California

If You Need an Oblivious Defense of Municipal Money Grabs, the L.A. Times Is There for You

Certainly Santa Monica taxing park trainers is all about safety and cannot possibly be for selfish purposes, right?

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The intimidating crowds of Palisades Park

After ReasonTV's Tracy Oppenheimer and Kennedy explored Santa Monica's efforts to regulate and foist additional taxes onto fitness trainers who hold classes in their parks, our lovely, brilliant commenters here at Hit & Run were able to immediately see what was really happening. It was obviously a municipal money grab disguised as an alleged need to keep fitness buffs from overwhelming the park.

So when the Los Angeles Times editorial board easily accepts the city's argument without any sort of critical analysis, are they just being willfully ignorant or simply serving as typical Nanny State lapdogs? Or is that a false choice? Anyway, of course their editorial position is in favor of regulation:

Angelenos are resigned to grappling with gridlock on our streets. But we don't expect to encounter traffic in our parks.

Unfortunately, though, some parks have become nearly as congested as our thoroughfares. Instead of cars, we're dodging yoga mats, hand weights and the exercisers who wield them. Santa Monica's signature Palisades Park, an expanse of grass and leafy trees that runs along Ocean Avenue from Adelaide Drive to Colorado Avenue, has become a mecca for fitness boot camps, private yoga classes, weight trainers and all manner of exercise groups.

What's most amusing about this opening metaphor is the slide show accompanying the editorial, featuring trainers and classes in session in the park. The photos are all beautifully shot, and in several of them you can see plenty of lovely unused park space. The park stretches 1.5 miles long and is 26.4 acres in size. The Times notes 73 group classes take place there over a given week. That's 10 per day. Fundamentally that's not a lot of classes, though I'm going to guess they end up clumped up at certain times to accommodate work schedules of the customers and such. But even if all the classes happened at once, there's a lot of space.

Here's an infuriating paragraph:

Santa Monica may move in that direction as well; it's considering raising existing user and permit fees and limiting class sizes as well as hours of operation. After all, a trainer doing business in a well-groomed public park is reaping the benefits of a place tended by municipal workers. There is already a litany of regulations in Santa Monica governing recreational use of parks, including restrictions on hours, athletic equipment, noise levels and where a dog can be off-leash. It would not be unreasonable to add regulations on exercise classes. Among other things, no instructor should be allowed to tell other park users to move.

  • Regarding "reaping the benefits" of a public park: Many of these folks are already paying for this benefit via taxation. They are "the public." I wonder how much additional sales tax revenue Santa Monica brings in from any additional commerce these fitness buffs may engage in while they're in the area. I find it extremely unlikely these fitness buffs are costing the city any more money for park maintenance than would be paid if they weren't there, and as ReasonTV noted, the money they collect would go into the city's general fund.
  • "There are already regulations, so nobody should have a problem with more of them" is a terrible, stupid argument. Government regulation needs to serve an actual legitimate safety purpose. "Well, we're already doing this stuff," is just lazy nonsense.
  • If you need the city to tell people in a public park that you're not moving on your behalf, you are not ready to participate in adult society.

In conclusion: "Spontaneous Order." Look it up.

In the event you missed Kennedy sneaking in a workout while covering the debate, check it out:

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  1. Lovely and brilliant you say?

    I resemble those remarks.

  2. Santa Monica’s signature Palisades Park, an expanse of grass and leafy trees that runs along Ocean Avenue from Adelaide Drive to Colorado Avenue, has become a mecca for fitness boot camps, private yoga classes, weight trainers and all manner of exercise groups.

    Fucking public, cluttering up those nice public parks! How dare they?

    1. Exactly; their bizarre complaint seems to be that too many of the public are using the public parks. Fucking idiots.

      1. Actually, I think the complaint is that someone is making a buck.

        Like with food trucks.

        1. OUR CUTZ! WE NEEDZ THEM! GOLLUM, GOLLUM!!

      2. The public means everyone but you. So if you are using the park, they’re going to tell you to clear out so the public can use it.

        1. This times about a million.

          Fuck Lake Eola, Orlando’s crowning achievement. There is an entire amphitheater of seats, all roped off for special events. There are a few dozen benches, none of which can a person lie horizontally on because of some bullshit city ordinance put in place to prevent homeless people from crowding the public park so that downtown-living liberals can have their afternoon/morning jog in peace.

          God, I hate that fucking “public park”.

  3. This is really more like the local gang seeing someone making a few bucks and demanding their cut.

    The local governments sees someone making a little bit of money and instantly wonders how it can be taxed and regulated.

    1. Oh come now. The city coucil clearly has the public’s best interest at heart. This isn’t about money.

    2. The local governments sees someone making a little bit of money and instantly wonders how it can be more taxed and regulated.

