(45th in a series of posts on parking)
Gadfly wishes there was a recording of exchanges near the end of the longish discussion in the Public Safety committee meeting on Oct 10. BPA was asked about their Plan B. The question was asked bluntly (by President Waldron?): what will happen if your proposal for the fine increases is denied? Gadfly’s notes indicate that Desman was complacent, indicating that revenue from fines was neutral, a position that Councilman Reynolds seemed to latch on to, stressing the reason to raise fines was to change behavior not to raise money. And this was the noteworthy moment when BPA Board chair Hoffmeier (BPA solicitor Broughal was also present) made the noteworthy point that BPA makes most of its money by people parking legally.
That Desman statement jarred and confused Gadfly, for it looks to him like the Desman report estimates a $250,000 increase from meter rates and $400,000 from fines (73). Gadfly has asked for Desman’s email address to clarify his understanding on this, but it has not been provided yet. My notes show Desman saying there would be “no significant revenue increase.” Hard to reconcile that with what I take to be the estimated figures provided in the report. Major discrepancy. Must be a reasonable explanation. Gadfly hopes. But, for now, this is just another question mark for me as I think back over this whole process as we approach the vote tomorrow.
Yet, that aside, shortly thereafter, when asked again what would happen if the proposal on the table was denied, BPA answered this time that there would be increased enforcement, more towing, and more staff (as enforcers, I guess). Gadfly remembers that expressly because it struck him as a threat that if you deny the proposal there will be hell to pay – Gadfly could be way wrong, of course – but, contrary to what Desman said, it would certainly seem to indicate that revenue was an issue, and if it didn’t come in one way, it would have to come in another. Gadfly found that idea very disconcerting. And it was hard to reconcile that answer to the previous one by Desman in which he understood that revenue from fines would be flat.
Gadfly is hoping that communication with Desman will clarify his comment.
Maybe Gadfly is flat out wrong here. If so, whack me upside the head. Can anyone else attending the meeting chip in here on what Desman said? I think I’m right, though, because (trying to psych out how Council members would vote), I took Councilman Reynolds’ quick uptake (in my notes) as a clear mark of where he stood.
(Parenthetically – ha! literally — the ability to communicate directly with BPA Board members and with Desman is a minor but yet irksome and non-trivial point with Gadfly. BPA provided a group email address for the Board but not individual emails. The only Board member individual email available is Chairman Hoffmeier’s. Gadfly wonders if there is a City policy on this. Gadfly can certainly understand trying to protect unpaid volunteers from unwarranted intrusions, but, on the other hand, there is a part of Gadfly that feels people making million dollar decisions should be readily contactable. Would be a good conversation.)