5 Minutes For 75 Years? Thanks For Nothing Mayor!
Daley’s Parking Meter Grace Period Expires In 14 Months
Or, at least next to nothing.
I’m sure you and your administration think this alleged five minute grace period for expired meter violations was just a swell idea.
I bet you and your City Hall chums are patting yourselves on the back for the incredible largesse you’ve bestowed on your driving constituents, when the City Council passed your meter grace period ordinance Wednesday.
My guess is you feel this is some sort of generous and gracious gesture on your part to placate a contingent of voters that’s a teensy weensy peeved by the the meter lease deal.
Unfortunately for you, the lease deal was just the flash point on a citizenry that has been angrily stewing over higher retail sales taxes, millions of dollars of red light camera tickets, a substantial increase in parking ticket and booting enforcement and zero property tax relief, all in the midst of a brutal recession.
This pithy peace offering to drivers is the action of a desperate administration. An administration that royally screwed up when they literally sold off the city’s parking meters for 75 years, jacked up rates by 500% in under 12 months and completely enraged an already frustrated and over taxed constituency.
If the Mayor’s poll numbers weren’t so low, if voters weren’t so angry, if it didn’t look like a five-gallon bucket of red ink had just been dumped on the pages of the budget, this lame attempt at placating Chicago drivers would never have occurred.
Sure, it sounds very generous on the surface.
Drivers get one free pass every year if they’re less than five minutes late getting back to their car and are issued a parking ticket for an expired meter violation.
But the reality is, it’s typical Chicago Machine sleight of hand. It’s a ruse, a trick, a scam.
The ordinance doesn’t really give motorists any grace period at all.
The law only gives motorists a legal mechanism to get one expired meter ticket dismissed per year, when the violation was issued within five minutes of the time on the receipt.
There is nothing in the law that actually prevents ticket writers from issuing expired meter violations the second a meter receipt’s time is up.
The burden is placed firmly on the shoulders of the driver to dispute the ticket. The vehicle owner still has to exert the time and energy to fight it. It’s not instantaneous. It’s not simple. It’s really not that easy. In fact, it’s just another hoop for drivers to jump through just to get even a whiff of a break from the city.
If the Mayor was sincere in his attempt to make amends with voters, he would have simply introduced a simple five-minute grace period on meter violations.
A grace period that would legally prevent any person writing tickets on behalf of the city from issuing an expired meter violation until a full five minutes after the meter receipt expired. Then, any ticket “mistakenly” issued for a meter violation before that five minute period had passed, could be immediately non-suited (thrown out) by simply mailing a copy of the meter receipt with the ticket to the Dept. of Revenue.
Daley’s ordinance is too clever by quarter.
Straight forward meter grace periods are already in place in other major American cities. The New York City City Council just recently passed a 5-minute grace period ordinance, overwhelmingly (47-2) overriding the veto of Mayor Bloomberg. Boulder, CO has had a law like this on the books since 2006. And in 2004 Miami went as far as to implement a ten minute grace period.
But, Mayor Daley, we know you’re not sincere. You can’t be. Because when we read the municipal code, one very interesting detail jumps out.
This grace period is only temporary.
It expires April 1, 2011.
Coincidentally, just weeks after the 2011 Mayoral election.
5 minutes for 75 years?
No thanks Mayor. It’s still a terrible deal for Chicago drivers.
Mayor Daley, despite your feeble attempts to pacify Chicagoans, I think your time has expired.