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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My $300 an hour hike at Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon
Special to MayorSam

Over the past 10 years I have enjoyed hiking the popular urban LA hike with great vistas called Runyon Canyon. The main trailhead is accessed off of Mulholland. There is barely enough parking in the small dirt parking lot, and so for most of the last 10 years or so I end up street parking on Mullholland itself, along with multitudes of other hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Just last week when I returned from my 60 minute hike, I ended up having to chase down a tow truck I spotted driving away with my car on it. They said I was parked illegally since they put new parking signs up on Mullholland. They charged me $230 to get my car off the back of the truck there on the spot. Then to add insult to injury, there was a $90 parking violation citation on my windshield from the city.

To be fair, I did notice some new signs posted about not being able to park on Mullholland and an arrow pointing towards the trail head from about 50 yards out. Therefore, I parked in the direction the arrow wasn't pointing on the side of the road within the lines. When I told the tow truck driver that, he said that they only allow the first 3 cars/spaces of parking where I was, and I happen to be in the 4th space for a car. Well, nowhere on any signs did it say "no parking in a 4th space and beyond" or "legal parking only for the first 3 cars here on Mullholland". And then when I asked him about the cars parked along the other side of the street on Mullholland, directly across from where I was parked, he said those spaces hadn't been designated as legal or illegal, so they don't bother with them. Oh jeez I thought, this is like a kangaroo court of arbitrary rules and Alice in Wonderland parking spots.

Jack Witt
As a health and fitness coach this concerns me, because with obesity and chronic disease rates so high and out of control in the country, we should be encouraging healthy communities and active lifestyles, not setting up barriers to them here in LA. And, as a former volunteer Chamber of Commerce President, this concerns me because I know the history of the city of Los Angeles and its inability to budget, provide incentives for businesses, and its peculiar efficiency at handing out absurdly costly tickets and citations to good, hard working, law abiding citizens.

As my father used to say, "enough is enough"! It's no wonder so many businesses decide to leave Los Angeles every year because of the hostile business environment, and every-day ordinary people who live and/or have moved here to strive for some upward mobility can't get any traction, because the ticket/citation/parking meter happy city keeps trying to drag then down to their level of incompetence and bureaucracy.

Jack Witt, MS, CPT is a North Hollywood based Fitness and Health Coach who works with individuals  as well as groups and corporate clients. He recently published a companion set of fitness books Tight, Tone, and Trim for women and Cut, Cool, and Confident for men, currently available at Amazon. He can be contacted via his website at www.getfitwithWitt.com.

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