Greater Greater Washington

Councilmembers vehemently stand up for stingy, multiple-car owning, wealthy residents

The DC Council met today to discuss the budget. At times, the discussion became quite heated, particularly when some members were defending the rights of people who own 3 cars and make over $200,000, yet wouldn't consider driving downtown for dinner if it cost them $4 to park.


Photo by wallyg on Flickr.

Councilmembers Jack Evans (ward 2), Mary Cheh (ward 3) (see note), Muriel Bowser (4), Harry Thomas, Jr. (5) and Phil Mendelson (at-large) all expressed opposition to the proposal passed by the Committee on Public Works and Transportation to make residential parking permit (RPP) fees $35 for one car, $50 for a second car, and $100 for third and additional cars in a household.

Cheh (see note) and Bowser also both voiced support for Evans' committee recommendation to blindly lower parking rates in the busiest areas to $1 per hour instead of $2, and to have meters stop charging in the evenings. This may make sense in a few areas, but in most places will make traffic worse and parking harder for those who drive.

Few issues generated as much passion, though there was plenty of argument over numbers of police officers, UDC funding and more. But in a budget that makes very deep cuts, there was more passion for keeping parking cheap and for keeping taxes on the wealthy low than anything for keeping people off the street and from going hungry.

Evans, generally the Council's most eager to "comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted," complained that the RPP increase was "nickel and diming," and said that if the Council wants to fund an initiative, "just fund it." But earlier in the session, he presented his own committee report which recommended removing almost every source of revenue for the Council to "just fund" many important programs.

In response, Tommy Wells pointed out that last year Metro rail and bus riders suffered a significant fare increase, one which costs people a lot more than $25 or even $100 per year (the extra amount a 3-car owning household would pay under Wells' proposal.) But, as Evans repeatedly brought up during the meeting, he doesn't take transit, so he isn't sensitive to that.

Mary Cheh repeated some of her comments complaining that the Circulator expansion plan doesn't go to Ward 3 enough, and recommended a line in the Palisades. This is one of the lowest density parts of the city with very few commercial nodes and is rarely a destination for non-residents. In other words, it's one of the least appropriate candidates for a Circulator. Is she worried about getting votes from the Palisades?

The Circulator plan actually does include a future line expansion along Connecticut and Wisconsin, and eventually along Military from Friendship Heights across Rock Creek.

Bowser and Thomas similarly made many arguments complaining about how certain budget proposals don't do more for their own wards. It was very disappointing to have so much debate about policy based on how much investment goes into each ward when growth downtown benefits all. On the other hand, it's true that we should do more to improve transit service for neighborhoods in wards 4 and 5, as well as 7 and 8, plus 1, 2, 3, and 6.

Cheh also repeated some Board of Trade talking points that the parking meter rates might drive away potential customers for businesses. That's not false in the areas where parking is regularly not filling up; I previously endorsed studying parking occupancy and lowering it in areas that aren't filling up. The "Parking Czar" funded partly with the RPP money would hopefully solve these problems. Just dropping the rates sight unseen would make traffic worse and parking harder in many areas.

The most intelligent comment from someone other than Wellsand, honestly, one of the very few intelligent comments from any non-Wells councilmember in the whole parking discussioncame from Michael Brown (at-large). He pointed out that the issue most residents have with parking meters is having to put in large numbers of quarters or return periodically to feed meters.

That's another argument for hiring a good parking manager at DDOT as soon as possible. DDOT actually has upgraded all or almost all of the higher price meters to take credit cards or to use multispace meters, so some councilmembers may be reacting to constituent complaints from years past which have been largely addressed. Still, DDOT's parking strategy and roadmap remains a mystery, if they even have one, and it would go a long way to alleviate fears for them to devise and publicize one.

This parochial argumentation seemed more bizarre in the context of all the cuts that threaten the life or health of some of the least fortunate residents. Asking households with 3 cars to pay $100 more per year is apparently "exorbitant," to use Thomas' term, but having families unable to get basic food and shelter didn't stir up nearly as much outrage.

Nor did saving Metro service. Wells' chief of staff, Charles Allen, tweeted that it's "disappointing to see how many people don't see affordable mass transit as an issue of econcomic justice & access to jobs."

My neighborhood wouldn't benefit from the immediate Circulator expansion, isn't going to get a streetcar, and has few people on TANF. My household may well pay more in taxes under the Mayor's proposal. But I don't want my councilmembers voting against everything that doesn't benefit me personally. We should be looking to make the city better for all, and it quite simply won't make the city worse for all or even much worse for anyone if wealthy households do a little bit more.

For a DC Council that has often been quite progressive on human rights, the environment and more, it's sad to see such resistance to progressive measures on finance and transportation even from several otherwise excellent members.

The tax hike on people making over $200,000 even has strong support from residents in all wards, and even from residents who would be affected, yet so many councilmembers want to delete that proposal from the budget at the expense of the least fortunate.

The Council has still not decided on council-wide priorities for funding and spending. Contact your members and ask them to keep the RPP increase, reject the parking meter decrease, and to fund the council-wide priorities for Metro, affordable housing, and homeless services as the top priorities.

Update: Councilmember Cheh has clarified her position on both parking issues. She wants to tailor meter rates to neighborhoods (as do I) and is willing to let the DDOT "Parking Czar" work out a good approach, and says she is now supportive has always been supportive of the RPP increase. Thanks, Councilmember Cheh!

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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Thanks for this great summary and appeal. I agree, it's sad to see how much energy the CMs had for Ward-based bickering and protecting the rich, and how little time went to solutions for the draconian cuts on the table.

by JoPo on May 16, 2011 4:09 pm • linkreport

I find it odd that as progressive a city as DC is, that it's tax code is so flat. While I agree there may be places to cut in the budget, why does the top tax bracket have to start at $40k?

by Steven Yates on May 16, 2011 4:16 pm • linkreport

Yep. DC is rules by 8 little Kings and Queens that think the world stops at the end of their ward. Thanks for describing this non-news in such great detail. Yet again, it shows the malfunctioning of the DC government.

The arguments make me sick. If you want to argue that rich people should not fund poor people, than that's a fine republican point of view. But you can't argue that poor people should stop receiving basic life items, because rich people can't afford it. The fact is that they can. The question is whether they want to.

by Jasper on May 16, 2011 4:22 pm • linkreport

Nice try at linkage, but I suspect the three car owners and the $200+ income tax payers are two separate universes.

I'd keep the parking rates downtown where they are, but kill the weekend and most of the evening rates.

What's really needed in this town is a tax on wealth.

by charlie on May 16, 2011 4:27 pm • linkreport

David, thank you for this update. This seems to once again confirm what I have known for a while, that Councilman Evans does not represent the majority of his constituents. If it does not benefit him, he considers it bad policy. To have Evans represent Dupont Circle, one of the most walkable areas in the city, and yet not take transit himself is IMHO inexcusable.

I really think that next year it is time to replace Jack Evans with someone who is more inline with the interest of those who see how the future of DC should look. Who are the possibilities?

by Evans Constituent on May 16, 2011 4:28 pm • linkreport

Hi, It's those multiple car owning residents who pay exorbitant taxes that support the rest of DC, not to mention pay for the election campaigns of the board members, so it's hardly surprising that when phones ring, their calls get answered.

by taxpayer on May 16, 2011 4:30 pm • linkreport

This is why lambasting Republicans on transportation issues (as advocated on GGW) is senseless and counter productive. These Council Members are some of the most liberal people in the United States and even they want free parking, lots of parking, and can't approach transit in a sensible manner.

by Joe on May 16, 2011 4:31 pm • linkreport

Charlie, there are already studies and surveys showing a close linkage between income and car ownership. Unless there's some particular reason why DC should be an outlier, the usual estimate is that the majority of people in the bottom income quintile have no car at all, and the majority of people in the top income quintile have multiple cars.

by tom veil on May 16, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

I do not understand what is the big deal with these circulator buses. They are THE SAME as regular buses, but with a nice paint job. You speak of adding buses up CT and WS as if those roads aren't already plied by multiple bus routes!

by circul-hater on May 16, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

Joe: I think we're pretty careful only to lambaste terrible Republican ideas on transportation, not the good ones. I endorsed Pat Mara over Michael Brown, though Michael Brown has been better than I expected and contributed positively to today's discussion.

Unfortunately, the modern national Republican Party has taken a strong anti-transit, anti-walkability stance.

by David Alpert on May 16, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

@ circul-hater:

The Circulator does offer some added benefits that standard Metrobuses don't: a $1 flat fare (which may change in the near future, but I'm crossing my fingers it won't), and more frequent and often more reliable service. A bus that comes every 10 minutes, all day long, is much more helpful than many of the Metrobuses that run on an every-half-hour (or longer!) pattern for non-peak hours.

