Call it the ultimate Get Off My Lawn shout, but El Monte's city council is considering a ban on overnight parking. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the proposal has two things going for it: crime reduction and new revenue. The theory is that fewer cars on the street equals less crime. And the new revenue part? That comes from all the grateful citizens who get to pay $50 annually to park each of their vehicles in the street. (Apparently locals don't commit crimes, even when their cars are parked off site.)
The logic here seems a little stretched, if not flawed. Sure, we guess
that crime would go down when there are fewer cars around — but only
because that results in fewer people being around. Why not just ban
people from walking the streets after dark, the way they were in “The
Pedestrian,” an old Ray Bradbury story? Not only would there be fewer
potential criminals lurking about (residents could walk their own
streets — for a fee, naturally), but there'd also be fewer victims inviting attacks.
It would seem to make even more sense to ban guns after nightfall
(except, you know, for those belonging to fee-paying residents), but
of course, those are much easier to conceal than cars. And there would
be the problem of the NRA.
The Trib article says the El Monte proposal isn't some
futuristic fantasy — it's currently the law in 12 of 20 San Gabriel
Valley cities and had actually been in effect in El Monte until 1984,
when time-of-day street sweeping made it expendable. If passed, the
ordinance will create a self-sustaining bureaucracy to maintain the
program at about $100,000 per year. El Monteans will then be able to enjoy
evenings when, looking out from behind their curtains, they can
watch the intimidating cars of strangers get $30 tickets. Sweet.