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Failing the parking test

Parking meters rate high on the list of the public’s pet peeves. Our mail regularly includes readers’ anecdotes about parking tickets and balky meters – and more than a few vows to steer clear of downtown Santa Rosa. Regular readers of The Press Democrat’s editorial page know that we’re not fans of parking meters either, and today I’ll take the opportunity to gripe.

My pique is with Sonoma State University. It’s not so much the $5 flat fee recently imposed for parking on campus, it’s the parking kiosks, which in my experience are even less reliable than Santa Rosa’s. This afternoon, as has all too frequently been my experience on campus, I tried multiple parking lots and couldn’t find a machine that would read my debit card. Tired of error, try again messages, I drove to an off-campus convenience store to get change. I should have paid better attention — my $5 bill wasn’t a crisp, new one fresh from the U.S. Bureau Printing and Engraving. It took several more tries in a couple of parking lots before I found a machine willing to accept my well-circulated $5 bill.

Memo to the university: When you picked your machines, presumably via competitive bids, was the vendor required to guarantee some level of reliability? The answer is no, or you got taken.

I wonder how many people give up, or stopped accepting invitations to speak on campus?

I’m glad I didn’t. The political science students I met today were bright and inquisitive.

And they hate the parking meters too.

– Jim Sweeney





10 Responses to “Failing the parking test”

  1. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Michael Koepf-I’m NOT upset about my college days, the education I got, or the cost since state college was cheap in those days in California. Maybe you didn’t read my post thoroughly. I was complaining about TODAY’S RATES. Why should students (my kids and grandkids) be charged interest rates 9X what banks pay which is .75%?

    If we want to have a future we have to be able to educate our children. It’s not fair that children of the middleclass are being locked out of getting an higher education by the cost.

    I was lucky to go to college when I did. The kids of today have it rough.

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  2. GAJ says:

    Mockingbird, the Republicans are responsible for a parking fee at SSU?

    You’re ignoring the elephant in the room; the powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association. You do recall the sweetheart deal they got from our allegedly “fiscal reforming” Governor shortly after he got elected, right? Do you think that Union contributes significant sums to the State Republicans or Democrats in order to get their way?

    “Since 1980, higher education spending has decreased by 13 percent in inflation adjusted dollars, whereas spending on California’s prisons and associated correctional programs has skyrocketed by 436 percent. The state now shells out more money from its general fund for the prison system than the higher education system. (When combined with K-12 education, the state’s overall education spending dwarfs its prison expenditures.)

    Fifty-five percent of the growth of corrections spending is the result of the state simply putting more people in jail. Over the past three decades, the number of inmates in California facilities has increased eight times faster than size of the overall population.

    The report notes that, while the average salaries for employees of the state’s world-renowned higher education system have stagnated or even dropped with regard to inflation, prison guards have seen sustained salary increases. Correctional officers in California typically make somewhere between 50 and 90 percent more than comparable jobs in the rest of the country.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/california-prisons-colleges_n_1863101.html

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  3. Michael Koepf says:

    Mocking Bird,

    It’s sad that your college education turned out poorly, but, please don’t blame SSU or your student loans for your discontent. Look inward little bird. Oh, and I’m registered independent, and worked by way through college with a little help from the GI bill, which I earned with 18 months service in the jungles of south-east Asia.

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  4. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Michael Kopf-NOT OBAMA, it’s the Republicans who are ripping off students. RIGHT NOW! Refusing to vote for REASONABLE INTEREST RATES when banks are borrowing at .75%.

    You Republicans need to take responsibility for what your candidates are and ARE NOT doing because they certainly don’t represent the middleclass.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  5. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    When I went to SSU I couldn’t afford parking in the lots. I parked along East Cotati Ave every morning, five days a week. Of course that was back in the 1970′s when it was Sonoma State College and was surrounded by fields.

    Now there is no “free” parking. $5 a day is outrageous. All along the roadways are lots of NO PARKING signs. Ripping off students seems to be what college is all about these days.

    What a sad state of affairs getting a college education is these days. NO PARKING, DEBT BEYOND REASON, EXPENSIVE AS ALL GET OUT, AND YOU CAN’T GET A JOB WHEN YOU GRADUATE.

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  6. Reality Check says:

    Government, at all levels these days, seems to be having trouble efficiently executing whatever it plans. Review the building timeline of the Green Music Center. Or the colossal backups at the Center’s parking lot, entering or leaving. That it can’t get parking meters right shouldn’t be a surprise.

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  7. Michael Koepf says:

    “Mr. Sweeney, as a political science major with a journalism minor, I recall that you and your pals at the PD vigorously waved pom-poms for the Obama administration. Now that it appears that soviet-like, Beria tactics have been used by the Obama administration against the American people, do simplistic summations like “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” suffice in place of enlightened in depth editorials…or even apologies to your readers.”
    “Thumbs down, kid.”

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  8. Jim Sweeney says:

    2 / 37 – Monday, May 13, 2013

    Edition: FIRST EMP
    Section: Local
    Page: B4

    THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN: Playing politics at the IRS

    [THUMBS DOWN]
    Memo to the Internal Revenue Service: Politics has no place in tax collections.
    On Friday, the agency acknowledged that conservative political groups — organizations with the words “patriot” and “tea party” in their names — received special scrutiny from the IRS division that reviews applications for tax-exempt status. IRS officials insist the reviews weren’t motivated by partisan concerns. OK, it was just a case of spectacular incompentence.
    Does anyone feel better? Thumbs down.

    Keywords: EDITORIAL TAX POLITICS

    1 / 37 – Thursday, May 16, 2013

    Edition: FIRST EMP
    Section: Local
    Page: B4

    TRAMPLING ON PRESS RIGHTS IN PHONE CASE

    It’s been a bad week for the White House and an administration that’s quickly demonstrating its ambitions exceed its grasp of constitutional protections.
    The revelation that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting conservative political groups would have made the past seven days forgetful enough. But this was soon followed by news that the Justice Department had secretly obtained months of telephone records of journalists working for the Associated Press.
    The IRS has since issued an apology for the first transgression while Congress gears up for hearings and investigations. The American public should expect nothing less from the second …

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  9. Michael Koepf says:

    “Mr. Sweeney, as a political science student here at Sonoma State, both myself and my fellow classmates are concerned about the IRS being used by the Democrat party and, perhaps, even the White House itself as an instrument of political coercion. You’re a newspaper editor. What do you think about that?”
    “Ehh…no comment; I’m here to talk about parking meters.”

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  10. Graeme Wellington says:

    Just park in M-Section and walk the path next time. That’s what the students do.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

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