The vague "aesthetic appeal" that seems to attract folks to Circulators over Metrobuses is something I've never quite understood either, however.

by Alison on May 16, 2011 4:39 pm • linkreport

@circul-hater I think the Circulators have a few mental benefits and some legitimate benefits. First, it is fairly common knowledge that on a Circulator route you can expect a bus every 10 minutes or less (traffic can hamper this, but schedule wise they are known to be frequent). Second, because of the low number of routes, people are more likely to know where these go than the hundreds of Metro bus routes. They also feel they have a somewhat more permanence being closer to a fixed rail service than other buses. It's great that there are so many Metro routes, but they have less known destinations and routes than the flashy "Georgtown, Rosslyn, Dupont Circle, Woodley Park, etc" that the Circulator offers. Lastly, I think the Circulators do have a little more of a middle class mentality than the Metrobuses. My wife made a comment recently that makes me think Metrobuses are viewed as low class transportation. None of these reasons have anything to do with the physical bus or method of transit, but they are all attributes that make the Circulators more attractive.

by Evans Constituent on May 16, 2011 4:39 pm • linkreport

I just called Mary Cheh's office to express my disappointment (as one of her constituents) and they said she's in favor of increasing RPP costs (especially for multiple cars). They also said she had generally been in favor of higher parking meter rates, but would check into this specific coverage.

The staffer said he would make sure that she hadn't said something he didn't know about and get back to me.

by Evan on May 16, 2011 4:39 pm • linkreport

@David: Evans, generally the Council's most eager to "comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted,"

Isn't this the kind of ad hominem attack that you normally would ban?

by Lance on May 16, 2011 4:41 pm • linkreport

@Joe, @David

Don't forget Ray LaHood. He's a Republican.

by Steven Yates on May 16, 2011 4:42 pm • linkreport

Lance: No, it's about his policy stances, not his person.

by David Alpert on May 16, 2011 4:43 pm • linkreport

Lance, that's not an ad hominem attack, David is referring to Evans' policy priorities. If David had said, "Evans, a rich lawyer douchebag who is generally the Council's most eager to "comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted," that would be an ad hominem attack.

by Phil on May 16, 2011 4:45 pm • linkreport

I think people forget about the MANY Virginia residents who frequent DC businesses. As a resident of Arlington I used to eat in downtown DC all the time as it is only an 8 minute drive. But since the parking rate hike I tend to stay in cheaper Arlington.

DC is really missing out on my tax dollars.

by postposter83 on May 16, 2011 4:47 pm • linkreport

"These Council Members are some of the most liberal people in the United States"

i strongly disagree with this. Most of the Council is neither liberal or progressive. I would bet a few of them would actually stand as republicans, if they thought they could get elected with the R after their name.

" he doesn't take transit, so he isn't sensitive to that."
Wow. Evans is a fascinating council member.

He's not gay, should we assume he is not sensitive issues that affect non-heterosexual people?
He's not a racial minority, should we assume he is not sensitive to issues that affect non-white folks?
He's not a a female, should we assume he is not sensitive to issues that affect non-male people?
He's not poor, should we assume he is not.. oh wait. We don't have to assume on this one, do we.

by greent on May 16, 2011 4:49 pm • linkreport

I don't know where I stand on these positions as I haven't had a chance to look at them (e.g., I might not be opposed to charging more for residential parking stickers), however I'd like to point out that we have a serious problem in DC in that we have some councilmembers up there who've never worked a day of their lives in a 'wealth producing capacity'. They know how to spend money that's been provided them to spend, but they don't know how to actually create the wealth that allows that funding to go to them to be spent ... And given their inexperience with actually creating wealth, to them it's all about spend ... spend ... As if wealth were a static thing ... and just there to be spent.

As someone above pointed out, if it weren't for these 3 car households AND the $200,000+ households (and I'm neither btw) who would there be to pay for the 2/3rds of our budget that is 'social services' ... i.e, 'wealth redistribution with no expectation of a return on the investment for the District'? Evans may seem harsh ... but he's coming from a background where he saw the feds have to come in here and rescue us from ourselves because of those CMs who were all about spend spend ... and had not clue about how to create wealth. But you know, like 'tough love', 'harsh' can be good. I only wish we had more fiscally literate and fiscally responsible CMs up there ...

by Lance on May 16, 2011 4:49 pm • linkreport

The RPP fee is only a part of the total bill to re-register a car. The basic fee are $72/year (<3500 lb) or $115/year (3500-5000 lb). Add on the $35/2 year inspection fee (which is not done anymore!), the car owner is will write a check for $214 (<3500 lb) or $300 (3500-5000 lb) for a basic (no special plates) two-year renewal. For that second car, the fee will be $244 or $330. That is lot of money.

A quick survey of registration fees in other states show that this is quite high.

by goldfish on May 16, 2011 5:01 pm • linkreport

I dont really get the opposition to the RPP increase from the upper NW. Most people who make a ton in upper northwest dont actually need street parking. There is typically a garage or other off-street parking. My concern is with families who have 2-3 generations living in a house that has 3+ cars. I do support the increase, but that is a concern to me.

by Eric on May 16, 2011 5:01 pm • linkreport

@postposter83,

Maybe. But you may have been replaced by other tax dollars.

To know whether or not this is the case, I'd look at the number of cars parked on the street near your restaurant before and after the meter hike. If the spaces are still over 90% filled, I'd argue that there's not really room for all those drivers and you, anyway, whether there's a price on the parking or not. In the case that the parking is full anyway, people who would otherwise drive would either still do so, but park in a garage (for the same fee as before), or else they'd take Metro.

Basically, if the streets are just as filled with parkers now as they were several years ago, there isn't a great argument to be had that businesses are losing out. All the spots are still taken.

by Joey on May 16, 2011 5:05 pm • linkreport

Well, only less than 30% of DC's revenues come from all the income taxes it collects. So those of us making over $200k don't really "carry" the city. The largest source of revenues is real estate taxes and by far the majority of that comes from downtown office buildings. DC is far from some progressive wonderland where the rich make everything possible.

Besides, the same people who bitch about how they pay for the social services to the poor are the first ones to bitch about their real estate assessments.

by TM on May 16, 2011 5:06 pm • linkreport

Given the cost to society, car registration fees are quite low. In any case, they are irrelevant to the opportunity cost with regard to how much a parking space is worth, which depending on the neighborhood, can be upwards of $2,000/yr.

And bike lockers at Metro stations cost a lot more than an RPP. Clearly that's inequitable.

by Richard Layman on May 16, 2011 5:06 pm • linkreport

A-Hole meter: does "stingy wealthy residents" refer to "people" or a "policy?" Isn't the same as writing "myopic, high-minded bloggers" :)

1) Considering the latest parking fee increase, has traffic become better, worse or negligible? Does anyone know?

2) Are there really lots of 3-car owners in the district?

Personally, I think the fares in some areas should be slashed for the evenings and weekends.

Also, can someone explain the "more concerned about rich while slashing social services argument." Is the GGW community protesting cuts in social services?

by HogWash on May 16, 2011 5:16 pm • linkreport

DC is really missing out on my tax dollars.

We'll miss you. I'll be celebrating while I find greater availability of open parking spaces, making me more motivated to drive down to a neighborhood to go out to dinner in than I normally would.

Street parking is cheap and convenient here. A $3 or $4 bill for street parking that lasts through the entire dinner period is a great deal.

by JustMe on May 16, 2011 5:17 pm • linkreport

Considering the latest parking fee increase, has traffic become better, worse or negligible? Does anyone know?

Running the meters on Saturdays on U St. has pretty much given me a guarantee of being able to find a street spot on a Saturday afternoon, whereas before it was a larger struggle.

Seriously, how poor at money management do you have to be to spend tens of thousands of dollars on multiple cars and then balk at an extra dollar or two for street parking when you go out to dinner a couple of times a week?

by JustMe on May 16, 2011 5:19 pm • linkreport

Before we talk of raising taxes, has Marion Barry paid his back taxes and registered his car yet??

Can we eliminate the fluff in the budget like the offices of LGBT and Latino affairs and other special interest advocacy offices? They don't put a single cop on the street, educate a single child or fill a single pot hole.

by Bob on May 16, 2011 5:22 pm • linkreport

@Lance,

we have some councilmembers up there who've never worked a day of their lives in a 'wealth producing capacity'. They know how to spend money that's been provided them to spend, but they don't know how to actually create the wealth that allows that funding to go to them to be spent

Not this hoary old chestnut.

There are a lot of folks who've spent a lot of time in a "wealth producing capacity" who haven't a clue how to "create wealth." There are many, many folks who have created vast fortunes who haven't a clue how to "create wealth." There are a few folks who've never worked a day in their lives, or who've spent their whole lives in academia who know more about "wealth creation" than anyone has any right to know. There's really a zero correlation here.

I don't know, maybe you've got a further argument laying around somewhere, but usually this "let the wealth creators decide" business is usually nothing more than unexamined hagiography of the wealthy, similar to what you see in the pages of "Fast Company" or "Cigar Afficionado". It's unbecoming.

by oboe on May 16, 2011 5:26 pm • linkreport

@RL: "...how much a parking space is worth, which depending on the neighborhood, can be upwards of $2,000/yr. "

Where do you get this figure?

As I pointed out before, a better number is $300, based on a city-wide average. Since the fee does not vary by neighborhood, a city-wide average is the most equitable way to determine the value of the RPP sticker.

by goldfish on May 16, 2011 5:28 pm • linkreport

Most DC residents who own more than 2 cars and make $200k have a garage or a driveway and can opt not to get a second or third RPP (at least that is what I see in Ward 3). And, those making over $200k can will probably use a downtown garage (probably at their office where they get free parking) and can therefore avoid the meters. I am surprised that David thinks increased traffic congestion is a bad thing; congestion and lack of on-street parking is the main reason why I take metro downtown. If it were easy for me to get there I would probably drive when I need to get to the heart if the city). The parking rate isn't cost-prohibited for me, but congestion is.

by snowpeas on May 16, 2011 5:29 pm • linkreport

Shame on them.

by Gavin on May 16, 2011 5:32 pm • linkreport

@Joey

I understand your point but wouldn't this equate to the "Lexus Lanes" theory? If parking was relatively full before and after the rate increase, then the city should keep raising the rate until the parking usage rate drops. But this only allows those who can afford the higher fees. If parking remained full after the increase then there would be no effect on business, only the fees going to the city.

