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Point of View

Texting, God-Given Right to Park, and the Ficus Plant

By John Van Horn

My 17-year-old granddaughter has hooked me on texting. I visited her last month, and we were sitting side-by-side on the couch texting back and forth. I know you think I’m nuts, but frankly it was the longest conversation we had had in years. Now we text almost daily.
New valet texting services are springing up, one is Yayvalet and the other Zingle Parking, and from what I read, they work like this:
A parking operator signs up with the company and a small printer is installed in the valet booth. When a person reaches the booth, their car is there and ready to go. Neat, huh. Now I can put my texting skills to a practical use. …
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From the Lawrence, KS, Journal-World newspaper (April 26): “… A new report out of City Hall sheds light on how often some people get a parking ticket. The study found that 85 people have received one of the new $50 fines since enforcement began in March. Those 85 people, according to the city’s data, had received 6,657 parking tickets in the previous two years — that’s a rate of about 40 per year … Despite the big numbers from a few, some city commissioners said they believe the city ought to consider changes to the habitual parking provision, which has riled up downtown employees … Changes up for discussion include only charging the $50 fine to people who have five or more unpaid parking tickets in the last 30 days. Currently, the ordinance calls for the higher fine for anybody who has five or more parking tickets in the last 30 days, regardless of whether they have paid the previous tickets … (One commissioner said): ‘I just wish we could come up with something that would encourage people to park in the long-term lots. It just seems like nobody in this town wants to use those long-term lots.’ ”
Correspondent Mark Rimmer comments: Many people seem to look at parking as a God-given right, but is it? Driving is a privilege, one that you must “qualify” for and one that has some serious financial obligations associated with it. Parking is nothing more than one facet of driving, so it should stand to reason that the same “rules” that apply to driving should also apply to parking.
Why is it that you can get multiple parking tickets and as long as you pay them, there are no consequences, but multiple speeding tickets impact your insurance and could result in a loss of your driving privilege. Seems like common sense would dictate that applying the same punitive measures that are associated with “moving” violations to parking violations would be enough to get people to follow the rules.
My guess is that if you told downtown workers that “sitting” on a meter all day could result in the loss of their driver’s license, then they would strongly consider parking in those lots that are a block or two from work.
JVH says: Well, we could shoot them. I agree with Mark, but we do have differing fines for differing crimes. That having been said, the three-strikes laws have proven that the vast majority of crimes are committed by a very small number of criminals. So, perhaps we need to be creative in our approach to citation management.
Some cities have a sliding scale based on number of citations received. I suggest something bolder. How about towing a car and not letting it out for a week or two if a person has more than, say, 10 citations in a 12-month period?
Oh, and if Lawrence, KS, wants people to use their off-street lots, how about if they raise the on-street rates? The good old free market will do the rest. …
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Some musings: It may not seem to make any sense, but painting “double” lines to mark a parking space makes virtually no difference as to whether a car is centered on the space nor does it cut down on dings. It just takes twice as much paint and costs more. …
Although I hear about it happening all the time, it’s not happened to me: I have never received a parking ticket while sitting in the car. OK, I may have seen an officer coming and moved on, but no tickets. …
I think the term PARCS is weird. Parking Access Revenue Control System. OK, I know what it means, but when I see it in a sentence, it is strange. We are going to install a PARCS. According to our PARCS, we collected $15,021 today. Our consultant designed a PARCS for our new garage. …
In small offices, why do people walk outside to take some phone calls but not others? Do they think they are fooling anyone? … ­
A few years ago when gas was being rationed and oil companies were hated, I saw a license plate frame: “Oil Feeds My Family.” What about one that says, “Parking Feeds My Family?” Are you proud of your profession? …
Why do neighbors (or their gardeners) decide to mow their lawns at 4 on a Saturday afternoon, just as you are settling down on your back porch with an adult beverage and enjoying the solitude? …
Have you noticed that the best ideas come a millisecond before the phone rings and when you hang up, you can’t for the life of you remember what they were? …
I am coming to understand just how Facebook can work. It can become an aggregator of information. You can set it up so all sorts of info that interests you will be there. And you have to go to only one website to get a summary, rather than visiting stuff all over the Internet. We at Parking Today are working on our Facebook page. …
Advertisers seem to want to tell you everything about their product. But the most effective ads sometime have no words at all. Can you say ? …
Like most people, Ficus plants don’t like change. If you move one after it’s been in the same place for a while, chances are that all the leaves will fall off.

Article Abstract from June, 2010




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