Santa Monica might’ve been charging non-English readers extra for several days.
Los Angeles resident Ron Monahan, who goes by @RonTheKiller on social media, shared smartphone footage taken in front of a parking meter at a Santa Monica Beach Parking Lot showing, in real time, how the parking meter charged $10 for day parking if you selected English but charged $2 extra if you selected any other language.
Check out @RonTheKiller’s now viral video below.
The parking meter in question is directly across the street from the Ocean View Park Tennis Courts, designated as Lot 5 South. (Exact location on Google Maps linked here, with a screenshot of the offending meter below.)
As @RonTheKiller’s video shows, before you pay for parking, you must proceed in either English, Spanish, German, or French.
If you selected English, general parking was just $10, but any other language charged $12.
“Discrimination,” Monahan captioned his video.
Monahan’s since turned comments off but, before I was able to get a screenshot of the comments, the official City of Santa Monica Instagram account, probably goaded to comment by being tagged so many times, replied.
Their reply was along the lines that this was a programming error and the cheaper $10 General Parking rate for Fall and Winter months was not implemented correctly across all optional languages.
Corroborating their claim, according to the notes for that Parking Lot meter on ParkMe.com, the meter does switch over to a cheaper weekday/weekend rate on November 1.
If Monahan’s video is correct, and he uploaded the video on the 6th (presumably shot on the Sunday the 5th) that means at least that particular parking meter was charging non-English speakers $2 extra for several days.
According to Park Me’s parking map, Santa Monica operates other parking spots near the beach, like Lot 3 South (linked here), that offers cheaper rates starting Nov 1.
They also operate other parking spaces with the same offending machine not as close to the beach and with no discounted general rate starting Nov. 1, like the one posted below.
We don’t know if this programming error affected their other meters, too, and for how long.
Did this programming error start just this year?
Or, has it been a thing since these meters were installed?
This type of programming error is unacceptable and discriminatory, unintentional or not.
I’ve since reached out to the City of Santa Monica for an official statement on their own Instagram account, and will post their reply above if they comment back.