I would posit that higher parking rates not only drive middle-class customers away, but their accompanying businesses as well.

by postposter83 on May 16, 2011 5:34 pm • linkreport

I would posit that higher parking rates not only drive middle-class customers away

But they have dozens of possible alternatives, and the cost of driving further away to where parking is cheaper is too costly in terms of gas consumed. $4-$5 for street parking for spending a few hours in a high-traffic area like U Street, Eastern Market, or Georgetown where I will spend a fair amount of money on dinner, drinks, and other entertainment isn't going to drive me away. At a certain point, I will be more likely to use a private garage, however or possibly be more willing to use the metro.

On the other hand, if I know the Eastern Market is going to be way too crowded and impossible to find parking in, then I might be more willing to simply walk to U Street or Adams Morgan. However, if skin-flints postposter83 are dissuaded from going to Eastern Market because it costs $4 to park there instead of $3, and parking is more easily available, I might be more tempted to go there, instead.

I'm willing to argue that in certain neighborhoods, we might want to increase available parking on the fringes of those neighborhoods to encourage people to park outside them rather than driving through them, as well as giving more opportunities to collect tax revenue: but the consequences is that those parking facilities will displace other businesses that could have occupied that space.

by JustMe on May 16, 2011 5:44 pm • linkreport

What is the purpose of the RPP increase?

If it's to provide disincentives for parking on the street, then there's little point to it in large swaths of upper NW, where street parking is plentiful. So you can't sell it as freeing up parking in some sort of performance parking initiative.

If the goal is to raise revenue, it seems rather inefficient and not necessarily well targeted. Why not raise the same amount of revenue with a small ATB tax increase that hits everybody in a way that is regarded as (generally) fair?

by ah on May 16, 2011 5:45 pm • linkreport

Charlie: "What's really needed in this town is a tax on wealth."

What is also needed is an extremely high wall that prevents everyone with wealth from immediately decamping to other states.

This is, besides being a non-starter, the surest way to turn all of DC into a complete wasteland of poverty.

by ah on May 16, 2011 5:47 pm • linkreport

I think you're over generalizing by assuming that all households with multiple cars are wealthy. You're completely ignoring a not insignificant population of our city that lives in households with multiple adults. There are tons of group houses in this city, not to mention households of multiple generations of a family. These housing situations are generally chosen because they are more affordable than living alone. By increasing registration rates for multiple cars in a household you not only increase taxes on individuals who can afford multiple cars, you also increase the burden on residents who sacrifice personal space for low housing costs.

by Erin on May 16, 2011 5:59 pm • linkreport

@ah, so it's fair to tax people on their primary asset when it is anchored to the ground; those of us with very large bank accounts, however, should NOT be taxed.

A 1% or 2% tax on wealth over 500,000 every year is not that onerous.

by charlie on May 16, 2011 6:05 pm • linkreport

@postposter83,

Of course, that's a fair question and one without firm answers: it's more of a philosophical question.

Your first argument, however, was that DC was "missing out" on tax dollars because you weren't driving into the District as much. I think that one is likely not true, except in neighborhoods where there's currently an abundance of parking.

As to the "Lexus Lanes" question, it comes down to this: everyone has to spend something to get a street parking spot in a busy area: either time or money. If parking is underpriced, then you have to circle around over and over again to find parking. If it's "market" (whatever that means) priced, you don't waste any time, but you have to spend money.

A world in which resources are market-priced, no one wastes time, but everyone has to pay more for the particular resource.

The question is as follows: Which do you (and others) value more? Free parking or guaranteed parking (saving, perhaps, 15 minutes of circling)

The second question is as follows: If you prefer free parking that takes some time to find, what's the added cost to society of the added traffic and pollution (caused by circling cars)?

Those are both questions that lead to responses that differ wildly based on income level and philosophy. But the truth to taxes is that there's likely no difference to government restaurant tax coffers whether or not the parking is free or market priced.

by Joey on May 16, 2011 6:14 pm • linkreport

Evans really pisses me off, he lives in my district and doesn't use transit? Everyone my age (all in professional schools) walk, metro or bike to class or wherever else we want to go. I don't want to complain about how we are going to take our md's and jd's to NYC but its a fact that it will happen. Most people are very unhappy with DC because of its high car usage. We pay comparable rates to NYC but get none of the transit and pedestrian benefits. Dupont circle is extremely hazardous to cross and not set up for pedestrians, the timing is completely off for the lights. The councilmembers should be focusing on increasing access to transit and reducing reliance on automobiles. The fact is DC does have to compete for high earners and young professionals are a great group to have. We use less resources and tend to spend a large percentage of our income (going out, restaurants and other entertainment). Making DC into a place where we want to stay and not just a place in time before a move to a more progressive city should be top priorities.

by r on May 16, 2011 6:15 pm • linkreport

I thought Mary Cheh was supposed to be a "good government" council critter.

As for "wealth producers", I doubt that K Street lawyers or people in the business of buying/selling corporations are "wealth producers". Often they are capital destroyers. Wingnut welfare queens like the people who work for Cato and the like are more less the same thing. as are revolving door "capitalists" like Dick Cheney, who was a disater at Halliburton.

by Rich on May 16, 2011 6:30 pm • linkreport

I wrote CM Evans on this issue as a Ward 2 constituent. I got the standard "thank you for taking the time to write" reply. I tend to be a bit more fiscally conservative and appreciate Evans' push for greater accountability and efficiency in government. Indeed, his years on the council allow him to speak with a certain deal of authority, especially on matters concerning the budget.

However, in my opinion, his short-sighted views on these types of non-fiscal policy matters makes me wonder if he is still the best person to represent the ward. He claims to be voicing the complaints he has heard from his constituents, but it is likely that the only people he hears from are those who write to complain. In fact, I find it more likely that restauranteurs are complaining only because they themselves have lost their previously free evening and weekend parking!

More concerning, however, is that he seems to be simply lumping a large section of his constituency into a group of bicycling radicals lead by CM Wells, for whom he apparently has little respect. If he simply dismisses those voices out of hand and employs what he believes is only best for him personally, then Ward 2 residents absolutely need to avail themselves of a different choice of leader. There are certainly important issues where it is appropriate for a leader to take potentially unpopular stands in conflict with the beliefs of their constituents; the city's parking policy is not one of those issues.

by Adam L on May 16, 2011 6:35 pm • linkreport

What about the 50% hike on garage taxes? Did they kill that too?

The $1/hr only-til-6:30 thing is a disaster.

Those were the two big revenue and congestion control items.

RPP hike probably isn't that big (tho I'm for the hike).

by Tom Coumaris on May 16, 2011 6:54 pm • linkreport

Part of the skepticism by many council members was how all this "nickle & diming" - a phrase used by several members - will actually do anything to improve city services or the social welfare net. Tommy Wells stood alone in his push for several wishlist items like "green alleys", RPP increases, and keeping the parking meter prices extremely high. If you took a survey of his entire ward, I wouldn't be surprised if his views represented a minority. The problem is when he and other special interest groups confuse echo chambers with majority opinions. The backlash seen at today's Council gathering was much the same we've seen in Courtland Milloy columns and in the last 2 elections.

by Fritz on May 16, 2011 7:10 pm • linkreport

If the demand for parking outstrips the supply of parking in a particular place, people are always going to complain about one thing or another - either you don't charge market rates and people say there is never parking available, or you do charge market rates and people say it is too expensive to park.

Better to charge market rates so the taxpayers derive some rents from the situation.

by Phil on May 16, 2011 8:01 pm • linkreport

@ Evans Constituent -

"To have Evans represent Dupont Circle, one of the most walkable areas in the city, and yet not take transit himself is IMHO inexcusable."

Give me a freaking break. The guy has 6 kids. What's inexcusable is you think everyone should live like you and hop a bus or train everywhere they go. Ain't reality, my friend.

"I really think that next year it is time to replace Jack Evans with someone who is more inline with the interest of those who see how the future of DC should look. Who are the possibilities?"

Good luck on that one. He raised close to $1 million last campaign and is already well into the 2012 race. He'll be your CM for another 4 years at least. Jack Evans has done more for this city in the last 20 years to make it "the future DC" than anybody up there.

by on May 16, 2011 4:28 pm

by LeonT on May 16, 2011 8:11 pm • linkreport

All politics can be reduced to three rules:
1. The Golden Rule: the man with the gold makes the rule.
2. All politics are local.
3. Every votes counts: If you don't vote you don't count. If you voted for the other guy, you count even less.

Reading through Dave's summary, we see clear examples of all three.

by Smoke_Jaguar4 on May 16, 2011 8:27 pm • linkreport

Is anyone shocked at this ad hominem diatribe?

by TGEoA on May 16, 2011 8:38 pm • linkreport

@ Joe: These Council Members are some of the most liberal people in the United States and even they want free parking, lots of parking, and can't approach transit in a sensible manner.

