Today the Wichita city hall parking garage closes, as far as citizens are concerned. All members of the public, including those who qualify to park in handicapped spaces, will park outside and farther away.
The reason given for the change is security.
Unlike Wichita city hall, most businesses go to great effort and expense to make parking convenient for their customers. But the city is not a business. It is not concerned about matters such as calculation of profit and loss. It is not concerned about the attitudes of its customers, except perhaps at election time. Even then, it’s only a handful of elected officials that are concerned.
We might also ask why business firms are not generally concerned with terroristic attacks being made upon them, but government is. Could it be because business operates on voluntary exchange with its customers, while government operates on coercion?
On the Wichita Eagle editorial blog, a commenter observed: “Many shopping centers, retail stores, medical offices, hospitals require their employees to park back out of the way. The idea is to preserve convenient parking for their paying customers … the people who make it all possible. But Wichita’s city hall has developed an elitist attitude towards the citizens and public.”
Another summed it up succinctly: “This simply puts an exclamation point on the City attitude toward the citizens of Wichita.”
John Todd contributes the following observations, making the case for a free market in security, letting the parties who have the greatest interest in being safe provide the security service.
I notice that effective Monday, November 8th, the public will not be allowed to use the parking garage at city hall due to “security” considerations.
Of all the battles I can recall reading about in history, I can’t think of anything that compares to the economic harm, havoc, and hysteria that has resulted in our country that tops the 9/11 attack on us by a small handful of people and airplanes. The sad result of this tragedy is the overreaction of government that has allowed government to mandate greater and greater intervention into our lives in the name of “security” while many of us witness and are horrified by the loss of liberty that has resulted at the hand of our own government!
Several years ago in an economics seminar presented at Jean Garvey’s Independent School, a class leader shared this story with us. He said, that in the earlier years of seafaring, the lighthouses that dotted the seaboard for the protection of ships and sailors, were privately owned and operated. Families of seamen, seaman associations, and other private groups supplied this important function for their own vested interests. What a novel idea this is!
Congressman Jerry Moran stated at a recent Wichita Pachyderm Club luncheon that the Federal government currently employs over 100,000 people in airport security as a result of 9/11. After the meeting I shared the lighthouse story with him and suggested that the U.S. government get out of the airport security business and turn it over to Delta, United, Southwest and other airlines with a vested interest in protecting their customers. The private market would then control airport security.
If Delta did a bad job of protecting passengers, they lose market share to their competitors. I believe this system would work, and I believe more favorable public relations skills for airline passengers would result. I can’t help but think it would cost less and work better than the mandated government security now in place. And besides that, the airline companies, with a vested interest in airline market share, would pay for the security, and leave the public treasury out of it.