      FTFY.

    3. This is really more like the local gang seeing someone making a few bucks and demanding their cut.

      Being the last word in violence gives you license to steal.

  4. It would not be unreasonable to add regulations on exercise classes.

    “Oh, look. There’s a little bit of substance there which has not yet been eaten out. Go get ’em, boys.”

  5. I will give credit for one thing at that L.A. Times link. There is a poll at the top of the article: “Is it too much of a good thing?” The choices are “Chill” and “Get off our lawn!” So maybe they’re not 100% in the tank. I’m also pleased to see “Chill” leading 55/45.

  6. “Nice exercise class. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

    1. You want excercise? Try jumping through these hoops…

  7. “There are already regulations, so nobody should have a problem with more of them” is a terrible, stupid argument. Government regulation needs to serve an actual legitimate safety purpose. “Well, we’re already doing this stuff,” is just lazy nonsense.

    You’re a reasonable person, aren’t you, Scott? Sure you are. After all, you write for a magazine called “Reason”. So you agree that it’s fine to impose reasonable regulations on when and how people use public facilities, right? I mean, we can’t have people setting fires and raping each other in public parks. So we need some reasonable regulations. How do we know which regulations are reasonable? Well, if someone at the city council gives a reason for imposing a regulation, that regulation is reasonable. That sounds reasonable doesn’t it? You wouldn’t disagree with that, would you Scott? Or do you support park rapists?

    1. Drink! Drank! Drunk!

      1. I move the suspend the drinking game for that post. I think I could get plastered just from that singular post.

    2. Actually, Scott has admitted before that he supports park rapists. I can’t find the link for some reason, but trust me.

  8. Tulpa supports Santa Monica.

    1. Lexington is gearing up its war on food trucks, but quietly this time. They can’t be on public land, but they’ve been running them off private property as well. The awesome taco truck has been harassed out of Country Boy’s parking lot three weekends in a row.

      1. I don’t get that. If they have permission to be there on private property, the pigs can fuck off.

        Of course, the first time one of the owners demanded to know what the legal justification was for this, I’m sure that small holes would suddenly and mysteriously appear in the propane tanks.

      2. Louisville seems to be supporting food trucks, but in the most idiotic manner possibly. At least private property food trucks are mostly okay (with some weird and stupid exceptions).

        1. The city government, not the people. The people are supporting them in the obvious way.

  9. People only go to yoga yoga class to meet potential sex partners; the whole thing is nothing more than a prostitution ring, and they all should be in jail!

    1. Where else are you going to find someone to have tantric sex with?

  10. Let’s drive out the fitness buffs to make more room for bums, perverts and Occupy types. That’ll improve things.

  11. yoga

  12. After all, a trainer doing business in a well-groomed public park is reaping the benefits of a place tended by municipal workers.

    Fuck you, pay me. That never gets old.

  13. Tulpa supports Santa Monica.

    Well, some of those classes are undoubtedly perpendicular to the flow of traffic.

    1. Yeah, the city justifiably would not want a parade of Pee Wees in their Priuses exposed to such temptations.

  14. Question: Why, (seriously), why are the editorial boards at pretty much all the major papers across this country such utter tools? The incredibly lame defense of City Council’s propsal at the LA Times couldn’t even be called second-rate thinking. There’s no thinking at all…

    1. I figure it’s because there is so much regulation and legislation out there that no company can possibly comply with it all. So it’s best to not initiate a retaliatory investigation by being critical of the local government.

  15. As they say, “You didn’t fucking make that, so cough up your profits!”

  16. So does this mean that no dogs are allowed in a public park? Because I would much rather see a dozen hot yoga chicks working out than worry about navigating a minefield of dog shit.

    1. …I would much rather see a dozen hot yoga chicks working out…

      My wife and I go up there fairly often to run the stairs and then walk along the park. There is some exceptional talent there. Top notch. I don’t know about dogs, never noticed.

  17. No, it’s all good, I’m sure the money will go to a program fighting obesity.

  18. If only we could figure out how to make our parks go back to being the empty, desolate, places you’re afraid to walk by in the evening.

    What’s up with all this human occupancy and stuff. Don’t people know that parks are there for them to silently stare at, not actually fill with fucking people?

    1. More ridiculously, these parks in Santa Monica and Venice are FULL of sleeping homeless people. I very rarely take my kids to the park, mostly because I can’t stand “park mommies”, but the few times I have ventured, I have left after minutes because of the nasty stench emanating from the sleeping booze hounds that are littering the otherwise gorgeous grounds at noon on a Tuesday. The police and/or Santa Monica park rangers don’t do anything about the bums, but will step over them in a hurry to ticket the unlicensed personal trainer jump roping with his client. Fuck the People’s Republic of Santa Monica.

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