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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Getty Visit Today

We took a visit to the Getty Center today and found that they have quietly raised the parking fee from $5 to $7 per car. I am not quite sure why it bothered me so much, except for the fact that I feel like I am being nickeled and dimed to death with this fee and that, every single day. Parking fees that find no upper limit, fees for printing a child's ticket at LACMA, even though the admission itself is free, fees to use the parklands, the beaches, the bike paths.

While the Getty is a private institution, it is a crown jewel of the city and part of its culture. I am disturbed to think that the foundation that was capable of building such an "Acropolis" on the Westside, seems to want to balance that edifice on the backs of your average Angeleno or tourist. Perhaps the troubles in the management and curation of the museum laid open on the pages of the LA Times in the last few months run deeper than we know. Parking fees should be going down or removed entirely.

Perhaps the new PDA-based audio tour and navigation systems that we saw being tested throughout the museum cost a little more than planned. You would think that a museum that has the ability to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for PDAs, custom programming, campus-wide wi-fi network and other infrastucture could, at least, keep the parking fees the same. I always thought of the Getty parking charge as a token fee, giving a little back to help pay for the people that keep the Center running. Now it seems that someone has decided that parking is now an income center to be milked like the bookstore and the restaurant.

The Getty Center is a world-class museum and we should be spared from the constant nickel and dime tactics that plague the rest of Los Angeles.


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