Wow, If you read Brandy and Lindsay’s comments to my blog below on Civility and Handicapped parking, you will see that they have strong views. And I respect that. Oh, if any of you haven’t seen the latest PT cover – That’s Brandy surrounded by snow in downtown Manchester, NH.
She seems pretty nice in the picture, but WOW can she turn a few words into a whirlwind…
My ability to communicate has led to a mis communication, so let me try again.
- I believe that those who take handicapped parking spaces and don’t have valid permits should be tied to the stocks in the local town square and horsewhipped.
- My guess is that if you asked most people who are handicapped, you would discover that they would prefer to pay for their parking, if that would ensure that all the cheating going on stops.
- I feel that we in the parking business have a substantial public relations problem. Most people dislike the enforcement arm of our industry with a passion, and feel that the rest of us work in parking because we haven’t gotten a “real” job yet.
- I believe that the biggest problem we have is that our attitude is such that we take ourselves and our jobs so seriously that we seem to forget exactly what it is that we are trying to accomplish. This is mostly due to the fact that those of us in the public sector haven’t come to the conclusion that the folks parking in our spaces are customers and it is our job to keep them happy in a context of securing the asset we are there to protect.
It’s this last item that is to me the problem. Parking Departments at cities and universities and hospitals and airports have a huge asset they are there to protect. It amounts to a lot of real estate, often huge buildings and generates a ton of cash. We have rules set down as to how we regulate that asset, and by golly, we are going to follow those rules and ensure the public using our asset follows them, too.
Many of us have become paramilitary organizations with uniforms, high tech electronic equipment, radios, vehicles, and other gizmos that enable us to do our jobs. I think it’s also difficult to remember that those folks using our asset are customers. Because we are rightly concerned with our asset, and possibility because we are forced by circumstances to hire people who may not be on the highest pay scale, we train them to follow the letter of the law, knowing that if we don’t, all control will be lost and the asset could be at risk.
Often we are ‘under’ the local police, but soon realize that we don’t garner much respect from sworn officers, and find out quickly that when an officer is punished, he suddenly moves from patrol to “traffic” or “parking.” We are second class citizens to start with.
When you start with that, it’s pretty hard not to be protective of what we have. You have to respect Brandy and Lindsay. Not only are they asked to do a difficult job with few tools and little money, they probably spend a lot of their time defending their staff from all sorts of abuse, virtually none of it deserved.
Brandy faces the three issues in my Civility blog probably a dozen times a month. In every case, it was obvious that her officer was correct and the parker was in error. She has experienced folks who have nervous breakdowns over a $15 parking ticket, literally. If she doesn’t drink, it’s enough to drive her to the arms of John Barleycorn.
So what to do? First we can assume there is no issue, it’s how it is, assume JVH is completely full of it, and do nothing. After all people are what they are. The world will not stop turning, the sun will come up tomorrow, and we can get on with our lives.
Some say that or jobs are adversarial by definition. I’m not so sure. What is our goal – to change people’s behavior so they are better parking citizens and make em feel good while we do it? If we do our job right, money goes in the meter, people park between the lines, streets are clear for street sweepers, all is right in the parking world. And we don’t write any citations because no one breaks the rules. Parking Nirvana.
I have decided to enter a world I know little about. I have decided to offer solutions to problems I have never experienced. And I expect Brandy and her group to keep be on the right path. I’m calling it A Parking Alternative. It starts tomorrow, here on the blog, and if I have room, I’ll run it in the magazine.
I will muse about problems, and perhaps Brandy will rock me back into the real world – she is good at that. Maybe between the two of us, we can come up with something that will make us all better. She is a pro. She faces these problems every day. Her city is large enough to have all the problems. I’ll start, Brandy can show me how it is in her world. Maybe between the two of us, we can come up with something that will make us all better. Are you game, Brandy?