Controversy over Galveston's new paid Seawall parking

GALVESTON, Texas - Some beach goers are upset at what the city of Galveston is collecting in addition to their cash. And that's a problem for some people who worry what the city is doing with that information.

For the first time, this weekend beach goers in Galveston had to pay for parking along the Seawall -- $8 a day. And while some weren't happy about it.

"I believe it's a tourist attraction and it should be free. We already pay enough taxes, so it could be included," said beach goer Lourdes Fernandez.

Most people we spoke with didn't have a problem with it.

"As a tourist you expect to go out and spend some money. So it's part of the deal. I don't mind," said beachgoer Sandra Pineda.

What some did mind, however, was the idea that your license plate must be recorded when you pay; meaning your vehicle could be checked for outstanding warrants and Amber Alerts.

"That's a capability that could possibly be utilized but we're not even close to doing anything like that at this point," said Galveston Police Chief Henry Porretto.

Some even worried about possible civil rights issues.

"Maybe they are looking for illegal people to be deported. That's what they're looking for maybe," Fernandez said.

"Absolutely not. The license plate determines no race or ethnicity of the vehicle or the occupants or owners. It just says who the vehicle is registered to," Chief Porretto.

According to this tourist, the bottom line is...

"If you do have something to hide, find somewhere else to park," said Dub Bushong.

Galveston's city manager says all the money collected from parking will be used for improving the beach.

Galveston officials say, so far, paid parking hasn't deterred beach goers from parking along the Seawall.  They say over 2,500 people paid to park on the first day alone.

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