Give Thanks for Canadians

In the post below I noted that Canadian Thanksgiving was not up to American Thanksgiving. In doing so, I offended, I understand, millions of Canadians world wide. This is strange, since my wife is Canadian and I have many dear friends north of the 49th parallel and have actually been in Canada on the second Monday in October which means it shares the date with Columbus day and Indigenous people’s day. It didn’t seem as big a deal to me as Thanksgiving in the US.

However, I have been wrong before and yield to those who have written to me explaining the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving (earlier and more European than American) and that those in Canada have much to be thankful for, thank you very much.

So this year I will be eating crow rather than turkey, in solidarity with my Canadian friends and relative.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian and American


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Time to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is the truly American Holiday.  They don’t celebrate it in Europe, its a downmarket holiday in Canada, and Asia  — nada.

Why? It seems to me that we are blessed. Hard work, perseverance, a culture that says ‘yes,’ and a unerring desire to help others have made America what she is and will be.  We have become that ‘shining city on the hill.’

The rest of the year we work hard and build our homes and businesses, but on this day we rest, and give thanks for the results of that labor.

As hard as some try to tear us down, we work to shore America up. By understanding and fixing the mistakes we have made, we have become a place that the troubled masses seek.

So we give thanks this week. Thanks for the strength needed to maintain our abundance. Thanks for those who have put a hand out along the way. Thanks for wonderful employees and faithful customers and readers. Thanks for a supportive God and for the moral fiber that keeps us strong.

From all of us at Parking Today Media

Happy Thanksgiving 2015.




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Meter Failure Hits Harrisburg in the Pocket

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania meter parking is free today because all of the city’s 170 meters are suffering from a glitch that prints the wrong date on receipts. Standard Parking, which operates the city’s meters, reported “global meter failure” occurred late Sunday night. According to, the technology problem has been fixed online, but the work on the ground will take some time to complete.

Parking officials are only writing residential tickets on Monday because every individual meter needs to be rebooted, said John Gass, an official with Trimont, the company that manages the parking system for the city.

It takes about 10 minutes to reboot a meter, the article says, so that’s around 28 man hours on the street. I don’t know how much the city will lose in revenues, but I’m sure it’s more than a few dollars.

It’s not a perfect world, at least, that’s what I tell myself when things that are out of my control start get annoying. The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania might need a few comforting words when it tallies up the cost of a day without tickets.

On the bright side, what’s bad for the city’s bottom line is a happy little bonus for parkers.

Read the article here.

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Los Angeles Using Parking Lots to House Homeless

The threat of severe weather in Southern California this winter and coming spring has city leaders considering the needs of the homeless. According to, Los Angeles officials are extending the dates of a regular winter “shelter crisis” designation that allows people who live in their vehicles to park on city property.

The LA Times says that the city has fairly regularly declared a “shelter crisis” from November 1 to March 31; the declaration of a shelter crisis allows for public buildings to be opened as temporary shelters. But the City Council also asked that the end date for the shelter crisis be extended “further into the spring” and didn’t set an end date

The article reports that there are 26,000 homeless people in the Los Angeles area, and with the expectation of very wet El Nino weather, it is important that the city get as many of those people off the streets as possible.

That program puts limits on the number of RVs or vehicles per parking lot, establishes permit requirements for people using the lots, and also sets up restrooms on-site.

The parking lots that will be made available are lots adjacent to “vacant municipal structures” and city parks. City leaders are also looking for additional properties where this service can be offered.

Read the article here.

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T2 Hosts 500 at Connect 2015

T2 systems started its annual customer training program in New Orleans yesterday. First time attendees were feted at a reception sponsored by Eco Lighting Solutions, and the entire group engaged in networking in the Mardi Gras ballroom of the New Orleans Marriott.

After breakfast sponsored by Tagmaster,  CEO Mike Simmons and VP Irena Goloschokin welcoming the attendees and preparing them for the sessions to come. Reports from the sessions were many and varied:

“He made life simple with pictures”

“Offer your guests a buffet of parking options -== good tips here”

“Too many people, standing room only.”

“T2 Lab – come fill a candy bag wile you chat with the product team.”

