Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • “I see the benefits of disincentivizing driving,” Gaus said. “But making it a complete pain in the neck for me to have a car is not the way to go.”

    Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

    Making it a complete pain is how you dis-incentivize driving. If dude’s ONLY driving because he has no good place to park it during the day, and if he was into getting around the city by bike and transit before, it seems like its time for him to switch to car-share. Could it be any simpler?


  • The nanny thing is simple. Anyone getting a residential parking permit for their nanny must show proof of the Nanny’s income to the city by showing the city the IRS tax documentation of payment to the nanny.

    Suddenly a lot less people would want residential permits for their nannies. The cost of renting a parking space is substantially less than the discount in salary payments acquired by paying the nanny under the table. If the nanny is paying the taxes, fine – you can have a permit.

  • not a gator

    Well, I can’t post on the SF Examiner article, but I think I can clear up the mystery:


    Guess which step the driver forgot? Betcha the operator and the mechanic were using the front door interlock as a brake. One more reason front door interlocks are STUPID.

  • The Examiner article about parking… it said that he has the option of parking six blocks away. Somehow this isn’t good enough?

  • Morton


    I realize you may have just been joking but I doubt that you can make a federal documentation requirement the criterion for providing a local parking permit.

    Plus there are privacy rules for tax documents. They often cannot be subpoena’ed even in a civil lawsuit unless it’s a tax case.

    Moreover, such documents are typically produced in the year following the employment, while of course the permit is needed in order to start working.

    And it’s not hard to fake a 1099.

    The city already gives residents’ parking permits to various classes of employee anyway e.g. schoolteachers. So this isn’t really a new idea.


    I think the point of the article is that the parking rules compel people to drive when they would prefer not i.e. the exact anthithesis of what you’d want for a transit-first city.

    You see a perfect example of this every street cleaning day when people drive around looking for an unaffected spot, run errands that could perfectly easily do by foot, loop endlessly around the block or – worst of all – sit in their car on the sidewalk with the engine running, waiting for the truck to pass through.

    I know a number of people who make pointless car journeys to fit in and around the often idiosyncratic and arbitrary parking rules. And if meters and limits were extended to evenings and week-ends, there would even more cases of people driving around just for the sake of it.

    Strange rules beget strange behaviors.

  • What a fool I am. While refinancing my home, BofA asked for my 2008 and 2009 tax returns. Had I been consulting with Morton Inc. I would have told them to SCREW OFF. better yet, I would have faked them!

  • Morton


    Last time I checked, a mortgage bank is not a branch of municipal government.

    Last time I applied for a mortgage, they asked only for a copy of the front page of my 1040, and I could redact certain information for privacy reasons.

    Asking for a document that typically wouldn’t be produced until the year AFTER employment starts is ridiculous.

    A letter or affidavit of employment is far more simple, effective and respectful of privacy issues.

  • Give them the permit. If the next year they can’t produce the 1099, fraud. Proposed punishment – revocation of ALL permits for that household. QED.

  • Morton


    The City can reasonably ask for proof of the employment. They can’t reasonably ask for specific, private, federal tax information.

    There is no circumstance I know of where I am required to inform the City of my income. It’s possible that it might be required for some eligibility for city-run welfare benefits. But the provision of resident’s parking permnits is not welfare – they are issued at cost. So there is no legitimate need for income information – the benefit is not means tested.

    Reasonably proof-of-employment might be an offer letter, a contract of employment (with numbers and private information redacted) or an affidavit attesting to employment.

    I think your concern here is really the failure of those who employ nannies to pay tax. That might be a legitimate concern but it is not a legitimate City concern. It’s a Federal matter.

  • Here’s a better plan. Eliminate residential permits altogether. Problem solved.

  • thielges

    Morton – Do you really think that parking permits are issued “at cost” ? Methinks that thirty cents a day is a little below the market rate for parking.

  • Morton


    Sorry, what I meant is that it is City policy that resident’s poarking permits are issued “at cost”, meaning the administrative cost to the City of providing them.

    In other words, it’s not an explicit revenue source for the City.

    What the “market value” of a street parking spot is is another question. Obviously that would depend where it was. But the more valuable spots are of course metered, and a resident’s permit doesn’t let you off feeding the meter!

    Also note that a resident’s permit does not guarantee you an actual parking spot. The City does not, AFAIK, restrict the number of permits in an area to the number of avaialable street parking places. All current revenues from parking are paid in return for an actual parking spot – not the possibility of one!

    Resident’s permits primarily exist to stop out-of-town commuters from driving into our residential areas, parking and taking Muni into downtown. As such, they discourage driving and so should not be discouraged.

  • As such, they discourage driving.

    We were just told that nannies need these because it enables them to drive the kids all over the place. I’m confused.

  • Morton


    “We were just told that nannies need these because it enables them to drive the kids all over the place. I’m confused.”

    I think you may be deliberately misunderstanding here. But just in case . .

    My comment about resident’s parking permits discouraging driving was that their existence discourages out-of-towm commuters from driving into our residential neighborhoods, filling our streets with their cars, and then taking a bus or streetcar into downtown.

    Clearly we’d make a distinction between that and the case here, which is providing parking to people who work in residential areas’s and perform an important job.

    It’s the same reasoning why we give residential parking permits to schoolteachers who teach in schools in our residential neighborhoods.

    Two very different issues. People who live and work in, say, Noe Valley, should have parking priority over those who drive up 280, park outside your house and then jump on the J.

  • EL

    I call BS to Mr. Gaus (in his case – lawyer-to-be BS) in the Examiner article on residential parking. The article never explains why he was “initially ineligible” for a new sticker after he moved from Haight to the Inner Sunset, hence FORCING him to use his car since he has to move it anyways.

  • @EL – he probably still had his car registered in some (cheaper to register and insure) state 😉

    @Morton – those who drive up 280, park outside your house and then jump on the J.

    I was told by a very smart person that nobody rides the J.

  • Alai

    he probably still had his car registered in some (cheaper to register and insure) state – Well, apparently he had one in the Haight, so it can’t be that.

    That was a frustrating article, though. It offers no reason why he doesn’t take the obvious solution– ditching the car. At least tell us that he visits his granny in Novato every other day, or something.