Surprising Stuff

Article written by Terry O’Neill, former Lake Geneva Alderperson and city activist and GSR reporter.

Although freedom hangs in the balance between control and chaos, governments selectively shift that freedom to increase it for some, at the expense of others. With too little control, freedom becomes chaos. Too much control, and freedom becomes slavery. But within those limits, laws and regulations move the balance point of freedom to the right or to the left, to enable some to benefit from the labor of others, or to benefit at the expense of others.

How one sees the benefits of one’s labor being transferred to others is the fundamental difference in the view of Republicans and Democrats. The issue is about how the benefits of one’s labor are divided and to whom they should go. How much should go to the one who did the work, how much should go to the company or people that enabled the worker to do the work and how much should go to the government? Laws are enacted to benefit and limit all of these, but the real issue is that virtually all laws subtly benefit some at the expense of others. Before enacting changes one needs to carefully consider those who will be adversely effected, and not just those who will benefit from the change.

The city thinks it needs more revenue and it is looking at increasing parking revenue as a solution. Whether or not the city should focus on increasing revenue or on cutting expenses is another issue, but increasing parking revenue will selectively benefit some and adversely affect others. As a starting point in our country, money provides our freedom to go places, do things and to buy products or services, and since most people have a limited supply of money, the more things costs, the less freedom they have to do them. Increasing parking revenue benefits the city, and therefore it also benefits the residents of the city, but it adversely affects those paying the meters and the businesses that they frequent.

There are many ways to net an increase in parking revenue, but each method determines who will be adversely affected:

  1. Increasing the parking rate per hour affects all tourists, visitor and downtown businesses.
  2. Selectively increasing the rate of the preferred parking spots affects businesses in that area, especially during slower times.
  3. Increasing the hours of paid parking affects businesses that open before 9 am or stay open after 7 pm and their patrons.
  4. Increasing the number of days of paid parking affects business revenue during off peak times of the year and their patrons
  5. Increasing the number of paid parking stalls costs extra, or reduces the free parking for workers
  6. Eliminating free parking for residents (don’t even think about it)
  7. Automating parking enforcement to reduce labor would cause some city workers to lose their jobs.

No matter how net parking revenue will be increased, it will adversely affect some people and businesses more than others. The only difference is who, and what businesses will be harmed to obtain the increase in parking revenue. If you or your business will be adversely effected by an increase in parking revenue, then you might want to follow the issue as it goes to the city council, and voice your opinion when it comes up on the agenda.

Cartoon by Terry O'Neill Lake Geneva

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