I seldom agree with the California Coastal Commission but I applaud them on trying to save the few remaining fire rings along the coast.
There is nothing quite so joyous and spirit-warming as hot dogs and marshmallows cooking on a stick over an open fire, with surf sounding in the background. Though I am too old to partake of this simple, low-cost party any longer, I would hate to see today's youth denied of yet another of the pleasures of my youth.
In regards to smoke from fire pits, remember that most of the rings sit idle the majority of the time. Those rich enough and lucky enough to live on the coast close enough to occasionally see or smell some smoke, count your blessings and don't deny this simple, wholesome pleasure to others.
Parking not an 'opportunity for new business taxes'
The column in the Feb. 22 Coastline Pilot by David Hansen with the headline, "City eyes more downtown private parking," offers little useful information on current downtown parking conditions. However, it does bring attention to the continuing debate as to the need and use of public and private parking spaces.
Unfortunately, comments by certain city officials regarding private property owners charging a fee for public use of their parking lots is an illustration of apparent ignorance of the importance of gaining the cooperation from private parking lot owners and maximizing the use of available private parking areas. A softer tone toward the business owners may go a lot further in achieving that result.
Are city representatives really trying to complete a meaningful Parking Management Plan or are they looking for new taxes? Are they suggesting private owners chain off their parking lots after business hours or face new taxes?
Hansen refers to Wells Fargo Bank as not so much a bank as it is a beach parking lot during summer. A city official states, "You've got places running two businesses, like the banks. They are a bank during the day and a parking lot at night. And they're basically running the parking lot for free, as far as the city is concerned. The city is getting nothing out of that."
Later in the column, a city staff member states, "There's these secondary businesses that may not be, quote-unquote, legal, and one method is to try to … gain revenue from that to offset other expenses."
The staff member does make reference to the potential pool of private parking spaces that could be utilized. Do they mean adding more parking spaces or more tax revenue?
Hansen points out the library has a whopping 12 spaces allocated exclusively for staff. Be aware, these parking spaces also serve the Chamber of Commerce office staff and the volunteers working in the Friends of the Library bookstore located on the site, and all the parking is available for public use after library closing hours during most of the year. A small amount of the parking fees collected during the tourist season is returned to the Friends to support library activities.
Hopefully, the forthcoming public meetings on the Parking Management Plan will provide a more positive discussion of parking issues, not "eyeing" an opportunity for new business taxes. Until the city can provide more parking spaces to accommodate the downtown business area, city officials should be grateful for any private parking space made available for public use.
Personal views not enough for law
I am amazed that Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman and City Planner Monica Tuchscher have come up with an additional taxation idea on Wells Fargo because they rent out their parking lot in the evening, which Grossman and Tuchscher feel is additional income and should have an additional tax for the city because, per Grossman, "it's fair."