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A Fitting Send-off - Michael Caton

I have a note to add to the farewell-to-Oakland parking post I left on my own blog some time ago. To the merchants who feel like the City of Oakland is hell-bent on destroying local businesses with draconian parking policies, I can add a personal experience that has removed me from the Oakland economy permanently.

I moved to San Diego last week to start medical school. For one day, I had the U-Haul trailer I'd rented parked in front of our building - the three story one at the corner of Broadway and Oceanview. There is a stretch of red curb there that is a) out of the way of traffic and b) always, always used by everyone moving into or out of the building.

You already know where this is going. I was riding the elevator back up to my floor, and, tired and sweating from dragging furniture out to the truck, I happened to glance down to the street out through the clear wall to see the parking enforcement vehicle pull up in front of my worldly possessions. I got off and hurtled down the stairs to the street; the parking guy couldn't have been there more than 60 seconds. "I'll move the truck. I'll move it right now," I said breathlessly.

"Sorry. Ticket's already issued." He had his little parking-fascist computer and was waiting for the ticket to print out.

"Is there any way it can turn into a warning? I can really move the truck right now." I had the keys in my hand. We were 10 feet from my car and trailer.

"No," he said, and handed me an eighty dollar ticket. He stood there waiting and watching until I'd moved the trailer.

No, I don't think I'm special, and yes the law applies to me - and I was indeed in a red zone - one that, to my knowledge, had never been enforced, and that I offered to move out of immediately. I think you can understand my frustration. And God forbid Oakland devotes resources to getting criminals off the street - one dead, one paralyzed and critical, one badly beaten in this taco stand robbery a few days after I moved - but hey, at least Oakland is safe from people with U-haul trailers. Guess what I could do in my new, safe place in San Diego? Find parking easily and unload the truck with no tickets!

Although I don't like leaving anything on negative notes, the end of this anecdote will do just that to my brief participation in the Oakland blogosphere. That said, I truly wish the best for Oakland and for its committed residents who are working hard to make it a place to be proud of. Understatement of the year: you have some challenges ahead of you.

The last words between myself and this "public servant", were: "Hey, thanks for sending me off in style." And, standing there and waiting for me to move the trailer before he would leave, he grumbled, "You're sending yourself off."

Yep, I sure am. Once I'm practicing medicine, I will certainly come back to the Bay Area. I will not come back to Oakland.
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