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Business leaders in Tijuana say they will ask outgoing Baja California governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán this week to veto a bill that would abolish paid parking at shopping centers.

"It [paid parking] is a sector that produces at least $3.8 billion pesos in the state; they are businesses that generate jobs and taxes," Karim Chalita Rodríguez IV, president of Tijuana's National Chamber of Commerce, was quoted as saying in El Sol de Tijuana.

Paid parking is commonplace in major shopping centers across Tijuana, for example at Plaza Río, where patrons must pay 5 pesos (about 40 cents) to park for up to three hours. After that, the rates go up, depending on the duration a car is parked. But a bill passed by the last state legislature would make parking at all shopping centers in Baja California "public parking" and prohibit business owners from collecting parking fees. If the governor refuses to veto the law, the businessmen said, they will take action in court in an effort to stop it.

At a meeting last week in which 30 representatives of paid parking lots participated, Alfredo López Osuna, general manager of Plaza Río, provided handouts to reporters showing a parking payroll of 650,000 pesos (about $52,000) and noted that if the parking law takes effect, all the employees would lose their jobs, according to El Sol de Tijuana.

Paid parking at shopping centers, the businessmen said, also provides security not available on public streets and reduces the rate of auto theft and car break-ins. For example, without a parking ticket or title to the car, the vehicle cannot leave the parking lot, which thwarts car thieves.

Chalita Rodríguez said he doubted that the government had the police resources to provide sufficient security in all the cities of Baja equivalent to the protection provided by paid parking lots. The businessmen said they were preparing a formal document urging a veto that they will present to the governor this week.

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Bob McPhail Aug. 22, 2013 @ 9:26 a.m.

UPDATE -- Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán has vetoed the so-called "free parking law," leaving in place paid parking in shopping centers across Baja California. It was one of 42 laws he vetoed today.

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