After reading Cary Anderson’s letter in this space in last week’s CC News, it became plain to me that I must have failed to communicate my position properly, because his response focused solely on the enforcement issue rather than the broader issues at hand. So here is my attempt to clarify things. Let it be known, first, that while I am writing as an individual, and am in no way a spokesperson for the Church, nevertheless I have received an outpouring of support for my first letter from a variety of members of the Culver City community. So I will dare to write on behalf of all of us.
There are two extreme positions here: mine is that the Church attendees have the right to park on a public street anywhere and anytime they feel like it, it is their right as a citizens and especially as a taxpayers. The Farragut St. homeowners on the block in question feel that they have the right to a congestion-free, and in fact a parking-free street, thus the “No Parking Anytime” signs. Obviously these are diametrically opposed positions.
We also appear to differ on whether or not we all have the obligation to be good neighbors, to help out people who are doing good work and no harm. This issue is strictly emotional; there are no legalities here. Either you want to help or you don’t. I think the Farragut people should allow meeting-goers at the Church to park in front of their homes as good neighbors would do; they think they are in fact good neighbors who are being put upon by people who not only do not reciprocate but in fact break the law in not doing so.
There are two ways we can go about resolving this conflict of rights and views; we can go to war over it, an extremely unpleasant option involving attempting to convince the City Council of our extreme positions, including rescinding all parking restrictions, where there would be winners and losers; or, as I tried to communicate in my last letter, we can try to work out an acceptable compromise, where we could all win. Folks, it is the nature of the concept of compromise that each side has to give up something from their extreme positions.
The Church people would have to give up their right to park in front of public street homes as they please, and the homeowners would have to give up their no parking policy in favor of limited parking. And don’t forget, the homeowners would not have to give up their permits allowing them and their visitors to park anywhere anytime. So I see it as a net gain for Farragut St.
Mr. Anderson, you have jumped to the end of the discussion by focusing on enforcement. We haven’t even worked out a plan yet, so what is there to enforce? Oh, yes, the existing parking restrictions. I believe you when you say the current arrangement is not working because scofflaws are flouting the signage and the City does nothing about it. But what if we work out a compromise, then we work TOGETHER WITH THE CHURCH to make it effective? For example, the Church could maintain a very strict policy for all meeting attendees, especially in the evening, that they are not to exceed the 2-hr parking limit. The Church could send someone out after each meeting to oversee that policy.
What I am saying is that everyone has responsibility here, the Farragut St. homeowners, the Church and the City. But if we cannot agree on anything, there is no way we are going to help each other, so instead of one unified group enforcing the compromise, we have three different entities all working independently to sustain conflict rather than resolution.
Bottom line: let’s forge a compromise based on trying to comply with everyone’s interests, then strive together to make it work. I have been around Culver City a long time, and I think I can guarantee that any parking compromise we come up with will be enforced. Let’s be good neighbors and retain our rights and privileges at the same time.
Such a deal!
If you wish to take this discussion off of the public slate, please contact me via email: email@example.com
Re: Preservation of Farragut’s Permit-Only-Parking Restrictions
This letter responds to the latest missives from Michael Gotz (Gotz) and Richard P. Schoenbaum, D.D.S. (DDS).
Gotz’s basic problem is that he mistakenly assumes the existence or truth of various alleged facts.
He wants to “try to find a resolution of the issue of parking on [our] block of Farragut.” But that issue has been resolved by various City Councils for 32 years and recently by the Traffic Engineer.
He mentions “the Grace Church parking situation”? But what is the alleged “situation”? Other than some unsubstantiated, vague statements from Ken Smith, no one— not one person—has stated that they were impeded from participating in a Church activity due to the Farragut Parking Restrictions. Gotz states, “Church people would have a place to park their cars on a very short, temporary basis.” The Meals-on-Wheels and handicapped folks have parking permits. All others have nearby available parking—but not on Farragut.
Gotz suggests that Farragut residents accept the Church’s proposal of 2-hour-parking restrictions, as a compromise. That is non-starter. Gotz states, without any factual support, “The City STRICTLY ENFORCES the 2-hour limit.” Everyone, but Gotz, knows that that is impossible. The urban myth of two-hour-parking restrictions was invented by the commercial community to avoid having to provide customer parking. Culver City’s response to my recent Public Records Act request stated, in effect, that the City has never determined the effectiveness and/ or enforceability of 2-hour-parking restrictions.
Gotz mistakenly assumes that only the Church covets parking on Farragut. He forgets the parking desires of parents and teachers at the nearby schools, customers of nearby businesses and the thousands of nearby apartment dwellers. He cannot envision the land-rush that he considers a “compromise.”
Gotz is correct that we “are good people who do not purposely put [ourselves] in conflict with others for no good reason.” Again, other that Ken Smith and his political protégé—Andrew Weissman— who does he imply are these “others”?
Finally, Gotz states, “Can you live with this?” I assume that “this” means giving into to Ken Smith’s cravings. The short answer is, “No.” The status quo is just fine. Additional parking restrictions on Saturdays and Sundays would be better.
DDS considers Ken Smith’s unsubstantiated request that Farragut, in effect, abandon all parking protection and the City Council’s apparent willingness to trample our legal rights as just “a modest change.” DDS is touching a nerve, but his arguments are toothless.
He asks, “’Why can’t the people residing on Farragut be good neighbors?’” We are good neighbors. We did not start this latest eruption of Ken Smith’s manifest destiny. Currently, the Church has unrestricted Farragut parking on Saturdays and Sundays, which accommodates the Church and the three other churches to which it rents. Ken Smith proudly admitted that church-goers cause every space on Farragut to be occupied from 8 AM to 2 PM on Sundays. Farragut residents have tolerated that continuing-public nuisance for too many years.
When we assert our position, DDS calls it “run[ning] off at the mouth about [our] delusional image of what constitutes neighborly behavior.” Wow, that language is a mouth full!
DDS knows much about running off at the mouth. In 1997, DDS told us to move from Culver City if we did not like what the Church was then doing. Further, DDS states, “I have seen first hand your disdain for the church and its work.” Oh, really? He states that we encouraged Franklin residents to assert their parking rights— rights provided to them by Culver City. That’s not “disdain for the church.” Additionally, DDS states, “I have seen and heard your badgering and inflammatory rhetoric and the damage it can do.” Who is he talking about? What alleged rhetoric? What alleged damage?
DDS has not filled us with any fact bracing his tartar-covered allegations, as no such fact exists. The Tooth Fairy has more credibility.