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Michael Dukaka needs to get a life

What do you do when you suffer a deeply humiliating loss in a presidential election? Most people seem to take some time to reflect, brush off their shoulders, and then get back to the causes they were passionate about before their loss. For Michael “the Tank” Dukakis, reflection time was 18 years and his passionate cause is to punish UCLA students for crowding up the public roadways with all their horseless carriages. According to the Duke, the common, careful Westwood practice of driveway parking is not only extremely unsafe, but also violates a federal disabilities act. So he’s throwing his considerable and extensive weight behind the issue to lobby the city to start relentlessly ticketing students who commit this heinous act. Thank goodness someone is finally working to clear out those god-awful tiny streets! It’s hard enough maneuvering through crowded L.A. boulevards, but, heck, when was the last time you tried squeezing a Cutlass Supreme through the jam-packed Westwood roads? It’s about time someone stood up for the driving-impaired! Why, surely such a noble stand must presage a full-blown publicity campaign. Dukakis in 2008? Cross your fingers!

Gimme a freakin’ break. I’ve lived in Westwood for 7 years and witnessed in depth the culture of parking there. Parking spaces are precious and extremely few, and existing restrictions are frustrating enough. Even with the driveway parking, on numerous occasions I’ve searched for parking for 15-30 minutes. As a student, I’d rather spend my time studying. (Well maybe not me personally, but I’m speaking on behalf of the student population.) Students recognize the risks of driveway parking, (obstruction of street traffic and obstruction of the sidewalk) and the vast majority respect them. I would say that 19 out of 20 cars parked on driveways are compact or midsize, and are positioned such that they do not use any more street space than that used in normal curbside parking. Occasionally there’s some huge honking extended-cab extended-bed monster truck that juts into the street; that’s annoying, and those should be cited. But that is an exception and does not justify eradicating driveway parking. Regarding obstructing the sidewalk, it is widely known and accepted amongst students that you will be ticketed if your parked car prevents a wheelchair form passing by on the sidewalk. Seems fair to me. And I fully sympathize with the plight of blind people, but tank-commander Dukaka needs to demonstrate explicitly how the protection of the blind by the federal disabilities act is violated by cars parked on driveways and within the bounds of normal curbside street parking.

Had I cared to research him before, I might have found Dukakis to be admirable, if only for maintaining his stance on capital punishment. Capital punishment is childish and ignorant, reduces people to their lowest levels of conscience, and assumes that we fully understand the science and morality of life. (There are better ways to deal with criminals, fo real—check it.) But now I see Dukakis as a grumpy old man, out of touch with the reality of urban living, and lacking faith in a college community to respect others. Dukakis needs to quit whining and quit blaming students for reducing the comfort level of the streets below his pain threshold. Now that is annoying! Ferchrissake, are you trying to make space to drive your tank to work down those streets or something?!

Mr. Dork-kakas, find something meaningful to fight for (perhaps improved public transportation?), or shut the hell up.

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