Nuclear and 9/11 investigation committees are a waste of time and students’ money. There are plenty of nonprofit organizations that are already looking into these issues and presenting findings more detailed than anything that Associated Students’ would be able to disclose. If A.S. is looking for a fun and worthwhile project, I ask that they form an investigative committee on the Transportation and Parking Services.

In 2001, when I arrived at UCSB, I was able to park just about anywhere I wanted to after 5 pm. No permit, no hassle. If you were a student driving into campus, you could buy a permit for the day and park in several different lots. If you were a parent, alum or visitor, a friendly parking attendant at one of the kiosks greeted you and provided information. The lot closest to the Marine Science Institute, if I remember correctly, was partially open to the public. Surfers, parents and visitors could enjoy the walk down to the beach and appreciate the beauty of the campus. But students were still shafted and sent to walk the quarter mile or more to the infamous lot B3.

Then, in 2003, Transportation and Parking Services presented findings that they were losing money to students and guests parking after 5 p.m. What we didn’t realize at that time was we were opening Pandora’s box when we approved the $3.33 per quarter student fee. Students everywhere believed the extra money would only benefit students. Maybe the money would go towards a shuttle service to B3, or would designate more “student only” parking. Apparently the funds went into what we see now: parking meter kiosks that won’t print out permits from 8-5 even if there are 100 available spots; a pre-recorded message on 1610 AM that pronounces “El Colegio” wrong; more parking ticket patrols that would probably be able to print a ticket while you’re grabbing a permit; and parking structures that are seemingly reserved for Noble Laureates only.

Now why am I asking for an investigative committee? It appears to me that Transportation and Parking Services is running its operation like Initech from Office Space. They build parking structures to accommodate for more traffic, possibly add more spaces, yet they fail to account for the costs and inflation in constructing those structures. Their failure to properly finance these projects punishes students. Students provide roughly $200,000 dollars a year through the parking fee, but only about 200 parking spots are designated as student parking only.

This is not the only example of a TPS blunder. Remember when Segways were popular? TPS bought or rented a number of them for each UCSB basketball game and a number of other events, so that their parking managers could pretend they were cool. Segways cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. Or what about the time that TPS staff randomly walked down DP and ticketed just about every car without a permit? What jurisdiction gives them the right to ticket cars in Isla Vista?

I have some suggestions for TPS. Stop alienating alumni, parents, students and guests. During Halloween, stop paying outrageous amounts of money to have cars towed and to print special permits and start welcoming a few partiers. Charge $25 for the weekend and regulate the number of spaces to a thousand spots or so. Use the fencing along El Colegio Road to direct partygoers specifically to I.V. and away from campus to avoid vandalism. Provide students with parking spaces closer to the dorms so that more are willing to actually buy the outrageously priced permits. Relocate your office to the Women’s Center so that people can actually find your office. And lastly be open past 4:56 pm. There are a number of students and people that would like to contest citations, buy permits and ask a teller questions, but are unable to during the 7:30-5 time.