Or the opposite is true. Perhaps these Council Members are not so liberal after all. They're DINOs.

by Jasper on May 16, 2011 8:45 pm • linkreport

Would this apply strictly to families or would it also apply to group houses?

by mch on May 16, 2011 8:46 pm • linkreport

Give me a freaking break. The guy has 6 kids.

Wouldn't he appreciate the ability to hand his kids a metro card and let them get to where they need to go rather thepan ferrying the kids all over the city. Or, for that matter, wouldn't he appreciate a system where there was a rapid and steady turnover of on street parking spaces, anther than being forced to keep going around and around and around waiting until one opened up? It sounds a lot more to me that he is just a privileged guy out of touch with the realities of living in Ward 2.

by Tyro on May 16, 2011 9:18 pm • linkreport

Every once in a while I ask myself why I don't read GGW more often. Then I read a blog post like this and I remember. Why don't we get the pitchforks and run Evan out of office because he wants (gasp) cheaper parking.

by beatbox on May 16, 2011 9:38 pm • linkreport

@circu-hator

Cicurlator is a white people bus. That is why readers of this blog like it so much over city buses.

by beatbox on May 16, 2011 9:40 pm • linkreport

TGEoA: read, please.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on May 16, 2011 9:49 pm • linkreport

@Hatachard

Calling wealthy, multiple car owning residents stingy is certainly ad-hominem as well as not based in fact.

by TGEoA on May 16, 2011 10:03 pm • linkreport

@JustMeRunning the meters on Saturdays on U St. has pretty much given me a guarantee of being able to find a street spot on a Saturday afternoon, whereas before it was a larger struggle.

I wonder whether your experiences are more the norm than not. I most often use metro when going to USt but even during the times I have driven, I end up doing what I often do after about 10 minutes of circling, I valet.

@r we are going to take our md's and jd's to NYC. Most people are very unhappy with DC because of its high car usage.

You would rather move to NYC because they have less car usage? Well, there are tradeoffs. You get better access to transit at better rates, the concrete jungle's rodent population resulting from it's noted trash policy, residential sq footage, rather nonexistent biking infrastructure (i think), the Holland Tunnel, oh and Donald Trump

@Tyro, It sounds a lot more to me that he is just a privileged guy out of touch with the realities of living in Ward 2.

Now this is a head scratcher.

by HogWash on May 16, 2011 10:35 pm • linkreport

TGEoA: Please make a note of how my name is spelled. I'd appreciate it if you'd take the time to at least respect me enough to get that right when addressing me. Thank you, sir.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on May 16, 2011 10:37 pm • linkreport

TGEoA: I didn't say all wealthy, multiple car owning people were stingy. It's the stingy ones who don't want to pay for parking, and those are the ones the councilmembers were standing up for.

by David Alpert on May 16, 2011 11:13 pm • linkreport

A 1% or 2% tax on wealth over 500,000 every year is not that onerous

Let's check the math on that. It is widely accepted that you can only draw down about 4% of your wealth each year if you don't want your money to run out before you die. If you paid a tax of 1 or 2% on your wealth, you would be reducing your draw down by 25-50%. Sounds pretty darn onerous to me.

If you're still in your income producing years, all the more reason why taxing wealth is onerous. It will take you substantially longer to save up for retirement or your child's education even with a 1 or 2% tax on your wealth because it significantly reduces the rate at which your wealth compounds. And, compounding (not the actual money you put in) is your primary source of building your nest egg.

by Falls Church on May 16, 2011 11:17 pm • linkreport

@Alpert

Just tag this as another anti.

Anti business, anti car, anti elderly.

by TGEoA on May 16, 2011 11:43 pm • linkreport

Ok this post can be anti-car as long as the supporting council members can be labeled anti-public transportation and anti infrastructure improvement.

by Canaan on May 17, 2011 12:34 am • linkreport

To all of those who've somehow convinced themselves that Evans (and Cheh and Mendelson and Bowser and Thomas) are fighting the good fight to save those poor middle-class District families from the heavy burden of exorbitant fees, take a deep breath, splash some water on your faces, pinch yourselves in the legs -- whatever it takes to snap out of your delusions. The proposal on the table (which Evans and his crew oppose) would raise RPP fees from the current $15 per year (or $1.25 per month) to $35 (or less than $3 per month) for the first car in a household. Senior citizens would enjoy a discounted rate of $25 per year ($2.08 per month). If you want a second RPP in a household, it'd be $50. And if you want a third (or a 5th, or a 6th, or a 7th, etc.) you can have one, but they'll cost $100 a year, or $8.25 per month.

Before you go back to insisting that Evans' position is principled, that this is some grave hardship against which the valiant Jack Evans is defending the middle class of this city, think about those numbers. Sure, there are families with 2 cars. And their rates for RPPs would go from $30 to $85 per year. If you can afford to maintain 2 cars in the District, and you want to park them on the street in an RPP zone, you can afford $85 a year. That's less than a gallon of gas, per car, per month. But you don't even have to buy an RPP if you don't want one. Never mind those crunchy alternatives like getting rid of your car -- all you have to do is avoid parking in spots that are residential parking only. Maybe you have a driveway, or maybe you have non-RPP parking in your neighborhood.

In any case, this is a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost of actually maintaining a car. It helps raise revenue, it helps keep our streets from being longterm storage lots for cars. And it represents requiring car owners to pay a larger, but still small, fraction of the market price of the real estate their car occupies when it's parked. Goldfish disputes the $2K figure, and says the market price is more like $300 per year -- or 8 times the proposed RPP fee for a 1st car, and still 3 times the highest proposed RPP fee.

by Paula Product on May 17, 2011 12:48 am • linkreport

Dave - I have no clue where Cheh got her brilliant "Circulator to the Palisades" idea. Even though it would sound great on a vintage London travel poster, it would be an asinine waste of the Circulator. (Don't get me wrong, the Palisades is a lovely neighborhood. It's just sparsely populated and not a destination for tourists or jobs. Crank up the D-line bus frequencies instead.)

But Cheh does have a larger point about the Circulator's general absence from Ward 3. The Georgetown-Union Station line literally stops right at the Ward 3 line, despite having one of the denser neighborhoods in the District less than a mile up Wisconsin from the turnaround. And the proposed Circ routes on Connecitcut and Wisconsin would essentially duplicate existing Metrorail routes. (The crosstown route on Military sounds like a great idea for a bus route, which is why 7 existing lines already cross Military.) A Circulator line would help get people from Tenley to Silver Spring, with stops at Walter Reed, which is great. But if we're talking core needs for tourism and locals alike, it's be good if the Circulator expansion would include service to the densest areas of the city not already served by Metrorail -- which would be the WIsconsin corridor between Burleith and Tenleytown. Aka "Chez Cheh."

by Paula Product on May 17, 2011 1:28 am • linkreport

If David had said, "Evans, a rich lawyer douchebag who is generally the Council's most eager to "comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted," that would be an ad hominem attack.

No, that's still not ad hominem. If David had said, "Because Evans is a rich lawyer douchebag who is generally the Council's most eager to 'comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted', his argument about parking rates should be ignored," then that would be ad hominem.

by David desJardins on May 17, 2011 2:50 am • linkreport

I think my comment on these folks being extremely liberal holds true. What this discussion shows is how ENTRENCHED parking as a RIGHT is held for all but a tiny minority of people (who are the overwhelming majority of opinion on this blog). This is an observation, I whole halfheartedly support market based parking pricing.

This belief that parking is a right is the number one issue in my opinion to solve our transportation challenges and we thus far have not been very successful in convincing the larger public why this matters.

by Joe on May 17, 2011 6:00 am • linkreport

David:

This posting makes you look like a kid. Immature and ridiculous. So others see things a bit differently than you. No need to expose everyone else to your third grade rant about how horrible and evil these CMs are for taking a stance that differs from yours.

I can only assume that after these CMs, especially Evans, read this, that whatever relationship you may have had with them is in the crapper. What good does that do?

by redrocks on May 17, 2011 8:29 am • linkreport

So that my position is clear, I wanted post a comment here. I do not oppose the increase in Residential Parking Permit fees; quite the contrary. Nor do I support a decrease in parking rates across the board. Rather, I think that the parking rates need to take into account the nature of the community and businesses in a given area. For example, in areas with a high concentration of restaurants and theaters, it doesn’t seem to make sense to limit parking to only two hours. It is hard for people to enjoy a show or a meal—and indeed, some have reported being dissuaded from patronizing such businesses for just this reason—when you only have two hours. Councilmember Wells reported today that his committee was proposing the creation of a position in the District Department of Transportation to evaluate and set rates based on just these types of factors.

