New Year, New Articles and a New PictureI t's a new year -- thank the lord. One of the great things about life is that everything is cyclical. Just as spring follows winter, good times follow bad. We had a rough ride in 2001, what with war and financial stress, but the pendulum has already begun to swing back.
The market has begun to rebound. Financial numbers are looking optimistic, and the horror of war and terrorism seems to be in hand (as I write this in mid-December). I know it's too soon to make any definite statements, but from where I sit, things definitely are looking up.
Now a silly...
A functionary in a parking department at a college in Colorado (vague enough for you) was downsized a few years ago. That means she was fired from her job because they didn't have the money to pay her. The college then rehired her to work in their police department.
She proceeded to sue the college because, of course, she assumed she was fired due to her gender. Naturally she won her suit -- it went all the way to the state Supreme Court -- and is being reinstated. Here's the rub.
The job in parking paid $67,000 a year; the job at the police department paid $75,000 a year. The school is now trying to determine if, with projected pay increases, she would have made more had she kept her original job.
If they determine that she netted more as a cop than a parking person, will she have to give the difference back? Right....
There is a lot of news in January's Parking Today. San Francisco is going to start fining parking operators if they don't install the proper revenue control equipment, more information about how 9/11 affected parking operators around the country, some PR about the U of W and its U-pass program, and some tidbits from around the country on everything from security to lawsuits, from garage purchases to meter feeders.
Brian Scoggins of the Florida Parking Association called me to task last month. He noted that I gave a lot of ink to the Canadians, Brits, Mid-Atlantics, Carolinians, Virginians and Georgians, and was concerned that his Florida buddies were getting the short end of the stick.
I told him that we could only get so many places at the same time. I repeated my drumbeat that regional associations hold their meetings basically at the same time (that hellish eight-week period from mid-September to mid-November) and that the vendors, suppliers and speakers can only be so many places at once.
In October, we ran an article showing just how cluttered the parking event calendar was in the fall. With color graphics we depicted 19 parking events in 10 weeks. It was a rehash of the article we run every year. Our suggestion: Do what Georgia, Carolinas, MAPA and Virginia do and combine the regional events. It makes a lot of sense, saves time and money, and means a better event for everyone. One might also consider a winter meeting or a spring meeting. Texas has a most successful event in March, and Ohio in late May.
At the least, let PT know about your event as soon as you know the dates -- then we can put it on our calendar and other planners will know what's going on when they plan their events. Just drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will do the rest.
As for the reporting on the event, I asked Brian to send me some info on their event. See the results on Page 32.
Someone asked me if I write anything any more beside this bit of fluff, and in fact I do. So from now on, in the interest of full disclosure, I will be putting my byline on articles I write, whether opinion or news. I will tell you that virtually all the ideas for articles in PT come from you, either by phone, fax or e-mail. Keep 'em coming -- I can use the help.
This is our revenue control issue and as you may remember, I come from a revenue control background. Usually in these issues I drone on and on about the problems with systems not doing what their makers say they will do or the responsibility of the buyers to understand what they are buying and then use the equipment once they have it.
This year I didn't write anything. I was honored to have some great help from Bruno Godin at Traf-Park and Blake Laufer of T-2 Systems. Their pieces on systems design and on monthly card controls were right on, even if they were from a different direction than I usually take (they were nicer). Read 'em and learn a lot.
I was particularly impressed with Bruno's command of English. With his being a Quebecer and all, I didn't know what to expect. I know his spoken English is perfect, but you never know when someone sits down to write. As usual, those from other countries and languages typically embarrass us Americans. Bruno is one of them. Thanks, guys.
A last bit on Robert Milner's parable on hunting for the diamonds. Take the time to read it. Its truth is universal.
We are trying something new with this issue. In concert with Barbara Chance's organization, we are putting forth a revenue control survey. (See Page 27) We ask that you fill it out and fax it back. It will take only a few minutes. We will total the answers, and present the results at the Parking Industry Exhibition in April, plus a summary in April's PT. You can also fill out the forms online at either PT's or Chance Management Advisors' Web site.