Thursday, December 6, 2018

Parking tickets

One frustration that city managers have is that rules, no matter how petty they may seem to those who lack the history, must be enforced.

Consider handicapped parking places. To somebody in a hurry they may seem like a waste but to somebody who is mobility-impaired they are a necessity. It is impossible for the non-handicapper to see the mobility-impaired person who is unable to park in the place they pirated. The MI person will not enter the store and hunt down the pirate and chew them out.

The cop who is supposed to enforce the handicapped parking rules is in a no-win situation. The person they issue the ticket to will claim, without fail, "Nobody ever parks in that spot. I only needed it for a minute."

Central Michigan University came up with a tunnel through the quandary.

They issue parking tickets but offer $5-to-$15 off when the miscreant makes food donations to the local food banks.

From the standpoint of the cop tasked with enforcing parking laws tickets are no longer joyless "punishment", tickets are acts of charity. A cop can now feel good about writing a ticket because he might be indirectly providing a needy family with boxes of mac-n-cheese or boxes of pancake mix or packages of toilet paper.

The invisible potential mobility-impaired victim is buttressed with a positive act, a recipient of largess.

Well played, CMU. Well played.


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