Mary Cheh

by Mary Cheh on May 17, 2011 9:06 am • linkreport

Thanks for the clarification, councilmember. I'm glad to hear that you support the RPP increase. On parking meters, isn't the 2-hour limit (which I agree can be a problem) a separate issue from the rates?

by Keith Ivey on May 17, 2011 9:35 am • linkreport

Sure, complain about what Jack and other CM are doing, but NO ONE is questioning why DDOT is spening $1 million a year, and more, on bicycles. Yep - our wonderful DDOT agency is spending $1 million plus a year of our tax payer money on it's ridiculous Bikeshare Program - bringing bicycles to upper Northwest residents WHO ALREADY OWN BIKES!. The Mayor needs to slash this Bikeshare Program and provide food and health care to residents in need - not bikes to people who don't need them! No wonder we'll never get Statehood!

by David Abrams on May 17, 2011 9:39 am • linkreport

It is sad indeed that with $130 million cuts in human services, the discussion centered on the parking rates. You hit the nail on the head, David: too many of our Democratic politicians are concerned with "comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted." You'd think we were a red state.

by Kesh Ladduwahetty on May 17, 2011 9:40 am • linkreport

@TM,
"Well, only less than 30% of DC's revenues come from all the income taxes it collects. So those of us making over $200k don't really "carry" the city. The largest source of revenues is real estate taxes and by far the majority of that comes from downtown office buildings. "

Thats not true.

http://budget.dc.gov/faqs

32% of DC's local revenue comes from income taxes. Property tax makes another 32%, so yes those of us with large incomes are carrying the city and generally we (atleast I do) take constant offense to folks who diminish the contribution my enormous DC income tax bill makes to a city that doesn't seem to ever "have enough".

I don't have the Ward by Ward breakdown, but we all know anecdotally that the incomes in NW DC make up the majority of that income tax revenue.

I've found this entire thread to be kinda pointless. Public advocacy can be a useful tool but this constant witch hunt against the citys tax base masquerading as good social policy is tiresome.

by freely on May 17, 2011 9:47 am • linkreport

@Paula Product: "It helps raise revenue, it helps keep our streets from being longterm storage lots for cars. And it represents requiring car owners to pay a larger, but still small, fraction of the market price of the real estate their car occupies when it's parked."

If all the RPP is supposed to do is (1) free up parking spaces and (2) raise money, then why not sell them to anyone, resident or not, at the market rate?

by goldfish on May 17, 2011 10:05 am • linkreport

@CM Cheh:
Thanks for posting. Just a point of clarification, does this mean that you support CM Wells proposal to create a so called parking czar?

@David Abrams
Upper NW has like 8 CaBi stations, so it's hardly for Upper NW people who already have bikes. It's also just had it's 400,000th trip in it's first year, and we're only 2/3 of the way through that. It gives a rather cheap transit alternative so they can get to their jobs and feed their families. Also I doubt CaBi is what is keeping DC from getting statehood, unless somehow Nostradamus foretold sharing of bikes in the nation's capital and politicians for the past 200+ years have been heeding this as some great warning not to give DC a vote in congress.

by Steven Yates on May 17, 2011 10:12 am • linkreport

I am disappointed at this. I am very disappointed that my own CM (and current TPB chair!!!) is on the, uhhh, “more problematic” side of the residential parking permit and parking rate questions.

To me as both a transportation planner of 37 years and as 3d generation Washingtonian, this is one of those nit-picking no-brainers as long as your working premise is the utilitarian one that DC ought to have 100% Complete Streets. Which means that motorists, whether residents, commuters or visitors, ought to pay their fair true, unsubsidized share of what it costs us taxpayers to maintain each segment of each Complete Street for that particular mode. In this case, we are talking about motorists so we need to set rates for things like parking to recover as much as possible of the costs of maintaining the flow channels and parking areas for, well, motorists.

Everyone still with me so far? Good.

Now. Almost by definition, anyone able to maintain and register three passenger cars in this Town can, also by definition, bear to pay a fair(er) share of what it costs the City to provide flow and storage (i.e. parking) capacity for all three-plus of those vehicles. That sounds fair, right?

Frankly, I find those second- and third-car rates to be too low, given what the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Association of Highway Transportation Officials estimate are the true “over the road” costs of maintaining motor vehicle infrastructure in a 100% urbanized jurisdiction like DC. Note that I am not quoting wild-eyed transit fanatic “loonies” here: just two of the three principal civic professional organizations concerned with maintaining the nation’s automotive-support infrastructure. (The third, ASCE, have similar estimates but I cannot find them at the moment.)

So. If we really are serious about equitably sharing the pain of these needed budget cuts, then the proposals below should be (well should have been) approved. The rates, in fact, should have been either raised to begin with or indexed to some escalator factor, such as on-street parking capacity or the number of flow lanes on the street(s) where these rates would be applied.

CM Wells is quite right, and his allies are long overdue, in making direct comparisons between what it costs transit users in this Town to avoid creating even more of a parking, traffic and pollution problem than we already suffer from by using transit, on the one hand, and what it is costing the City to, in effect, clean up after motorists, particularly resident and commuting motorists, who insist on contributing to and exacerbating those same problems.

Am I missing something here???

Peeved in Petworth

by Harold Foster on May 17, 2011 10:13 am • linkreport

As someone that lives in Arlington and drives into DC for short - 1 and 2 hour meetings there is a reason I drive and park on the street. 1) I can't sit around and wait for the Metro much less the time it takes to walk to various offices I am at to the Metro or to places off the subway line. 2) I hate paying 18-25 dollars to park in a lot for 1 hour. That is inefficient and cuts down on my profitability.

So I have no real problem with the $4/hr parking rate. My issues is really with the delivery system. I hate carrying around $10-20 dollars in quarters if I have multiple meetings in DC. I would argue that until all meters take credit cards or dollar bills that those meters be reduced to $2/hr. For those with a credit card machine, they should be $4.

i also agree that the 2 hour time limit until 10:30 at night or on weekends is silly because it does lower the incentive for someone to go into DC to eat out or take in a show because they'll never do it because of the worry of a ticket.

by Burger on May 17, 2011 10:28 am • linkreport

@joe:
"This belief that parking is a right is the number one issue in my opinion to solve our transportation challenges and we thus far have not been very successful in convincing the larger public why this matters."

My dirving instructor made sure to drill that in:
Driving is not a right, Driving is a privilege.

by greent on May 17, 2011 10:33 am • linkreport

Burger: It's not $4/hour anywhere in DC. The maximum meter rate is $2/hr. That's $4 for 2 hours, which is why I quoted the $4 number.

I agree it's a lot of quarters. I think DDOT has actually now put credit card readers on all $2/hr meters. I will check to confirm this.

by David Alpert on May 17, 2011 10:34 am • linkreport

I am going to hazard a guess and say that most cabi riders don't need cheap transportation nor have families to feed.

by snowpeas on May 17, 2011 10:35 am • linkreport


Much of this is typical new urbanist double speak of development, progress without sacrifice. Or at least only with someone else's sacrifice. Which is why the GGW Crew lacks political credibility. So with a straight face the GGW Crew cries for a raise in the transportation burden on car owners while saying "no" to circulator fare increases. If market was reality then the circulator fares would charge a premium like the Express Routes. As well this fits with GGW Crew's dismissive attitude toward those negatively affected by Trolley Car line construction. Until, this changes GGW lack lack creditability and undermine the implementation of key serious changes to urban policy around transportation and other issues.

by W Jordan on May 17, 2011 10:37 am • linkreport

Freely,
I was looking at 2009, when real estate taxes did in fact represent 36% and income was less than 30%. Those property tax fall offs since then pretty much makes up most of the deficit.

You still have not proven that the rich "carry" the tax burden other than the old anecdotal evidence. But the data shows just the opposite. In April, Nat Ghandi estimated that the new 8.9 percent tax bracket above 200k would only produce 35m. Through induction that means there is approximately 8.75 billion in income made by people over 200k. At most, only about 750m in income taxes are paid on that income. That's only about 40% of the total income taxes taken in. So only 12% of the government's revenues come from wealthy people's income taxes. I hardly call that "carrying" the city.

by TM on May 17, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

Speaking for myself, there are some areas of the city I've just stopped going to due to the cost of parking on weekends, and the hassle of a 2 hour limit. Everything in Virginia has parking lots, though all things being equal I'd prefer not to go that far.

Metro rail and bus are barely sufficient for commuters, but the weekend schedule (even when there isn't a breakdown) is just a joke.

by Ward3Driver on May 17, 2011 10:57 am • linkreport

As a transit (including Circulator)-using, bicycle-riding car owner, I'm all for raising the RPP fee, as well as the meter rates.

Unlike Ward3Driver, my wife and I are much more likely to avoid neighborhoods (such as Adams Morgan) where we know we will have a hard time finding street parking, than we are to avoid spots where the parking rates are higher.

An extra dollar or two per hour, to save 10-15 minutes driving around looking for a spot, is completely worthwhile for us.

by Jacques on May 17, 2011 11:17 am • linkreport

TM. You're numbers are complete hooey. You need to actually go read the CFO's reports. The number is ~46% of income taxes are from people (there are 15k of these people) with income over $200k and when you add the property taxes by ward (and taking the reasonable correlation that more wealthy people are living in those wards), you're way over the 50% mark. If you add the next income bracket ($150k) it's ~56%.

However, if you look at folks under the median income bracket of $50-75k, they're contributing less than 15% of the city's income tax and a small fraction of property taxes. And that only counts the people actually generating an income (only 300k people filed taxes)! If you add the total number of people making over $150k, there are approximately 24,000 people in DC carrying 576k people.

If you lower the threshold to the median income, there are approximately 110k people carrying 490k people. So every two income household with a combined 50k, you're paying to support 10 people who can't be bothered to work or are somehow immune to city taxes (diplomats and ~45k enrolled DCPS students).

If you look at the budget, about 1/4 of the budget is spent on direct support of non-full time working adults, and another 1/4-1/3 on the school budget.

by ahk on May 17, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

We seem to be missing the bigger picture here.

The social services portion of the DC budget grew over 60% in the past eight years.

Sixty percent. That's not chump change.

What happened to all that $$?

