It's Now Legal to Watch a Movie in Oakland

City council set to change parking meter laws, again

By Sajid Farooq
|  Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009  |  Updated 1:00 PM PDT
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Oakland Merchants Shut Down to Send a Message

The always political marquee at the Grand Lake Theater protests Oakland's new meter parking fees.

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Oakland Merchants Shut Down to Send a Message

Several businesses in Oakland didn't open on Thursday to protest new parking fees and regulations they call anti-business.
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The army assembled to dismantle Oakland's War on Fun will have its chance to finally kill off the city's recent crackdown on parking.

Business owners across the East Bay town rallied to fight a city council decision to extend parking meter enforcement hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and increasing the hourly parking rate from $1.50 to $2. The move was made to to help fill an $83 million budget deficit for the City.

Tonight, residents and merchants will get their chance to air their frustration at a city council meeting on the new parking laws. Merchants had gone so far as to shut down their stores for a day to protest the move they said was killing their businesses and making it illegal to watch movies in some Oakland neighborhoods.

"I saw this as a death nail for my theater and businesses all over Oakland," owner of the Grand Lake Theater Allen Michaan said.

Some city council members have also admitted they may have made a mistake.

Councilmember Patricia Kernighan has proposed changing meter enforcement back to 6 p.m. from 8 p.m.

All the while, residents have dealt with the brunt of the problem as the city has increased fines for parking violations, without much notice. Some meters in the Lake Merritt area still show the old parking enforcement hours and prices. 

The council has already made some changes to calm the outcry. An earlier limit of two hours for parking at meters was changed to allow driver to purchase a parking ticket for three hours instead of two "after" 5 p.m. The tweek also made it so the parking ticket was valid anywhere in Oakland. The move was made to quiet concerns that the parking laws were killing nightlife in the city.

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