Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Duke of Westwood

John Kerry. Al Gore. George Bush I. Jimmy Carter. You probably have have heard from these presidential runners-up recently. Some of you may even have a vague notion of what Walter Mondale and Bob Dole have been doing with their free time. Michael Dukakis is a different story.

On the night Dukakis lost the 1988 election, I echoed the chants of the audience at his concession speech by defiantly scrawling a block-letter " '92 " in pencil on the wall in my bedroom (where it still visible). But it was not to be. Dukakis did not run again, and few, outside of Massachusetts or the community of Amtrak aficionados, would ever hear from him again.

Until now. Dukakis is capping off his post-candidacy political "career" by sparring with spoiled UCLA undergrads over so-called apron parking in North Westwood Village (a college town apparently designed by 16-year olds). Apron parking, which is illegal in California, basically works like this: landlords sell tenants the right to park their cars in front of their apartments with their noses in the driveway and their butts in the street. This creates a ridiculous situation in which landlords are renting out land they don't own for illegal uses and in the process encouraging driving and creating hazards for disabled residents and pedestrians. But the police have not enforced the law out of fear of inconveniencing those students who can't be bothered to walk, bike or ride the bus the mile or so to campus.

Some students, like those on the editorial board of the Daily Bruin, say things should stay this way, because, well, no good reason, but we really want to be able to keep our cars wherever we want. Maybe it is unfair to students who are in the middle of their lease terms and are unlikely to get a rent abatement from their landlords. But that's a problem between the students and the landlords, not a reason to ignore the law and dedicate every possible square inch of Los Angeles to parking spaces. It shouldn't take a former presidential candidate to explain that.


erik said...

Well argued.

blokeface said...

you were a democratic before the age of 10? Get a life.