Oakland residents still angry over parking

October 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Oakland businesses are still angry at their city council even though the council reversed one controversial new parking meter rule.

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Merchants say the rollback in meter enforcement hours is a partial victory, but they claim other remaining changes will still kill their bottom line.

The battle is a long, long way from over. Last night the city council did hand merchants and their customers in Oakland a minor victory. They reduced meter hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

But, what about the increased parking meter rates? What about the increased fee for parking tickets? The city says they cannot afford to change those.

At the Center Stage Salon in the Lake Merritt District, stylist Debra Lear loves to chat with her clients about "whatever." Lately, they have been chatting about parking, and they are angry.

"The tickets? the nowhere to park? It's crazy. And, I can't do anything about it, and I get yelled at," Lear told ABC7. "Like, I got to pay to park too."

Lear is happy the city council rolled back the hours of meter enforcement until 6 p.m., but for a salon open until 7:00 that is little help for a much bigger problem

Marsha Rose is a CPA in Oakland. She wonders if the hours of additional enforcement really meant more net revenues for the city. She asks, "The sales tax revenues are going to come in slowly. Have they looked at the two? Did sales tax revenues go down?"

The city insisted it would lose $900,000 because of fewer hours of enforcement. One idea to make up for that is to increase handicapped parking placard violations from $170 to $1,200. At the Center Stage Salon, client and disabled veteran Bill Patterson gave ABC7 his opinion of that idea.

"I would think that's kind of outrageous. That's overkill," he said. "I think certain people who use parking placard illegally ought to be dealt with, but I'm not sure that's the right way."

A spokesman for one council member says the reason they changed the parking rates in the first place is because the city is $83 million in the red, and the change that was made Tuesday night, is the only change that is going to be made.

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