Patterico's Pontifications

5/8/2011

San Francisco: Letting Arrested Illegals Go While Spending Millions on an iPhone App to Help People Find Parking Spaces

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:19 pm

These stories might seem unrelated at first — but I think they are indeed related. They go to the mindset of government officials: what they consider important and what they don’t.

First, reader AD-RtR/OS! forwards me this story:

San Francisco, one of the first sanctuary cities in the nation, plans to end its cooperation with federal immigration officials and start releasing illegal immigrants arrested for minor offenses before they can be picked up for deportation.

The city’s decision is the latest development in a tug of war between several communities and the federal government over its controversial national program that automatically checks the immigration status of arrestees.

AD-RtR/OS! comments :”You can’t deport them first if they are never detained and reported.”

“Minor” offenses no doubt includes DUIs. Never mind all the stories I have told you about people killed by illegal aliens with past histories of driving drunk and not being deported. Remember: they have no right to be here to begin with — so it’s not like we’re deporting them for committing a DUI. It’s that they are deportable anyway, but we are focusing our limited deportation resources on them because they are committing crimes that put our communities at risk.

FEDERAL PREEMPTION IRONY: I thought local communities weren’t supposed to pass policies regarding federal immigration. At least that’s what we’re always told when states pass laws trying to help enforce our immigration laws. I guess it’s different when they’re trying to undermine federal immigration laws. That’s just hunky-dory.

So if detaining illegal alien criminals for deportation isn’t a worthwhile government function, what is? Why, spending $20 million to develop a parking app for the iPhone! Once again, let’s go to San Francisco:

In this city, it is also a vexing traffic problem. Drivers cruising for parking spots generate 30 percent of all downtown congestion, city officials estimate.

Now San Francisco professes to have found a solution — a phone app for spot-seekers that displays information about areas with available spaces.

The system, introduced last month, relies on wireless sensors embedded in streets and city garages that can tell within seconds if a spot has opened up.

At first I thought: how enterprising! Someone went out and developed a potentially useful app! How nice! Then I kept reading, and realized that the “someone” is the government:

The $20 million parking project here, called SFpark, is backed by the Transportation Department and the Federal Highway Administration, which are looking into how to ease congestion and driver angst by making the most of limited parking.

San Francisco has put sensors into 7,000 metered parking spots and 12,250 spots in city garages. If spaces in an area open up, the sensors communicate wirelessly with computers that in turn make the information available to app users within a minute, said Mr. Ford, of the transportation agency. On the app, a map shows which blocks have lots of places (blue) and which are full (red).

San Francisco’s is by far the most widespread approach that several cities, universities and private parking garages are experimenting with.

Sure, it’s “only” $20 million — but you know, I get tired of amounts like $20 million being referred to as if they’re nothing. If it’s nothing, give it to me. Or heck, just don’t take taxes from me, all my friends, and all my family for the rest of our lives.

Anyway, like any government program, they’re planning to expand it if it works:

Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies parking issues and is serving as an adviser on the San Francisco project, said cities and traffic experts were closely watching the federally funded experiments in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

So, of course, “only” $20 million will turn into much, much more.

Good thing we don’t have a federal budget crisis, or stuff like this would seem insanely wasteful.

Far better to spend millions on this than on protecting us from illegal alien criminals.

Maybe some day a drunk illegal alien with three DUIs on his record will be looking at his iPhone as he looks for a parking space in San Francisco, and will hit some pedestrians walking across the street. Your taxpayer dollars at work!


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