Beyond that, the Mitch Snyder homeless center two blocks from the Capitol could be redeveloped as a twelve story office building and the revenue from that could fund every homeless program you ever wanted.

But no. It's more important to keep a shitshack of a three story homeless shelter in terrible condition as a 'potent reminder of the plight of the homeless'.

Ditto for quite a few public housing complexes in DC. We could redevelop many of those (particularly those in very high dollar areas) and use that massive revenue stream to totally revamp our terribly counterproductive public housing system. And maybe even in the process actually make it help the very people it is supposed to be helping.

But no. Instead we write snide articles here about how the rich people hate poor people and want to sprinkle salt on them to watch them wriggle before they die.

We have plenty of resources already available for funding homeless programs and housing for the working poor.

We just choose not to use those resources wisely.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 11:42 am • linkreport

A problem in DC has always been Ward 3's status as a "separate province". True, upper northwest is almost suburban, but that's not entirely because of location.

A gentleman's agreement that there be no public housing, no bars, no mid-rises in upper northwest has led to it being more suburban even than downtown Bethesda. But like suburbanites, residents of upper northwest want free or very cheap parking when they come to the center city and no impediments on how many cars they have.

Ten years ago there was a terrible fight over moving parts of Ward 3 to Ward 4 because residents there feared losing their special status. Because that area votes twice as much as other wards, upper northwest is critical to mayoral and at-large elections.

But in Ward 2 there are an equal number of residents and our RPP and a sane parking scheme are critical to us. These changes are a disaster for us.

by Tom Coumaris on May 17, 2011 11:43 am • linkreport

@TM,

First of all, those wealthy folks are providing 44%, not 40 of the total income tax collected which means a total of 14% (not 12%) of all the revenue (5.3 billion) the District collects is from the incomes of those wealthier folk.

Thats equal to all the revenue the city takes in in both "Non-tax reciepts" and "Gross Reciepts Taxes" combined.

I am not sure of your cavalier dismissal of of the enormous freight the Districts wealthier carry is something you actually believe, or a front for you to make a point, but please by all means, come back and tell us how you would reduce the exising city budget by 14% (or another 750 million) on top of the 322 million budget deficit we currently carry. I am sure those DC residents would love to have their collective 750 million back. I know I would.

by freely on May 17, 2011 11:45 am • linkreport

TM:

Your point about real estate taxes being such a high percentage of revenue is interesting.

It's worth noting that much of that commercial office real estate wouldn't be there if it weren't for the 'rich people'. Ditto for a good many restaurants, which of course is a massive revenue source for DC. The 10% restaurant tax is stunning. And the real estate tax on the restaurant space is nothing to sneeze at either.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 11:49 am • linkreport

Ahk, you're income numbers are barely off from mine. And they don't refute the assertion that wealthy people's income taxes don't "carry" the city, seeing as even your higher number represents only 13% of the city's revenue.

And your assumptions about the real estre taxes are off-base. Commercial real estate taxes are a huge chunk of the total real estate tax revenues. The top 100 commercial properties alone represent over 20 percent of real estate tax revenues.

http://www.bizjournals.com/mobile/washington/blog/2011/02/the-districts-reliance-on-commercial.html

The simple fact is that our revenues are spread out across many sources. Any one person or group has no position to lord it over all the people they don't like. And I say that as someone with a household income north of $400k.

by TM on May 17, 2011 11:55 am • linkreport

Where is the data that shows that wealthy NW residents are complaining about downtown parking rates?

by snowpeas on May 17, 2011 12:32 pm • linkreport

@CM Cheh
Thanks for the clarification. Actually, I'm not sure if it's a clarification, or a reversal, or whetehr Dave misreported or misunderstood your position at the council meeting. But in any case, I am glad and relieved to hear that you are not opposing the RPP plan. And I continue to be disappointed that other CMs are less enlightened on this issue.

@goldfish: "If all the RPP is supposed to do is (1) free up parking spaces and (2) raise money, then why not sell them to anyone, resident or not, at the market rate?"

Actually, those are not the only two reasons for the RPP (and I never suggested they were). But if they were, then perhaps your suggestion would be a good one. Those rates would vary dramatically across the city, so I don't think your previously-noted $300/year figure would be an appropriate way to set the price. But an auction wouldn't excatly be super efficient either.

Another reason for having an RPP is to allow residents a chance at parking in their neighborhoods. RPP programs reflect a policy decision that residents have a superior claim to their neighborhood streets than outsiders do. There are reason this makes sense (since, for example, it's not like residents who can't find parking can just decide to turn around and go home). And there are some good counterarguments too, whether based on fairness or economic interests.

Speaking of fairness, the artifically low pricing of street parking, including RPP fees, is also rooted somewhat in fairness to those with lower incomes. Just as we don't always auction off public space to the highest bidders, we often make a trade-off between a commons apporoach and an "optimally-efficient" fee-based approach, to try to make sure everyone has an opportunity to partake in whatever public resource we're talking about, whether that's public street space, space in parks, etc. (For those who fancy themselves hard-nosed pragmatists, you can replace the notion of "fairness" with the idea that poor people may not have much money, but they vote, and so the market for votes also affects money-based markets as well.)

by Paula Product on May 17, 2011 12:35 pm • linkreport

@Paula Product: "residents have a superior claim to their neighborhood streets than outsiders do"

Since when? Most of us agree that it is wrong to put an old chair to "claim" your space in front of your house. (I think it is illegal, in fact.) At since so many posters have also pointed out that the cost of the RPP should reflect the cost of providing the space, then it makes sense to sell it to those willing to bear the cost. Put another way, if residents really want those spaces, then they will pay for them.

by goldfish on May 17, 2011 12:55 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish,

Since when? Since DDOT started installing speed humps on neighborhood streets throughout the city at the residents request. Its a clear acknowledgement that residents have a superior claim to their neighborhood streets than do outsiders.

And lets not get into this tiresome "it's worth more so you should pay more" unless we are going to do it equally to all taxpayer subsidized infrastructure. By that metric your bus ride home this evening will cost 9 bucks.

"Put another way, if residents really want those bus rides home, then they will pay for them."

by freely on May 17, 2011 1:19 pm • linkreport

By the same token, metro fares should reflect the true cost.

by snowpeas on May 17, 2011 1:24 pm • linkreport

"Most of us agree that it is wrong to put an old chair to "claim" your space in front of your house. (I think it is illegal, in fact.) At since so many posters have also pointed out that the cost of the RPP should reflect the cost of providing the space, then it makes sense to sell it to those willing to bear the cost. Put another way, if residents really want those spaces, then they will pay for them."

Actually, if I dig my car out during a snowstorm I damn sure will put a chair in it, and if you park there I will ice your car in so that it'll take you hours to get it out.

As for bearing the cost, I'm not opposed to making the RPP fees higher. But as others have pointed out, no one bears the true cost of their transportation. If Metro wasn't subsidized I shudder to think what a daily commute would cost, if it were even feasible at all. In fact, without subsidy Metro would probably not exist.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 1:35 pm • linkreport

freely -- The two situations -- speeding on neighborhood streets, and parking -- are not analogous. Speeding is a safety issue; parking is not.

Actually I do not think DC should charge market rates for RPP. But it is the logical endpoint of what so many have posted.

If you do not agree with this, that the RPP is a privilege to those that already support the city with their taxes, then the price should be set accordingly -- what it costs to administer the program. That should be just a few dollars.

by goldfish on May 17, 2011 1:35 pm • linkreport

Actually, if I dig my car out during a snowstorm I damn sure will put a chair in it, and if you park there I will ice your car in so that it'll take you hours to get it out.

Oh goodness. I thought the "Snow Wars of Ought 9" were a thing of the past. Fine: If you put a chair in a legal street parking spot, I damn sure will toss it over the snow wall into your front yard. This ain't Wrigleyville.

by oboe on May 17, 2011 1:42 pm • linkreport

San Francisco has dollar coin meters (at $4/hr, I think) and also stored-value cards usable at all or most meters. These seem easier and more cost-effective to roll out universally, than credit cards or bill readers.

by David desJardins on May 17, 2011 1:50 pm • linkreport

@hillman is spot on correct about DC's crummy ass pubic housing and the waste of allowing these projects not to be torn down and have something market rate go up in their place- and how much revenue would come out of it all. I agree with this entirely. Also- the downtown "homeless" shelter needs to go.

I disagree w/ @hillman about parking and cars.

Tom Coumaris- I like your stance on how NW - Ward 3 has gotten off of the hook from having any responsibility that the rest of city suffers so much from- and yet they all come into the "other" parts of DC and volunteer in "homeless" shelters- so these white liberal hypocrites can feel good about how nice they are to minorities, etc..and yet they'd never want one of these "homeless" plantations door to their precious children and cars. I dislike many of these NW snobs and for the most part they do little to make the city a dynamic place in which to live. As far as Im concerned we should give NW/Ward 3 back to Maryland .

by w on May 17, 2011 2:01 pm • linkreport

@w you poor thing. Ward 3 doesn't need you or DC.

by snowpeas on May 17, 2011 2:14 pm • linkreport

"This ain't Wrigleyville."

You're lucky this ain't Philly or Boston, where they will key your car, then break your pregnant wife's leg. Then they wait for her to give birth, and they piss in your child's face. Then they drag that child out into the once-vacant spot, and they let it freeze to death, occasionally pissing on it for extra sport.

