Giles and I returned to Runyon yesterday, on the Mulholland side. Got my work done early. Figured mid-afternoon, weekday, light traffic on the trails…since there’s no longer parking at the bottom of the hill, I’ll hike in reverse. So off we went. My first clue something might have been off was the absence of any available spots around the Runyon gates. Unusual for the time of day, but it happens. I ventured into the windy streets below Mulholland where there are always spots. Always. Usually not far off. And then I saw this sign. (Note the shinier exposed steel where the old sign used to be) Now, for those unfamiliar with Runyon, probably 80% of the users access the park from the bottom of the hill, from Vista or Fuller, and that’s where the parking drama has historically resided. The upper gate is for the Valley folk and people who live in the hills, and generally has been a low-key affair. Runyon Mellow. The sudden appearance of a new battleground in the War of Rich Douchebags vs. The People of Los Angeles, here, threw me. Having slept on it, I don’t know why I felt surprised. I circumnavigated Upper Nichols Canyon chastised by a succession of No Daylight Parking, District 38 Permits Exempt signs in all the old familiar places. I did not see a parking permit tag on any car. Could it be no one who lives in that neighborhood needs a permit, because…they don’t actually park on the street, because….well, they can just park in their own garage? I looped around then ended up back on La Cuesta when I noticed a hand-written sign pertaining to parking, pinned to a privacy wall. Intrigued, I pulled to the curb, left the car running, and went to read it. Immediately, an angry bellowing erupted behind me, and I mean angry. A man and his Boston terrier were walking straight at me, gesturing and demanding to know what the f*** I thought I was doing and how I had no f***ing business parking there. I started to explain I wasn’t parking, only reading the sign, but he was having none of it. “Get your shitty car out of here. I paid $2 million for this house and I don’t have to have people parking their shitty cars in front. You’re trespassing. This is private property. Now get the f*** out of here. You have five minutes.” I’d been out of the car all of ten seconds. As much as I would like to report any number of snappy comebacks from yours truly, the truth is they only occurred to me later. Like all tough guys, he closed the garage door behind him and disappeared into the house. Flushed with renewed affection for my 2002 Honda Civic, I drove to Fryman Canyon, where this week at least there is still parking, sort of. If you don’t mind hiking a bit, to get to your hike. Just to be very clear about this, all dialogue is verbatim. So there we have it: La Cuesta Drive, Nichols Canyon, and by extension, the park itself…all proclaimed private property now, by decree of the wealthy.