“Great Sessions — some really cool ideas on how to have great customer service”

“Best opening session ever”

“Lunch was amazing, award winning seafood Gumbo”

This afternoon and Wednesday promises to bring more of the same. This is parking technology at its zenith. The company deserves kudos for an event like this.They are taking over the house of Blues Wednesday night.

Wow  I wish I was there.  No Wait — I’ll be there tomorrow and give more info and a few candid shots

Look out Big Easy, here I come.



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Fines are fine

In Helena, Montana, parking officials are considering charging a $20 administrative fee for drivers who don’t pay their ticket fines within seven days, according to The city ticket charges are $10 for expired meters and $25 in timed parking areas. The Helena Parking Commission is trying to recoup $50,000 in unpaid fines and the late fee revenue would go toward the cost of mailing invoices for those unpaid fines.

Between 285 and 400 notices are sent out each month to those who have failed to pay parking fines, it was noted during the parking commission’s meeting.

I think Helena should increase the cost of its initial ticket fines and add a late fee. People don’t take a $10 fine very seriously in the first place, and if there is no added penalty for paying late (or not paying at all) lots of people just pretend the whole thing never happened.

Helena is taking other steps to intimidate bad parkers. In past years, the city has allowed drivers with unpaid ticket balances to pay down their fines with donations of food during the holidays. Now, those who owe more than $75 in fines will receive a few warnings and then the dreaded boot.

As usual, city leaders and city merchants don’t exactly agree on the way to treat people who break parking rules. Business owners want to minimize stress and inconvenience for their customers, while city leaders are trying to keep downtown-area business employees from using up all the most convenient parking. But it sounds like they are all being very civil about the discussion

I’m fine with fines – as long as I know what they are and how to avoid them.

Read the article here.

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Veteran’s Day – They just did it — It was worth it

Yes, it’s today.

As I was growing up, virtually everyone I knew had been in the military. Most had served in WWII or Korea. They were the fathers of my friends. They didn’t talk a lot about it. They just had done it.

I find that most people don’t really talk about their service. It never seems to come up. But they did it.  They sacrificed years of their lives, in some cases their very lives. They spent time away from lovers and family. They endured heat, cold, jungles, deserts. They didn’t really complain that much. They did it.

I find that when I go up to veterans in uniform say in the airport and thank them for their service, they are almost embarrassed. They don’t expect praise. They don’t expect to stand out.  They are doing a job they want to do.

Don’t get me wrong. You and I need to express our thanks, any way we can. Its important that we acknowledge what they are doing. They are putting themselves in harm’s way for us. They can take a little embarrassment.

There were a number of soldiers on a plane I was on the other day. About 20 in uniform heading somewhere for something or other. When we landed the flight attendant asked if we could keep our seats and let the soldiers off first. The left to thunderous applause.

I noticed that they seemed to stand a little straighter, hold their backpacks a little tighter, and smile acknowledgements as they walked down the aisle. I’ll just bet they think about that applause as they lie in their bunks getting to sleep. They may think,  “Its worth it.”

Happy Veteran’s Day – to those who served, and to those who acknowledge their debt to them.



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But its just a “Gig”

The “Gig Economy”  Ahh Yes – we really needed something new to worry about. For all those luddites that don’t know what it is, the Gig Economy is that part of our economy where the workers work for themselves and sell their time to companies.  Uber, Lyft, graphic artists, web site designers, consultants in many fields, musicians, writers, valets, maybe even waitstaff and cooks.

They set their own schedules, negotiate their pay, provide their own tools, and go to work. They buy their own health insurance, pay their own taxes, and live, it seems to me, a pretty nice life.  Most of the Uber drivers I meet seem happy with the ‘gig’. It fits their lifestyle. Many are young, a few are retired, supplementing their income. What’s not to like.

You know what’s coming next. Out of thousands, a handful didn’t get paid on time. No health insurance, egad. What about working too many hours, shouldn’t they get overtime?  Someone has to protect them. Guess who?

The government, that’s who. The ‘gig’ economy has been going for decades. But its been below the radar.  Musicians, software engineers, valets, and their ilk have been happily working, often as second jobs, their ‘gigs.’

But all that’s about to be destroyed. Uber has brought the ‘gig’ economy out into the sunlight. And the nanny staters are ready to pounce.  Rather than let the workers and companies decide how to make this a mutually beneficial relationship, it seems (in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and a number of other cities) that the ‘gig’ workers need to be organized, need to be protected, regulation has to be put in place, and you know the rest.

