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5,000 Parkers, Politics, Postcards, the Weather, and Golf

John Van Horn

I am writing this in August. It's the summer doldrums. Everyone is either on vacation or should be. However in the parking world there are a few things happening. A story, which has been brewing for a decade, finally made the headlines when five garages in Co-op City in New York were closed and over 5,000 parkers were put out on the city's streets.
The reason: bureaucracy and bad planning. As we told you last month, concrete is not forever and it needs to be maintained. Nearly 40 years without maintenance and guess what, the garages were declared unsafe. The story is too detailed to repeat here. See our take elsewhere in this month's Parking Today.
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My wife and I have an interest in a condo association in Southern California. The existing board is being recalled (this seems to be the season for recall in California) and as you could imagine, yours truly couldn't sit on the sidelines. I was acting as advisor to the leader of the opposition, then discovered that he had feet of clay. He will be elected to the new board (yes, this recall will succeed) and that's fine. He will probably do a good job. However I decided he needed someone on the board to balance him, so I, too, am running.
I found out the other day that he is not supporting me for the office. Politics. Wow. It's a tough game, even at the local condo association. Although I am continuing my campaign, by the time you read this I will probably be licking my wounds with Al Gore.
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"Postcards from the Lot." That's the title of the new column we are starting this month. We got this "postcard" from the manager of parking for a small city. It gave us the idea of having a monthly column. Got a postcard? Send it in. We'll print it, with or without your name.
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Every year about this time I usually comment on the weather here in L.A. Seems that as the weather goes, so do the fortunes of the parking operators that run the lots along the beaches from Malibu to San Clemente. If it's hot, business is good, if it's cool and overcast, well....
This year is strange. We have had a cool summer, but it has been unusually humid. I didn't hear the foghorn from the entrance to Marina Del Rey on Independence Day so that should mean that business should be good. But those high clouds do keep the temperature and beach business down.
You folks in the snow belt lose money when your lots fill with snow; we out here in La La Land are done in by cool and foggy weather.
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Shuttles and buses are the main topic of this issue. It will be of interest to cities, airports, hotels, off airport parking operations, colleges and universities, and some businesses that ferry their folks around.
A bit of input on shuttle design. Remember the article on Stan Cramer a few months ago? He had his shuttles designed with an extremely large area, accessible from the rear, for baggage. This required the van driver to go out and help each customer with their bags.
Two wins. The customers don't have to schlep the bags on and off the shuttle, and the drivers are set up for potential tips.
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Golf, they say, is a metaphor for life. Well, I'm just taking up the game, having played for about two years. And frankly I'm bad, but I love it. (My group came in last in the IPI tournament this year. Sheila and I ducked out early so we wouldn't have our pictures taken receiving the "duffer" award, but they printed our names anyway.)
The interesting thing about the game is you can tell more about a person's character playing golf than in most other activities.
First, if they take the game very seriously and get angry when they screw up, they are competitive and unable to take personal responsibility for their actions. If they laugh at their mistakes, they are out for fun, not for winning.
Second, if they cheat, then you wonder if they cheat at other things in their personal life or in business. After all, if they shave a few strokes here and there, and "adjust" their lie from time to time, are they really playing the game, or are they toying with themselves?
Third, do they know and follow the etiquette of the game. I don't mind playing with golfers who play like me, as long as they don't hold up the game and focus on what they are doing. Duffers who spend more time than Tiger Woods lining up a shot that will give them a 10 for the hole are only fooling themselves.
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Finally a word for you spouses who always ask, "How was your game?" As commentator Paul Harvey pointed out: "Check out the cuffs, socks, and shoes of the golfer. If they are filled with sand and burrs, then please don't ask."
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Just got a missive from former Kinney honcho Dan Stark. He sent a link to a quotation page (www.quotationpage.com). Featured was this one: "Never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you."


Article Abstract from September, 2003




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