Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Parking problem solved, Part Two

Well, continuing along the general theme of making myself the king of everything by virtue of my own write-in campaign for all unopposed offices listed during the last election, and realizing that the Bleeding Artery Tunnel Project will have diminishing returns over time, I have designed a followup program, which I would gladly administer for a well-deserved $2 million per year.  Here's the idea:

I was inspired by the "quarters only" parking meters that I've seen around.  Now, I have not gone on a rant about the de-currencization of the penny on this blog, but maybe someday I will waste some of your valuable time with my theory that pennies are a deliberate attempt by the mining industry to keep the marked value of copper high by artificially inflating demand, taking tons of the stuff for use in what is basically single-use money which counts as cash when someone gives it to you, but which no one else seems obligated to accept.  RRGH!  Never mind, I just did it.  Anyway, it started with toll booths, vending machines, and parking meters going "no pennies" on us, and has become "quarters only," with the excuse that the machines get full sometimes.  OK, then, we are now to blame for the fact that parking meters are a lousy revenue generator, and can't come anywhere near paying for the union city employee salary of the person who has to empty all those meters (and deal with the weather and the abuse and so on).  I am inclined to believe that a parking ticket is a much better revenue generator.  Certainly, a $15 ticket is a better deal for the city than $4 in coins for the same 2 hours of parking.  
     So, naturally, more restrictive coin acceptance makes sense, and parking tickets make sense, and your ultimate goal is to make parking in Cambridge and Boston illegal anywhere at any time for any purpose (I mentioned that that was the ultimate goal, right?  No?  It is.), so there is basically one strategy, with two methods of carrying it out.  I would use one, then the other, to string people along as far as possible.  First, change all the meters to accept "75-cent pieces only."  I am assuming that there is no such coin, but the US mint has surprised me with a modern half dollar and a few different modern dollar coins (not a quarter, be careful!).  The confusion would be priceless.  Parking ticket revenue would soar, especially after I jacked up the "expired meter" rate (obviously).  Well, eventually the uproar would die, even though you would never see a news story about it because the news folks couldn't park the satellite van to have the reporter stand pointlessly in front of something and/or pester the passersby.  The next thing to do, then, would be to switch from US currency to tokens.  Now, initially this seems like a step backwards, because the program will be destroyed by the costs associated with generating and selling the tokens, but my response is this:  screw the tokens.  I'm not going to have any.  The meters will say "tokens only," and my website will have a link to a page about where and how to buy tokens, but that page will be inactive ("have you spelled the link correctly?  have you hit refresh?  maybe you should try again later, or have the windows paper-clip guy "help" you...).  No tokens, no costs, simple.  On the other hand, for maximum confusion, I could have a limited edition of, say, 250 tokens made.  If the ceramic content is high enough, they would break over time.  I could sell them on Ebay at a tremendous markup.  Hey, it may not be world domination, but it's domination of all the streets for at least 8 feet out from the curb, and that's not bad at all.  
    After this, I just have to find a way to eliminate parking on private property, like store parking lots and people's driveways...

     PS:  I know that the debate over how much of our country should be devoted to parking, how it effects our driving habits and costs, and how people like me are ruining the world, is a serious debate.  I don't care, don't bother commenting.

Your Humblest and Most Devoted Servant,

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