Editor's Note: This letter to the editor addresses Westfield Century City's decision to end free parking. Read more about this story here.
I am perplexed by the view that Westfield must conform to private citizen's views of the fairness of proposed parking fees.
The availability of parking is a service which increases the value of a shopping experience by facilitating access to commodities and services. It has an economic value and it requires a very substantial capital investment by business owners.
In a private enterprise system, it is only "fair" that those who make capital investments be economically rewarded and those who use them should pay for the privilege. In a facility like Westfield, which leases to many businesses, any unilateral attempt to set fees too high will result in a decrease in business, which, in turn, will result in a lowering of lease values, which, in turn, will result in lost profits to the owner. That is, inexorably, market forces will control efforts to set prices too high.
Local government really does not add to market efficiency for this kind of resources and should abstain from regulation. Private citizens, especially republicans and free market capitalists should refrain from attempting to use governmental regulation of prices in an effort to secure parking welfare for the upper middle class (i.e., the local denizens of Westwood).
—Rex Julian Beaber Ph.D., J.D.
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