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Opinion: August 15, 2018

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

Whenever young people ask me if they need to go to grad school in journalism to pursue a career as a reporter, I say no. It’s not that I have anything against J-School; I’m definitely not one of the “Journalism school is a scam” conspiracy theorists. For instance, my hope for every college undergrad interested in this field is that they can take enough writing and “Journalism 101” type courses to build a solid foundation for their future, and hopefully connect to at least one great mentor. And I know several fantastic journalists who have taken their education further, getting high-level degrees and going on to do great work as reporters and editors. My only concern with years and years of J-Schooling (besides the economics) is that sooner or later, you have to take the leap into the real world, and I think there’s sometimes a disconnect between what’s being taught in classrooms and what we’re doing out here.

I think artists have it even worse. At least journalism is understood to be a business—it seems like artists are constantly being told that to admit they need a business plan amounts to selling their soul. That’s why this week’s cover story from Wallace Baine about UCSC’s Dean of the Arts Division Susan Solt is so interesting to me. Can great artists also be trained to be great businesspeople? And do university art programs have a responsibility to do so? Solt’s answers to these questions definitely defy conventional wisdom, and the story is an interesting look at how the philosophy at UCSC is evolving.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Demand Parking Reform

“A parking space in a structure takes up about 350 square feet [counting ramps]. A decent studio apartment can also be carved out in 350 square feet. How is it that we have a culture in which we have somehow created ample free [or low cost] housing for automobiles and really, really expensive housing for humans?”

The man who made this statement on a recent podcast is Patrick Siegman, an urban planning consultant who has worked with cities to reform parking policies since the 1990s. In 2016, Patrick was the staff member of NelsonNygaard tasked with developing a Downtown Parking Strategic Plan for the City of Santa Cruz. The plan was supposed to be completed in January 2017. I speculate that the reason the plan was never developed has something to do with the library-garage plan that city staff proposed in late 2016. It may be inconvenient for the city to hear from a consultant who says in the podcast, “Parking is one of those things that is so badly in need of reform. There is so much waste.”

Another staff person at NelsonNygaard told the City Downtown Commission in 2015, “Looking at the city’s parking code, I can hazard a guess that maybe it might have been put in place in the 1960s.”

Based on city parking policy that outside experts say is badly in need of reform, city staff are projecting a parking deficit in the future. Staff say this deficit justifies investing $45 million on a 600-space parking structure. We say reform the parking policy before considering a huge investment.

We’ve asked the City to acknowledge that the demand for parking in the future is highly uncertain. Already, ride-service companies have made big dents in parking demand in many cities. And automated vehicles could reduce parking demand by 85 percent, according to modeling by Kara Kockelman at the University of Texas.

We’ve proposed that instead of building a huge new parking structure, the city’s Downtown Parking District build one level of parking on its existing surface parking lots. This could provide a low-cost platform for nonprofit housing developers to construct housing above for the people who work in the restaurants and stores downtown. This could be done at the lot next to Calvary Church. It could be done on the lot next to the library, allowing the library to expand its second story with housing above. Or one level of parking could be built below a two-story library on the north end of the lot where the Farmers Market currently meets, allowing most of the lot to continue to be used as an event space.

In order for any of these ideas to have traction, we need to give the city a strong message that a 600-space garage is unacceptable. The City Council will take up the library-garage plan at its meeting on Aug. 28.

Rick Longinotti | Campaign for Sustainable Transportation

CORRECTION

In last week’s news story “Team Building,” we misspelled Cathy Sarto’s last name and misstated Tom Campbell’s former title. Campbell is a former member of Congress. We regret the errors.

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