A Bit of Crow, the Brits, and a Full Decade
December, 2005I got an email the other day from a person who cancelled his subscription basically because I was letting my somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun politics creep a bit too much into my column. Naturally I took the high road and sent back a five page learned response to his vindictive letter (there was so much vindictive I can't print it here.)
However, I got to thinking about his comments and remembered a series of back and forth emails I got into with Stuart Woods, the author. He writes "Stone Barrington" novels which are a great replacement for TV. They are fun but not very intellectual. Perfect for me. In his last novel, however, Woods goes off the track and gives Stone a political flavor, one that was different from mine.
This upset me, not that he did what he did, but that he slipped it in under false pretenses. I thought I was reading about my hero, Stone, who I had flavored a bit with my prejudices and liked it. When I found out that he wasn't what I thought he was, I was upset, and told Woods what I thought. Dammit I read this for fun, not to get politics shoved down my throat.
Whoops - Have I been guilty of Wood's very sin? I went back and reread some of my columns and by golly, Stuart Woods had taken over my keyboard. I have been commenting from time to time on things that are really tangential to parking. Sure, if you happen to agree with me, I'm certain that you didn't even notice. But if you didn't, then my guess is that you could have written that email to Stuart Woods to me.
I have been hypocritical, and there is nothing worse, particularly once you realize it.
Parking Today is designed as a magazine about everything parking, and the people reading it should expect to get parking information, and not the editor's opinion on world peace and the troubles in outer zamboanga, or his opinion on hate crimes versus assaults (See a recent entry in PT Blog).
So, after some soul searching and a bit of single malt in front of the fire, I decided that I was right in my letter to Stuart and not right in the way my personal politics have been creeping into PT.
The new year brings more info, more articles, a lot of humor, and let me tell you, my very strong opinions about all things parking. If you want to talk politics, send me an email.
Oh, by the way - my cancelled subscriber was also horrified by "Death by Parking." Sorry fellow - that stays. We parking pros need some fantasy in our lives.
A hospital in the UK had a huge parking problem -- everyone was complaining there weren't enough spaces, patients were a'tither, staff were in revolt, people were dying in ambulances that couldn't get through the cars parked helter-skelter on the streets (well, almost). ... So what did they do? They began charging for parking.
What happened? Well, the problems all went away -- except the staff complaining, but then they are in a union.
The patients love it. Streets are clear. But how could it be? Why did it happen?
The story is that the free parking at the hospital was being poached by workers in the nearby town center, who were being charged up to $75 a month to buy permits in the local parking area. The hospital parking was free, so the workers parked there and took spaces from the staff and patients.
Now, the hospital charges a couple of bucks a day (less if you don't park for the day), and the workers from town center see no advantage to parking there and have moved on. The problem was fixed in one day.
See, charging for parking works.
I was reading a back issue of my favorite magazine and found the article about the problems at this hospital reported a couple of months ago (and in PT's Blog too). We gave the solution then: Charge for parking. Guess what? They did. Parking Today and yours truly, on the cutting edge again.
The staff of Parking Today are preparing for a yearlong celebration. We've been publishing for a full decade. There will be a lot of self-promotion, but some great features and innovations too. I hope we can continue to meet and even exceed your expectations for the next decade. See more about the upcoming year inside.
Have a very merry Christmas, a joyous holiday season, and a happy and prosperous new year.