Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A response to a letter ...

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kevin Salatino, and I am Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Like Flint and Terri Dille, I live (am a homeowner, as are all the resident of my complex) at 10966 Strathmore Drive. My partner is a doctor of infectious diseases with responsibilities at 3 hospitals and one clinic, scattered across the city. We could not possibly function without two cars. And while I could theoretically take the bus to work, as head of my department I have appointments virtually every day of the week off site, both during the day and almost as often in the evening. This necessitates my using a car. Nor could I share my partner’s car even if we chose to, given his constant need of it. I am not at all opposed to permit parking if it could be made to work. And I also think it’s important to separate two distinct issues here. One is the way this whole problem is being handled – in an extremely heavy-handed, even patronizing, way that I find deeply troubling, indeed insulting. We are being told that unless we remove our tandem-parked cars shortly, ticketing will begin post haste. This order has been issued as if by imperial fiat without any alternatives being proposed, without a town meeting to discuss proposals to resolve the situation, without any input – that I can see – from the people who must deal with this on a daily basis. At Michael Dukakis’ urging we are being asked instantly to solve a problem largely created by UCLA and the city. UCLA has had unbridled growth in its student population in the past ten years (most recently the astonishing addition of a virtual village for 2000 students on Veteran). It has not adequately provided for, nor considered the long-term consequences of, the parking needs of all those additional students. The other issue is how the problem is to be solved. Is it too much to ask the city to convene a meeting for this to be discussed – democratically, in an open forum – before tickets begin to be issued? I, for one, have no idea what to do with my car in the interim. There is almost never parking on the street. As for your observation that parked cars are blocking sidewalks: that has always been a ticketable offense, and quite rightly. Anyone who abuses it should be cited. My condominium complex goes to great pains to make certain that the sidewalk in front of our building is always clear. What we are actually talking about is parking on the apron, not on the sidewalk. The sidewalk must be kept clear at all times. If proper enforcement of that rule were instituted, I believe your family would not be compelled to walk in the street, which, of course, should never happen. I, for one, just want this issue resolved. Worry over it, and a sense of utter helplessness – beginning with a rehearsal two years ago when warnings and citations suddenly starting being issued, again at Michael Dukakis’ behest (though this was only revealed later, in a startlingly high-handed way) – have caused fear, anxiety and consternation (and, two years ago, not insignificant expense) for everyone in my complex. Then too, the order was issued with no input, no knowledge of who to turn to, little interest from the city in resolving it, etc. Something needs to be done, but I hope you agree with me that it must be done correctly, and with real understanding that the problem must be solved and not simply brushed away. Thanks for listening.




Kevin Salatino



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