I abide by the 48 hour rule. If I spend an hour digging out, the space is mine for 48 hours, but I only vacate in case of serious need for the vehicle, and I mark the spot with a note. After that, I got no claim to it.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 2:17 pm • linkreport

"As far as Im concerned we should give NW/Ward 3 back to Maryland"

Ditto for downtown businesses. Those bastards.

Of course, you'll have to give up most of your homeless and public housing funding. And lots of your police and fire protection.

Since Ward 3 and downtown aren't there to pay for it anymore.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 2:20 pm • linkreport

My husband owns three cars, and I can tell you that $100/year is chump change to him. I don't know how anyone can afford three cars and NOT find $100 a bargain.

by m on May 17, 2011 2:29 pm • linkreport

I abide by the 48 hour rule. If I spend an hour digging out, the space is mine for 48 hours, but I only vacate in case of serious need for the vehicle, and I mark the spot with a note. After that, I got no claim to it.

I've got an even more effective technique to ensure no one gets my space: I just leave the car where it is, and let the snow melt naturally.

This strategy fails on occasion--say, in the case where I need to drive somewhere.

In that case I'll dig my car out and leave it available for whomever wants to use it. After all, I wouldn't have cleared that space if I didn't need to get my car out--it's not like I'm performing a valuable public service.

I like the concept of "48 Hour Ownership Rights", though. I was walking through the park a few months ago, and a few inches of snow had collected on one of the benches. I scraped it off and sat down to collect my breath and rest my legs for a bit. When I got up to go home, I made sure to put my beloved Nationals hat on the bench to save my place.

Anyway, a day later, as I was walking home from lunch, and there was some *guy* sitting on *my* bench eating lunch--my hat was not where to be found! Obviously, I wanted to walk right up and give him a poke in the snout, but I wasn't sure if I was 100% in the right. Next time I'll know better.

by oboe on May 17, 2011 2:35 pm • linkreport

as for cars being snowbound- I have no car- and being no lycra bound brokeback cyclist, I have a utility bicycle which works beautifully in snow and I can do all of my grocery shopping with my bicycle-unlike the racers with their skinny wheels and no baskets to carry stuff in.

by w on May 17, 2011 2:40 pm • linkreport

@Oboe, even though I am often @the receiving end of your whit/sarcasm, I am sitting here literally cracking up over the image of you and that hat on the bench.

Great response! Couldn't have sassed it any better.

by HogWash on May 17, 2011 2:46 pm • linkreport

As a former Bostonian, I generally am willing to respect reserving your spot with a chair during a snowstorm... by the principle of Lockean property rights, you own the fruits of your labor. You dug out the spot, it's yours.

by JustMe on May 17, 2011 3:03 pm • linkreport

Clearly, Oboe, you are a better person than I am. And wittier. And probably better posture also.

I just hope for your sake you never live in a real northern city and try your idea of fucking with people during a major snowstorm, just to prove an arcane point.

They may very well beat the living shit out of you.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 3:07 pm • linkreport

And yet it sounds to me, Hillman, that you'd approve of such mindless violence. So you should probably stop pretending that you hope for Oboe's health and safety.

by TM on May 17, 2011 3:12 pm • linkreport

TM: You raise a valid point (much more valid than your suggestion that the rich in DC aren't really paying that much toward services they will never use).

I actually do believe that if Oboe tried this in a northern city and someone punched him in the face he would deserve it.

Would putting him in the hospital be overkill? Yes. But a minor ass-whipping? Likely justified. Particularly if he was doing it not even for his own vehicle use - instead, just to fuck with people.

My question would be would a jury in Boston or Buffalo convict someone of assault in such a case?

My gut feeling is no. In fact, it's probably a pretty safe bet that Oboe would be shunned or mocked by most other citizens pretty much for the remainder of his days.

But then I think a lot of the passive aggressive behavior we often see in DC could benefit from a good old fashioned ass whipping. I wouldn't limit that to just pinheads that take a space you've just shovelled.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 3:29 pm • linkreport

Great piece. We need more reporting like this.

by Nice Work on May 17, 2011 3:32 pm • linkreport

Oboe:

I'd point out the obvious here. Your bench example takes, what, five to ten seconds of labor?

Shovelling a car out can take an hour.

It's a matter of degree.

Just like if the snowfall is minor, 'reserving' your space isn't justified. It's really only for times when you have to spend a lot of effort shovelling a space, and if someone takes that space you return to a scenario of not being able to park anywhere near your home. In fact, you may have to resort, in extreme cases, to just abandoning your vehicle in the middle of the road.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 3:40 pm • linkreport

@Hillman:

I think you're oversimplifying. I lived in Chicago (which could easily give Boston an atomic wedgie, by the way) for a decade, and this topic engendered every bit as much controversy there as it does here. It seems to be a generational thing, but it's by no means a settled point.

http://chairfreechicago.org/

Also, I use a makeshift "standing desk". Hence the excellent posture.

by oboe on May 17, 2011 3:42 pm • linkreport

If I make a chalk drawing on the street, is that space mine? Can I also key and urinate on the car that moves in?

by artiste on May 17, 2011 3:50 pm • linkreport

@Hillman -- I lived in Boston. The "chair reserve" is a lot looser than you portray it. And I never new anyone to get beat up for violating it, just nasty comments.

by goldfish on May 17, 2011 3:56 pm • linkreport

@Hillman, sorry but there is really is no justification for violence over a parking space.

What's next, advocating punching someone in the face for sitting in a seat near you on metro - one that (because you had worked so hard that day) you had placed your backpack in?

*How dare you disrespect me by parking in the public space that I didn't pay for*

*Bashing bloody face in ground*

by HogWash on May 17, 2011 3:58 pm • linkreport

oboe, is chairfreechicago.org spearheaded by hipsters or earnest aging-hippie liberals? I just want to know exactly whom to be annoyed at.

by JustMe on May 17, 2011 4:03 pm • linkreport

I have found over the years that people from Boston are extremely rude and have no manners. They are comparable to people from Paris-snobs, rude, not friendly. There are always exceptions to the rule- but it generally holds fast.

by w on May 17, 2011 4:06 pm • linkreport

Oboe:

I'd suggest it's a socioeconomic thing as well.

Rule of thumb - if you suspect the garden gnome or folding plastic lawn chair currently in the parking space was in the front yard last summer, leave it alone.

But if you are in a DC neighborhood like Cap Hill, chances are the worst that will happen to you is you will be whined about anonymously on a blog.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 4:17 pm • linkreport

Goldfish: I"m suspecting you lived in a more genteel part of Boston. I've actually quizzed several guys from Boston on this. They've not seen fistfights. But they have seen threats of same, which resulted in the space taker leaving before he got punched. And they have seen cars get keyed. And mirrors broken off.

Again, it's a matter of degree. A small snow, no justification. But a killer snowstorm? You're damn right I get to claim a space I created by shovelling my ass off. For a reasonable time only.

Hogwash: Actually, I did pay for that space. With an hour or more labor. And your metro analogy isn't really the same. It takes, what, five seconds to move a backpack from a metro seat. It can take FAR longer to shovel out a car.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 4:24 pm • linkreport

I did pay for that space. With an hour or more labor.

No, actually, you paid to get your car out of that space. So that you could presumably go about your important business. If you didn't have to go anywhere, you would have left your car where it was. So everything that happens after that is irrelevant.

You had to drive somewhere; you dug your car out; you drove away. Plus a bunch of other irrelevant stuff.

It's actually quite a bit like the business owners who demand admiration because they "create jobs". If there were a way of making money without creating jobs, they'd be on it in an instant. Job creation is an unfortunate side-effect of making money.

Clear parking space creation is a fortuitous side-effect of you having to go someplace. But you have no legal or moral claim on that side-effect.

(Okay, really, really done with the thread-jacking now...)

by oboe on May 17, 2011 4:45 pm • linkreport

@goldfish: Your mischaracterization of my quote suggests you may not understand the difference between advocacy or support of a conclusion, and mere description of a conclusion reached by others. The fact is that RPP programs simply reflect a belief that neighborhood residents, for some reason, should get preference in parking on their neighborhood streets. You may disagree that residents should get such preferences, or that such preferences are counterproductive (and I might even agree with you). But the existence of RPP programs indicates that policymakers have come to a different conclusion.

I'm not really clear on whether you actually believe that RPPs should reflect the true market price for street space. It seems that you don't, but that you're trying to suggest that unless one is willing to agree that RPPs should be raised to market rates and open to all buyers, one cannot favor modest increases in RPPs that would, among many other beneficial effects, bring RPP fees just slightly more in line with market prices. If that's your aim, I'm afraid I don't agree. Parking, like a lot of other public policy issues, involves a lot of countervailing interests and conflicting theories. We don't always choose policies that are economically efficient in the sense of maximizing overall welfare.

"'residents have a superior claim to their neighborhood streets than outsiders do
Since when? Most of us agree that it is wrong to put an old chair to 'claim' your space in front of your house. (I think it is illegal, in fact.) At since so many posters have also pointed out that the cost of the RPP should reflect the cost of providing the space, then it makes sense to sell it to those willing to bear the cost. Put another way, if residents really want those spaces, then they will pay for them."

by Paula Product on May 17, 2011 4:52 pm • linkreport

Even I'm tired of this topic now.

Can you at least agree with me that the city grossly misuses the homeless and housing resources we already have, and that we could save hundrds of millions of dollars by revamping those systems?

