The million-dollar parking meters are driving away customers, downtown Ventura merchants told city officials Wednesday.
In an emotional two-hour meeting led by Mayor Bill Fulton, a dozen downtown business owners shared personal woes of double-digit sales declines since the meters were turned on Sept. 14. Customers don't like the meters, have struggled to use them and complain they change the welcoming character of downtown, the owners said.
Some suggested a moratorium on the meters that would last well past the Christmas shopping season, but Mayor Fulton indicated that was unlikely.
Tea Party people also attended the meeting as a part of a nascent program to act as watchdogs at the city and county government level. Organizers are recruiting Tea Party Observers, as they are called, to regularly attend all manner of public meetings to document any policies local governments might enact that are deemed undesirable.
I hope Tea Party groups in other states and counties follow suit, as this is exactly what they should be doing. Until now, Tea Parties consist of local people attempting to change federal policy, which they did with flying colors. Now, they are beginning to focus that energy on the local level, which previously flew underneath their radar. They have the capability to greatly impact public policy in a positive way with this new plan.