Handicapped Parking Cheaters

15 02 2012


The Los Angeles Times recently ran a couple of articles (by Steve Lopez) regarding the abuse of the blue handicapped placards that are issued to people with qualifying disabilities.

People in California may be issued handicapped placards for many disabilities and ailments, of both the permanent and temporary kind. The problem with California’s system is that it lends itself to abuse, and in such a far-flung state like California which has several huge, dense population centers that are short on parking, unfortunately there are people who take advantage of the system.

People who are issued these blue (and sometimes red) placards are allowed to park not only in handicapped spots in parking lots, but also to park for free at City of Los Angeles meters.

Additionally, they are not held to the time constraint on the meters – 2 hours, 4 hours, 24 minutes, etc. They can park there – FOR FREE – for an UNLIMITED amount of time.

But the real kicker is that once issued, the permits are good for life without ever having to renew them or re-certify your disabled status with the DMV, doctor, or anyone.

Now there are some people who have qualifying conditions that are not obvious; people who do not need mobility assistance devices, such as wheelchairs, crutches, or canes to get around, who still need to park closer in a large parking lot. A family member of mine is a Vietnam war veteran who was injured during his service, and most days he gets around fine. Some days he uses his parking privileges, but often he doesn’t.

There are other examples like this, someone mentioned lupus and MS patients, who might also appear to be reasonably able-bodied, but for various reasons need to park closer.
And then there are people like this one woman who parks in my office garage. She routinely STEALS the ground floor handicapped spot from this other lady, who is legitimately handicapped – she uses a walker to get around, and even then has difficulty even making it from the garage to the lobby.

It makes my blood boil when I see this first woman come tearing into the garage, swing into that spot near the front, tires screeching loudly on the polished concrete, music blasting. The driver’s side door flies open and she pops right out – ON HUGE HIGH HEELED SHOES – spins, opens the door to the backseat, and dives into the seat to retrieve her purse which had shifted to the other side. She then hustled into the lobby, not quite running but almost, to catch the elevator upstairs. One day. As I witnessed this, the other, actually disabled lady slowly drives by and looks wistfully at the taken spot, and drives on upstairs in search on another spot.

It makes me sick, it really does. As far as I have ever been able to tell, this other woman is perfectly healthy (and fairly young). The only thing wrong with her, health-wise, is that she is obese.  And not that obese, relatively speaking.

I think that any doctor who hands out disabled parking passes to fat-asses ought to be censored by the state and national medical boards. There already isn’t enough parking for legitimately disabled people in California without people like this woman at my office. To issue them to the obese seems like a crime to me – a crime against the legitimately disabled.

I will try to sneak a picture of this woman running or carrying heavy things from her car to the lobby, and will send it in to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

The “99-cent Taco” of City Street Repair

9 01 2012

As if affirmation were required, the New York Times of all places is offering more evidence that Los Angeles has some of the worst roads in civilized America.

The NY Times’ article is just another in a long series of [totally justified] media bashing of our sad city streets. But the real gem in this article is definitely buried all the way at the end, where Nazario Sauceda, the interim director of street services, is quoted as saying that the smaller, less-expensive projects tend to take priority over larger ones. His analogy is awesome:

“If I gave you $20 to eat for the next 20 days, would you go to Black Angus for one night or would you buy 99-cent tacos?”

Clearly Mr. Sauceda hasn’t been out to Black Angus in quite some time, because $20 isn’t going to buy you the kind of meal that I personally go to Black Angus for.

Following are a few snapshots from the streets directly around the offices of RttRL, taken at lunch today. And these aren’t even the worst places! It was too busy to get a shot of those.

If you hit some of these on a motorcycle, you’d have a wreck for sure. I’d be wary of that, if I were the City Attorney.