Or is that not as sexy as parking wars?

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 4:54 pm • linkreport

the business owners who demand admiration because they "create jobs". If there were a way of making money without creating jobs, they'd be on it in an instant. Job creation is an unfortunate side-effect of making money.

I got eviscerated for mentioning this on a forum once.
Businesses are created to make money. That's it. If businesses could find a way to make money while employing no one and building nothing, businesses would do so.

To think that businesses "create jobs" out of the kindness of their hearts is to forget businesses are not people. Hence they do not have hearts.

by greent on May 17, 2011 5:06 pm • linkreport

Artichokes are not people, but they do have hearts.

by David desJardins on May 17, 2011 5:09 pm • linkreport

@HillmanCan you at least agree with me that the city grossly misuses the homeless and housing resources we already have, and that we could save hundrds of millions of dollars by revamping those systems?

Uhm.., why should Oboe agree to that when it wasn't even a topic of conversation until you introduced it. This "debate" has been about parking, not homeless shelters and other housing resources. I'm sure if you asked whether there should be changes, his easy and quick answer would be "yes."

Ok and then what? Not sure how answering in the affirmative furthers this particular discussion.

Actually, I did pay for that space. With an hour or more labor.*

*As I sit here on oboe's bench waiting for an a-hole to sit on my bench - after I spent a whole 3 minutes of my time clearing it of pigeon poop*

Hey dude, that's my space. I cleared that seat! My time. My labor.

*ok, your public space..but still*

by HogWash on May 17, 2011 5:23 pm • linkreport

Or is that not as sexy as parking wars?

Not sure the two of us kvetching about homeless people is some sort of deep, unsexy submersion into the thickets of policy. ;P

by oboe on May 17, 2011 5:27 pm • linkreport

"Artichokes are not people, but they do have hearts. "

Yes, they do, but we can all agree that those thistles do not possess kindness, and definitely do not create jobs, like the little welfare princes of the Med they are. They just want to grow in their own unshared patch of soil, and damn the olives. Damn them!

by greent on May 17, 2011 5:37 pm • linkreport

@Paula Product: I was merely taking what you wrote and running with it, whether or not you support it. Your support for it (or not) is irrelevant.

All policies are based on a rationalization. This needs to be a stated for the RPP, to cut through the conflicting theories and interests (as you put it) and set the price. The only reason I have seen from CM Wells and other on this board (including you) is "to discourage multiple car households." Why should we do that, except to make more room for parking? To employ economics to discourage multiple car household, all of the other implications of supply and demand should be included. You can't have it both ways.

by goldfish on May 17, 2011 6:11 pm • linkreport

"Uhm.., why should Oboe agree to that when it wasn't even a topic of conversation until you introduced it. This "debate" has been about parking, not homeless shelters and other housing resources."

The GGW article was on the budget, and phrased in the usual GGW class warfare language. I responded with a fairly valid point about squandered resources being better utilized before we demand tax increases.

It's kindof stunning how people in this town will acknowledge that we squander our resources, but don't seem at all upset about it. I guess it's just easier to do the knee-jerk demand for more taxes instead.

by Hillman on May 17, 2011 7:15 pm • linkreport

The headline characterization of those who oppose higher DC income taxes as "stingy" misses the point. In fact, I think you'll find that many of the non-profits seeking to aid the disadvantaged in this city are able to operate only due to the donated funding they receive from higher income residents. Those residents are not stingy with their money; they just want their donations to go to effective programs that make a real difference. Whether fair or not, the widespread perception is that higher income taxes will more likely go to funding 100K-a-year jobs to reward political cronies than to effective programs. If the DC Government and others really want to build public support for a tax increase, the way to do it is to produce credible evidence that the extra revenue will go to worthwhile programs that produce measurable results -- not to repeat simplistic class warfare slogans about "stingy, multiple-car owning wealthy residents."

by ES on May 17, 2011 9:14 pm • linkreport

DC is tough, and getting tougher, on people who are successful financially, with the nation's highest and most progressive tax rates. It's only logical, and not at all "wrong," that folks with higher incomes (and higher tax revenues to pay) stay *away* from DC and locate in VA or MD. Or as young couples grow in income, they leave (by the droves), and it's getting so tough, that even folks who have stayed despite the financial irrationality, ponder moving up the road to MD or across the river to VA. If they are even going tax theaters, why bother with DC anymore? The flight of households with over $200,000 will in turn, cause property values to flatten, leading to less property tax revenue, and sales tax revenue decline even more. Note the incredible tax revenue just across the border all around DC -- Friendship Heights/Bethesda, Silver Spring, Roslyn, Beltsville, etc. You can see billions of dollars in tax revenue from your house! Duh. It takes a very short-sighted and not very bright DC'er not to see the long-term damage to DC by *increasing* the already highest high-income tax rates and ancillary revenue-enhancing gimmicks. DC has maxed out the option of just raising more money from the affluent, and even more will have a devastating financial impact on the budget, including DC's ability to meet the needs of the most needy. Yet it is amazing the knee-jerk reaction of seemingly intelligent people like the writer of the article. The answer: balance, efficiency, private market help. The honest truth: DC just has to stop, cut, and even shrink its government in many respects. The DC formula has failed, is failing, and more of the same will send us right back to Control Board Status.

by HammondB3 on May 17, 2011 10:06 pm • linkreport

@HammondB3: DC is tough, and getting tougher, on people who are successful financially, with the nation's highest and most progressive tax rates.

WTF? The highest DC income tax rate is 8.5%. California is 10.3%. NYC is over 12%.

by David desJardins on May 17, 2011 10:11 pm • linkreport

Note the incredible tax revenue just across the border all around DC -- Friendship Heights/Bethesda, Silver Spring, Roslyn, Beltsville, etc.

Montgomery county has the trifecta of high income taxes, high property taxes, and county-owned liquor stores. By your logic, people must be streaming out of Montgomery County in droves.

The headline characterization of those who oppose higher DC income taxes as "stingy" misses the point.

"Stingy" refers to the whining about people with multiple cars worth 10s of thousands of dollars each having to pay $1 more for parking meters.

by Tyro on May 17, 2011 11:21 pm • linkreport

As well as a federal govt that can spend a trillion on 'stimulus' spending and another trillion annually upon the Pentagon, yet which considers even $1-3 billion for an I-395 tunnel extension to just east of Florida Avenue 'too expensive'.

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-395-extension.html

by Douglas Willinger on May 17, 2011 11:53 pm • linkreport

The real tax rate comparison is with Virginia and Maryland, at 5.75 and 6.25% as the highest rates. Those are both viable options for high dollar DC residents. However, local counties in MD tax as well. I believe Montgomery County is at 3.2%, giving you an effective tax rate of over 9%.

Virginia, however, does not charge local tax (that I'm aware of).

Of course, you could argue that in both VA and MD you get much better government services than you do in DC.

by Hillman on May 18, 2011 7:57 am • linkreport

Of course, you could argue that in both VA and MD you get much better government services than you do in DC.

That was sort of my point. For various reasons, Montgomery County and other areas can have high taxes, but people obviously stay, because the county ultimately offers a good value for the money. The focus for DC has to be on providing better value, not trying to grind the ax of people who have a right-wing agenda of tax-cutting and starving infrastructure and services.

by Tyro on May 18, 2011 8:58 am • linkreport

Hillman:The real tax rate comparison is with Virginia and Maryland, at 5.75 and 6.25% as the highest rates. Those are both viable options for high dollar DC residents.

And yet Georgetown and NW DC are filled with massive mansions and luxury condos occupied by people who fight tooth and nail to keep poor people (students and transit induced rifraf) out of their neighborhoods. If the tax rates in DC were too high, those neighborhoods would be empty and neglected. Yet real estate prices in those neighborhoods are holding up shockingly well, even in these hard economic times, when in other major cities you can pretty much get houses for free.

I am sick of this arguments. I do not know why politicians always fall for the threat that rich people will leave if taxes get increased. They don't. They haven't and they won't. There is no statistically relevant evidence at all.

by Jasper on May 18, 2011 9:42 am • linkreport

Jasper:

I do think some of the 'the rich will all leave' is BS. But I can honestly say I know at least three or four rich dudes that chose NOVA over DC, in part because of the taxes. Ironically, two of those dudes are gay, and are now considering coming back to DC for the gay marriage.

It's reasonable to assume that people do pay attention to tax rates when determining where to live. Is it always the deciding factor? Unlikely. But it is one factor.

by Hillman on May 18, 2011 11:34 am • linkreport

@ Hillman: Sure it's a factor. So is the weather. Taxes are however a much smaller one than much people want to make believe. Furthermore, it's actually pretty hard to compare taxes, because you have to consider so many different elements. The mix of property, income and sales tax is different for every single person. Do you rent or own? Makes a difference. Sales tax is also not trivial. Some places add local taxation.

Some places use a complex mix of different sales tax levels. In Ohio, food and medication is exempted from sales tax. Which leads to weird supermarket sales tax calculations. Apples are food. But toilet paper is not. Ibuprofen is medication. But what about nasal spray? Take-out food counts as food, but the exact same food served at a table is taxed because it's a service. The results? Ohio has a lot of restaurants where you have to go get your food at the counter, after which you can enjoy your take-out food on the restaurant provided terrace, where cleaners (not waiters) clean your table.

by Jasper on May 18, 2011 4:11 pm • linkreport

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