Monday, October 1, 2007

Don't blow a gasket

Just how mad do you have to be that on a Saturday, you call the chief of police to complain angrily about the fact that parking meters in downtown are enforced on Saturdays? We'll see, because he didn't find me. By the time I returned the call, he wasn't in. My guess is that he was at the football game, but the person who answered the phone at the business number he left just said that he would not be in until Monday.

I'll tell him that the police department does not set the hours or days of meter enforcement. That's done by a municipal ordinance, and those are adopted by the City Council. I will also tell him that life would be easier for LPD if the meters weren't enforced on Saturdays. For that matter, if they weren't enforced at all, that would be splendid. I'll tell him that on Saturdays, our parking enforcement staff is cut back to a third of what it is on weekdays. I will tell him that none of the meter revenue benefits the police department, and that by law the fines collected are paid to the school district. None of this will matter, he'll still be angry.

The phone number he left is to a small retail business in East Lincoln. I'll ask him how he would feel if people who weren't even his customers pulled into his parking lot on Saturday morning when his store is open for business, and left their car there for the next six or eight hours. That's what it feels like for some downtown businesses, but he won't get it.

Finally, I'll tell him that our downtown parking enforcement staff was slashed by a third this year, and that last year, we wrote the smallest number of parking tickets on record since parking meters were first installed in the mid-1950's.

Won't matter. He'll still be mad that he got a ticket, and it will still be my fault that he didn't know the meters have always been enforced on Saturdays, and he didn't read the days and hours of enforcement which are printed on every single parking meter. Didn't he even wonder for an instant whether he had to feed the meter? It's unbelievable how worked up some people get over a $10 parking ticket. They should try a San Francisco parking citation, or maybe a New York City ticket.


Jerry said...

Hey Tom:

10 bucks? Given that the money goes to the School District, I think fines need to be raised a bit! Your caller was clearly in need of some rudimentary education in finance, given he is clearly unaware of the good deal that a $10 ticket really is. $40 here in Philly, and in my neighborhood the tow trucks work overtime. Then it is about $300 to get your car back.

Was he really calling about a $10 fine? Oh deary, deary me. :-)


- Jerry R

Anonymous said...

They've probably complained to LPD before about "lot lizards" in their parking lot at night.

Ten dollars. I'd happily pay that just to park wherever I wanted, especially since you can pay those tickets online now. In some cities, they'd be happy to pay ten bucks every day just to park their car!

Anonymous said...

Parking enforcement tickets are down this year? Better have a POP project to up the number of parking tickets like patrol has to do to get the traffic tickets up to beat last years numbers.

Anonymous said...

Good article, but you neglect to mention how the Police Department gets around having a night time "Parking Enforcement Officer" If we don't have to fill the meter past 6pm, why are they out and about?

Tom Casady said...

Meters enforcement ends at 6:00 PM, but we use some part time Public Serivce Officers' hours that extend into the night time, due to a growing problem with illegal parking at night: alleys blocked, drives blocked, parking in intersetions, handicapped parking stall violations, and the like. It was taking up a lot of officer time a few years ago, so we decided to keep some PSO night time hours in order to avoid tying up police officers on parking problems.

jenn said...

Can you fight a parking ticket? To me a trip to the Library cost $10 one day. It wasn't even worth going to the downtown library. I was ecstatic that I found a front door spot, I ran in to find change, came out to put some money in the meter and a pink "present" was on my windshield. I left the ticket there and went in without putting my change in! (I didn't even get the book I wanted.) That was the last time I went to the downtown library. Don't worry Chief, I paid the ticket ;)

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can help me, Chief.

About 30 years ago, I got a 65/55 speeding ticket out South of town on Hwy. 77. I believe LSO wrote that one. Sure, it's been a few decades, and, yes, the speed limit signs were up, and I was speeding, but it just wasn't cricket to be enforcing the limit on a Saturday afternoon like that. After all, it must have cost me the better part of 20 bucks!

I never complained about it at the time, so should I call Sheriff Wagner about that one and vent a little? I know Sheriff Karnopp was running things back then, but when you've got to tear off on a filibusterian rant, you usually have to settle for the current big cheese.

Not the Co. Attorney said...

What's to fight Jenn? You left your car unattended in a parking space with an expired meter. I seriously doubt they would throw that one out.

Who do you think you are, Jason Breazeale? (an inside joke for cops)

Tom Casady said...

Quick update: The call was short, and I didn't get much of my diatribe in. I could tell by the terse tone that he is still simmering at a full boil. He did learn that it's the City Council that sets the days and hours of parking meter operation, though, and I have no doubt that I'll next be explaining all these same facts to one or more Council members.

Jerry, the first poster, knows a thing or two apart parking tickets on at least three continents.

Jenn may be faster than a speeding bullet, but is obviously slower than a strolling Haumont.

Merle Karnopp? Wow, that's a stroll into history!!

jenn said...

I was being facetious. I would not take the time to fight the parking ticket, and I know I deserved it! Stop being so serious not the co att...!

Not the Co. Attorney said...

That was a joke Jenn. I apologize because it was at your expense so I could throw a dig at the County Attorney's office for releasing a well known felon and repeat offender (referenced in my previous post) out of jail the same day LPD caught him.