God rides the bus


By Tim Redmond

Or maybe he takes his bike -- but he doesn't park in the median

Sarah Phelan interviewed Nat Ford, the head of Muni, for her story on the Muni budget that will appear in Wednesday's Guardian. I have to offer a sneak preview of one of his comments.

Confirming that the agency dropped a $9 million a year proposal to extend meter hours citywide after receiving input from merchants, Ford said, “We’ll clearly have to revisit parking. We’ll be looking at how to administer extended meter hours and how that impacts churches if we do it Sundays. But we are sitting here with a structural deficit that’s been going on for decades. We need to figure out the revenue streams we need to enhance the system.”

Wait, wait, wait.

The impact on churches?

Mr. Ford, let me clue you in on something. In San Francisco, particularly in the Mission, nobody every parks at a meter to go to church on Sunday. They park in the middle of the goddam street.

This is illegal. There are no permits required. The cops just look the other way.

And, as I pointed out when I last wrote about it:

Nobody else gets to do this.

If you go to see the (secular) Mime Troupe in Dolores Park and you stick your car in the middle of the street, you get a ticket. If you drink at a (secular) bar or eat at a (secular) restaurant and you leave your car in the Valencia Street median, you get cited. You can't double park while you run in for a (secular) cup of coffee at Muddy Waters.

You can't even do it when you go to yoga, which for a lot of people is a spiritual experience.

You want some money, Nat? Make the damn churches pay a fee for the damn free parking they get. I'm sorry: If you don't want to pay for parking, you can ride the bus to church. Or walk. Or ride your bike. That's what Jesus would do. Right?



Amen, Tim. I live in The Mission and I get sick of having to take evasive action when driving or bicycling down Guerrero St. I've often had the same thought: why do these tax-exempt social clubs get to flout the law? Does the Church of Satan get a similar plenary indulgence? WTF?

With increased and often arbitrary/unfair enforcement by the DPT of our city's parking ordinances, along with the SFPD's targeting of motorcycles and others they happen to dislike, why do the churches get a free pass?

If you really care about Jesus(TM) you'll follow his example and walk to church. Maybe not on water...we have sidewalks for that.

Posted by Joe on Jun. 02, 2009 @ 4:08 am

Geez Tim!

Next you'll want to tax the Mormons for spending tax free money to lobby for discrimination in California.

Just an aside but I used to live across from the DMV office on Fell and Willie Brown gave churches in the area the keys to the parking lot (State property) for Sunday parking. Don't know if they still do it.


Posted by hbrown on Jun. 02, 2009 @ 6:55 am

It's particularly annoying because it's illegal, and everyone knows that. The churches don't have permits or anything; the cops know it's illegal, but look the other way.

If we're going to use the street medians for parking lots, then let's open them to everyone.

Posted by Tim Redmond on Jun. 02, 2009 @ 10:26 am

The DMV lot used to not have a gate, and neighbors and parishoners alike parked there. Then the DMV put up a gate. Here's an old Guardian article about it: http://www.sfbg.com/37/11/news_dmvlot.html

Posted by Larrybob on Jun. 02, 2009 @ 7:07 pm