santa Monica is changing, but not for the better, and that‚Äôs a shame.
Bob Litvak, Co-owner
Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy