Someone Disagrees with My Post on Electric Vehicles

I published this post in PT last month and got this response:

You invited our comments and said you will try to print them.  Here’s mine.

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 EV’s 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 column is just filled with the half-truths, incorrect “facts”, and obsolete arguments that Fox News is so famous for spreading.  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 EV’s, that’s a work in progress.  The few current models can travel three to four times the distance of the EV’s 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 EV’s.  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 to the old, cheap to produce lead-acid cells.

As the 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 carrier 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 upon whom your publication is focused.  There is plenty to be proud of out there!

Sincerely,

Jay S. Oarsman

Retired, Parking Systems Coordinator,

City of Los Angeles, Department of Transportation

 

And my response:

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.  EV’s don’t.  Yes, they are a work in progress and at a time when the government is spending a billion a day more than its 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, Hmmmmm.  I have run many articles, some written by public sector employees, that laud this advances they have made. I featured Santa Monica and its new technology based on street program just few months ago. Colleges do a great job – and Texas A and M was on the cover in September.  However, I guess when we take a look at things that are really REALLY iffy – like SF Park, 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 its 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 its laudable. The projects you list are top of the line. And we are better because of them. But there are some areas that still need attention like the horrible enforcement and illegal use issues of disabled permits and the simple fact that only about 10-15 percent of all parking citations that should be written are. 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.

I will run your letter on my blog (the article you read originally started there) and also in the January issue of PT.  The timing of magazines being what they are, it takes a month to get them printed so we are always a month behind.

Thanks for reading, and for the compliments.  And keep your letters coming – those that agree do me no good. Those that disagree keep me honest.

All the best

JVH

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