Meredith Turney

Just when you thought environmental extremists couldn’t go any further, they surprise you with yet another ploy in their never-ending quest to turn back modernity. With the public push-back on the cap-and-trade scheme and creating man-made droughts to save a 2-inch fish, environmentalists have become craftier in their efforts. Always the vanguard of the latest environmental regulation, California has a new idea for getting polluters out of their cars: get rid of free parking.

Last week the State Senate passed Senate Bill 518, legislation that would incentivize local governments to begin abolishing free parking spaces within their jurisdictions. The goal of the legislation is to make it so difficult for drivers to find parking that they abandon their vehicles in favor of earth-friendly public transportation or more quaint forms of conveyance such as biking or walking. According to the author of Senate Bill 518, “‘free’ parking has significant social, economic, and environmental costs.”

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A popular tactic of progressives is to make a cultural habit they despise so unpopular that the public will willingly go along with their schemes. Another tactic is to withhold or dole out funding for local governments in exchange for conformity to new regulations. Senate Bill 518 attempts to employ both tactics.

First, the bill would require building leases to itemize how much parking spaces will cost on the leased property. This “unbundling” is designed to show the lessee how much money they lose on providing free parking.

Second, the bill creates a new point scheme for local government to encourage their cooperation in getting rid of parking spaces. For every “reform” they implement, they receive a point. If 20 reforms are implemented, the city or county is eligible to receive a cap-and-trade credit under the state’s Assembly Bill 32 global warming laws. If 50 reforms are implemented, the local government will receive a 5% bonus in competitive state infrastructure programs.

No surprise, the author of this brilliant measure is Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), the same legislator who two years ago tried to make it easier for communists to teach in public schools. If his portfolio of legislation is any measure, Lowenthal is an ardent devotee of progressivism. In fact, Senate Bill 518 is just one of several bills Lowenthal has introduced to further regulate private transportation.

Meredith Turney

Meredith Turney is a conservative political commentator, writer and new media consultant.More of her work can be found at