Magazine

Article on EVs Disappoints Reader

Reader Keeps Editor Honest

PT Editor John Van Horn received this letter from former Los Angeles City Parking Adjudication Supervisor Jay Carsman. JVH’s reply follows:



I received my November 2012 issue of Parking Today and, as I always do, eagerly and enjoyably read the articles, announcements and advertising.  When I came across your story about electric vehicles (“EVs Take Another Hit!”), I was excited.  After I read it, I was very disappointed. 

Just between us, if I wanted to listen to Fox News, I would just tune them in myself.  I certainly don’t respect that you are writing like a Fox News employee and trying to hide behind an excuse that it is parking-related.  Your article is just filled with the half-truths, incorrect “facts” and obsolete arguments that Fox News is so famous for spreading.  John, you really could do so much better!

And the Chevy Volt is a hybrid, not a pure EV.  It’s comparable to the Prius, but is capable of higher gas mileage and is much more comfortable to drive.  Last I heard from GM, they would dispute your cost of production for the Volt. 

Pure EVs, that’s a work in progress.  The few current models can travel three to four times the distance of the EVs of a hundred years ago.  While the current battery technologies still leave a lot to be desired, they are in most ways far superior to the old lead-acid batteries that once powered EVs. 

And in case you forgot, lead-acid batteries are not a friend to the environment either, and they have a nasty history of exploding when they short-out internally and ignite the hydrogen gas that accumulates inside the case during normal operation.

Perhaps battery design advancements might eventually provide a cost-effective and safer replacement for the old, cheap-to-produce lead-acid cells.

As a retired employee of the city of Los Angeles, Department of Transportation, Supervisor of Parking Adjudication, I find it tiresome to listen to the cheap shots fired by Fox News, and you, that are directed to the generalized descriptions of public service ineptitude that you seem so comfortable expressing. 

I feel comfortable saying this as my career of almost 37 years with the city included such innovations in California as re-organizing city departments to create a single responsibility center for all parking-related functions and planning; decriminalization of parking citations;  legislation and implementation of administrative adjudication; legislation to permit use of the “Denver Boot”; innovative and effective citation collection techniques; and performing the initial training of most personnel throughout California on the design and implementation of administrative adjudication programs.  I wrote the legislation that authorized all of these programs. 

If you doubt my description, just check with the California Public Parking Association – of which, by the way, I was a founding member.

Enough now of negative thoughts and criticism.  I would like to propose that you devote your next column to writing about successes.  You should have no difficulty finding many examples among the public and private organizations on which your publication is focused.  There is plenty to be proud of out there!



Jay Carsman



JVH replies:

Jay: I obviously hit a nerve with my Fox News source.”  I probably should have used Forbes or Car and Driver, CNN or The New York Times.  Similar articles have run in all of them.

Other than that, thanks for basically agreeing with me. As I said, the Volt is a hybrid and, therefore, makes sense.  EVs don’t.  Yes, they are a work in progress, and at a time when the government is spending a billion dollars a day more than it’s taking in, I don’t think it’s a good idea to support this technology. Just my opinion, you may differ.  (By the way, there was a Volt on the cover of the October Issue of PT – and comments in the article about how much the fellow charging it loved his car.)

As for public sector ineptitude – hmmm.  I have run many articles, some written by public sector employees, that laud advances they have made. I featured Santa Monica and its new technology-based on-street program just a few months ago. Colleges also do a great job – and Texas A&M was on the cover in September. However, I guess that when we take a look at things that are really really iffy – such as SFpark – and a federally funded boondoggle to boot – we cross your line in the sand.

I don’t really consider what I do journalism – not a lot of pure research here. However, I do write about things that don’t seem to be working. I think that’s what you want. Our country is in the state it’s in now because newspapers and TV news have become cheering sections for government at all levels and allow them to get away with, sometimes literally, murder.

If we shine some light on a project that has problems, maybe those running it will rethink their approach. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.

As for your work with parking and the city of LA, – I’m sure was laudable. The projects you list are top-of-the-line. And we are better because of them.

But some areas still need attention, such as the horrible enforcement and illegal use issues of disabled permits, and the simple fact that only about 10-15% of all parking citations that should be written are written. I realize that both these issues are political footballs, but there you go.

I know of many successful parking projects using technology and write about them all the time; however, the successful ones seem to be self-funding. Those that lap at the federal teat need some “means testing.”

And let’s face it; those stories don’t generate letters like yours.

Thanks for reading, and for the compliments. And keep your letters coming – those that agree are nice, but those that disagree keep me honest.

    JVH



 

Article Abstract from January, 2013




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