All your space are belong to us

As in many cities, finding a parking space in Boston can be a challenge. And when there’s a special event going on, it’s even tougher. And when that special event is Opening Day at Fenway Park, it gets even harder. Toss in that it’s against their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees, and you can ratchet up another order of magnitude. And when you calculate in that it will also feature the raising of the World Series banner and presentation of World Series rings, it degenerates into nigh-impossible.

But to show that the entrepeneurial spirit is still alive and kicking in Boston, there are always those people who can find a way to make a buck out of a bad situation. In this case, it’s anyone near enough to Fenway who owns more than a few square feet of pavement. Normally, a parking spot for the duration of a game can run as much as $60. There were rumors that on Monday, places were charging as much as $100 — and getting it.

But that can’t be allowed to happen. Someone actually making money in the city without the city dictating how much, and how big their cut will be? We can’t have that! Enter Mayor Thomas “Mumbles” Menino.

Apparently, Mumbles is appalled at free-range capitalism in HIS city’s boundaries. He immediately announced a move to rein in these costs.

“We are going to come up with a strategy to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future,” Menino said. “My goal is to have control over the fees. This may be the market, but it’s not right.”

Apparently the laws of commerce that allow the sheer, usurious price-gouging inside Fenway Park (outrageous prices for tickets, food, drinks, beer, and souvenirs) end at the stadium walls. The city is going to step in and tell these entrepeneurs exactly what they can charge, how many cars they can fit on their lots, and probably start a special tax on that revenue, too. And that’ll be on top of the already appallingly-high taxes they pay to the city and state.

And the excuses they’re using to rationalize this sheer, naked power-grab are ludicrous.

First, the public outcry. If people were so incensed, they WOULDN’T PAY IT. Second, attending a ball game is a luxury. Attending an afternoon game on a Monday even more so. There will be no great lasting harm on anyone if they miss a game.

Second, they’re threatening the “safety” issue. They’re worried about “excess flammable material” on the lot. That one’s a transparent crock — I’d be willing to bet real money that if their underground fuel tanks are half-full on game day, there’s still less flammable material on the premises than when those tanks are full. The amount added by the cars is negligible in comparison to those tanks.

I find it even more interesting that city officials are drafting the new ordinance before they even figure out whether they can. I’m reminded of the (probably apocryphal) tale of Henry Ford building his first car in a shed, then discovering that it was too wide to get out the entrance. But I guess the city has plenty of money to waste on these exercises before deciding whether they’re pointless.

I, frankly, am disgusted with these lot owners. Just because they bought the property, paved it, and pay outrageous property and other taxes to the city for the privilege of continuing to own it, they think they can just do whatever they want with it? Including (shudder) MAKE MONEY?

The sheer, utter gall of these people.


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