What this basically means is that the drivers for Uber will get less money because Uber will have to charge more to deal with all the rules and regs, and then fewer people will ride in Uber because the prices are too high, and the drivers will make less money. How does that make sense?

An Uber driver told me he makes between $15 and $20 an hour net. That’s after his costs for gas, insurance, etc. That’s about $40 K a year on an 8 hour day. Some who want to make more work longer hours, some who see this as a great supplement, work less. Its not one percent money, but in a two income family (and who isn’t these days) you can live pretty well, and set your hours, pick up your kids, be home for dinner with the family. What’s not to like.

But mark my words.  Big Brother will ruin it. After all, we can’t have those evil owners (shareholders?) at Uber make all those billions. Its just not fair.

This isn’t robber baron territory. 12 hour day, six day weeks, pennies an hour, mercury and asbestos everywhere. These are ‘gigs’ that the individual decides to take based on their individual talent, time, and situation.

I’m guessing that many of the gigs are transitional.  But many are not. So be it. The marketplace is working as it should. There was a minor revolution at Uber when they began dynamic pricing, as immediately when the prices when up, the number of calls went down. Drivers reacted.

Management has a problem. Its hard to ‘manage’ a gig worker.  They have to be more creative. Work to the workers tempo and needs.  The successful ones will adjust and make it work.

At PT Media we have had ‘gig’ workers for years.  They write columns, they edit, they work in graphics. We are a small company that can’t afford full time staff in those areas. So a couple of mothers of two, a retired copy editor, a consultant looking for a little extra, an artist with a home business, they all work gigs for us, and others, too.

But I can see the day coming when our ‘betters’ will pounce. It will be a sad one for all, gig workers and employers alike.

But its progress, right.



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Old Parking Meters Now Collectibles

People have been collecting antique industrial items for years. Street signs, printing press forms, and old tools are all collector’s items. In Saskatoon, Canada, pay stations were recently installed, and now, according to, residents are lining up to buy the outdated parking meters.

Greg Doering, sporting a massive beard and a pair of black Ray-Ban sunglasses, was among the shoppers. He said the meter has symbolic importance for him.

“My dad, as a young man, happened to get a parking meter one day when they were replacing them and I kind of grew up with one in the house. It’s in my brother’s studio now, and now I want my own,” he said. “It’s kind of nostalgic.

City leaders are surprised by the interest in the meters, which have been partially disassembled and are only decorative. They say they are pleased that the meters will be salvaged.

The City of Saskatoon is still calculating how many of the meters it has sold overall, but the most recent count recorded on Tuesday evening indicated 51 double-head meters and 55 single-head meters had made it into the hands of the public, raising about $2,630.

I’m not at all nostalgic about the times I’ve spent feeding quarters into a coin meter – quite the opposite – but I understand the allure. That’s because I’ve got a box full of cassette tapes in my garage.

Read the article here.

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Parking Lot Attendant Imposters Strike Atlanta

In Atlanta, parkers were made painfully aware of the effort criminals will make to steal their money. According to, a crew of criminals posed as parking lot attendants took parking fees and booting fees from unsuspecting tourists. Now, tourists are usually unsuspecting, but these had little chance of discovering the scam before they were swindled.

“There were signs saying event parking and there were gentlemen by the road and another in further here at the parking lot waving us in,” Barbara Wright of Asheville, N.C. said. “When we got to the second guy he said park right in here.”

But later, once they spotted the boots on their vehicles, the victims began to suspect they had been hustled – paying $20 each for special parking and $75 to get out of the special parking.

It’s pretty generous of Ms. Wright to refer to the thieves as “gentlemen,” especially because there is little chance she’s getting back her money. Most of the victims reported being surprised by the elaborate set up. I can understand their feelings. One perpetrator can do enough damage in a parking lot, but a cast of criminals is a new thing. Not only that, but the crooks staged their heist in broad daylight – a heist that lasted long enough for “patrons” to leave their vehicles for whatever activity they had planned and come back to find their cars booted. That’s brazen for you.

The victims said there’s got to be a better way to catch imposters using real parking lots.

I’m curious what that “better way” would be. There is no protocol for identifying “real” parking lot attendants. Maybe there could be.

Read the article here.

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