It’s summer in Long Beach and everyone in the city is dealing with parking problems; unless you are a local real estate agent in the city. That is because a recently obtained secret email reveals that the new city administration, made up of real estate interests, recently permitted real estate agents to break the law by allowing them to park in all “no parking” zones while the rest of us are forced to search endlessly for any legal parking spot.
According to a recent order that was emailed to the entire Long Beach Police Department, “Realtors have been given permission to park in No Parking Zones provided they have their flashes on, and have a business card in dash...”
Why would the city allow a certain group of people to violate the law while the rest of us search endlessly for a legal spot, especially during the height of summer when everyone in Long Beach is struggling to find parking for their vehicle? Maybe it is because strong real estate interests have gained control and/or influence in City Hall:
- City Council Member Fran Adelson is a real estate agent for Prudential. Adelson and her colleagues have an office in the crowded downtown section of town but can now park in any “No Parking Zone” of their choice!
- Long Beach Democrat Chairman Mike Zapson is also a real estate attorney and his office is in the downtown section of town. Realtors visiting his office now have special parking spots in downtown!
- City Council President Scott Mandel is an attorney who “specializes in real estate” matters. Certain clients of his can now park in “No Parking Zones” while the rest of us struggle to find a legal spot.
This new policy means that Fran Adelson can park wherever she wants in our downtown. In addition, clients of Mandell and Zapson who are conducting real estate business can do the same. Whenever any realtor is showing a property to a prospective buyer they now have special “valet service” allowing them to park anywhere they wish, thus giving the buyer the impression that parking is more readily available than it really is. Under this new police policy friends of Fran Adelson, Scott Mandel and Mike Zapson can park anywhere they want to pick up Pizza at Gino’s, go shopping, visit an office, get a haircut while the rest of us circle the block over and over again waiting patiently for a legal spot to open becuase no where in the policy does it state that the realtor must be engaged in regular buinsess. Therefore while residents of the West End, East End, Shore Road and Broadway circle around their block, sometimes for more than an hour, searching for a legal spot, others have special privileges.
This is simply an unprecedented move. It’s outrageous and it's illegal. What legal authority do they have to waive the law for a specific segment of the population? Why does this only apply to real estate agents and brokers? Most importantly what about our residents, the elderly, handicapped, and sick? What about delivery staff for other city businesses? What is the reason for having “No Parking Zones” in the first place if certain politically influential people have permission to break the law while the rest of us have to park legally?
How was it done without any public hearing? What happened to the transparency in government Adelson, Mandel, and Torres promised us? Why was this done behind closed doors? What special group of people will be next to get special privileges?
But here is the biggest question: what is the city doing right now or in the past seven months to improve the parking problems for residents in the city, especially after all the campaign promises they made? While they do nothing to help residents, this policy shows that they are moving aggressively to solve the parking problems for relators!
Was the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce advised of this new policy, and if so what was their response? Why aren't they fighting like this for other city businesses or fighting for other businesses who may be hurt by this policy? Under this new policy, while a police officer writes you a ticket they may very well be legally ignoring the realtor parked next to you parked in a “No Parking Zone”
The irony of this outrageous act is that Zapson, Adelson, Mandell and their supporters openly criticized the prior administration, supposedly giving “Friends and Family” special considerations in the city and they made specific campaign promises to make sure these political practices ended on January 1. Now only seven months later they have hired nearly 20 friends and family to city hall positions at a taxpayer cost of over $1.3 million and raised our taxes to pay for them, and now they have officially permitted other friends and family to break the law while the rest of us obediently and patiently obey it.
The City Council should immediately order the city manager to repeal this order. In addition, the city council should hold a public hearing into this matter to determine who asked for this special privilege and why it was allowed. Finally, the person responsible should be reprimanded appropriately. But none of this will happen.
If the City Council is going to force us to pay more in taxes to pay for their wasteful spending, the least they should do is give all taxpayers the equal treatment under the law and the same access to parking as their politically connected friends have.