More parking

If you want to learn the history of the proposed parking garage, go to the city of Chico Web site (, click on Minutes and Agendas and from there go to Parking Place Commission. Here you get the Cliffs Notes version of this five-member commission’s meetings. Besides the evolution of the big garage, you’ll learn that the city on average hands out 900 parking tickets a week. Also, at the January 2004 meeting, Commissioner Don Kidd made the observation that the parking enforcement officer was not chalking tires to make sure cars weren’t overstaying their welcome at the two-hour parking spots. Commissioner Barbi Boeger suggested that the Downtown Chico Business Association get the parking enforcer’s cell phone number and give to all the downtown business owners so they could report parking meter violations. (Why not just give all the downtown business owners pieces of chalk?) Kidd also wanted “No Loitering” signs posted at the Wall and Second streets parking lot, future site of the parking garage. Who loiters in a parking lot, other than Deep Throat?

At the Oct. 15, 2003, meeting, the consultants from Omni Means, the company hired to determine whether the city needs a parking structure, suggested monitoring parking in the downtown area over the next three to five years to determine actual future needs. Let’s see, that would have meant keeping an eye on things until as late as 2008 before making a determination. Instead the commission voted right there and then to recommend to the City Council that a four-level structure be built at this time. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Thanks to everyone who sent in a photo (or 50) for the contest we are highlighting this week. I’m telling you, that photo of Crowley is one of my all-time favorites. You just want to scratch that guy behind the ears. I wanted to submit my own photo but was told I was forbidden from doing so, something about conflict of interest. I might be biased toward my own entry, apparently. Here’s the photo I wanted to enter. I call it “Flowery slippers abandoned in a field of grass.” To me, as all good art should, the work raises more questions than it answers. What happened to the slippers’ owner? Were the slippers arranged in this pattern, or is this where he or she left them after slipping out of them and wandering away? Is there any gestalt at work here? (I remember that photo-related word from the photojournalism class I took from Dr. Richard Ek a couple decades ago. But I’ll be damned if I remember what it means.) The slippers, by the way, sat undisturbed in the lot next to the News & Review for a couple weeks. I walked passed them every day on my way to work. Now they serve as my screensaver.

Watching the NBA finals this week when one of those red crawlers accompanied by an abrasive honking sound rolled across the top of the television screen warning me of a tsunami alert. I leapt from the couch and ran to the garage, grabbed a ladder and crawled with my startled cat onto the roof of my house, where I spent the rest of a restless evening waiting for the monster wave that never came.