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Assemblyman Gatto proposes Parking Bill of Rights: 'The public owns the streets'

by John Rabe | Off-Ramp®

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Assemblyman Mike Gatto at a parking meter in Toluca Lake on Thursday, January 21, 2016. John Rabe

Language Advisory: The following story repeatedly uses what has become a dirty word — "parking" — and may not be appropriate for small children and sensitive persons.

 "The public owns the streets," Assemblyman Mike Gatto says. "They don't belong to a valet company. They don't even belong to the city government. They belong to the public." So the Los Angeles Democrat has released a package of proposed reforms he calls the Parking Bill of Rights.

Among the reforms: he'd make permanent a law that sunsets at the end of this year that prohibits cities from giving tickets at broken meters, valets couldn't block the public from using meters or loading zones, and you wouldn't have to pay towing and storage fees if your car is stolen and dumped on a city street. You can read all the proposed new rules here.

I asked, how does he plan to replace the revenue parking fines provide cities across California, where it's become a major revenue stream. "I would question whether it should be such a revenue stream," he responds. "We definitely want to make sure cities can get paid a reasonable rate for providing a spot, but we don't want parking to transform into a hidden tax, designed to say gotcha."

Click on the audio above to hear the full interview. 

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