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The Amateur Parker


The Mysterious City Parking Official


By Melissa Bean Sterzick


I made a statement in my last column that I feel badly about now. I wrote that everybody thinks the people who


run cities are idiots until there is an emergency – and then we think they are superheroes. I do hope the many municipal parking officials


out there liked the superhero part, because that’s absolutely true, and it often happens that city employees do prove themselves heroic in times of cri- sis, but I can see where the idiot part could be upset- ting, or offensive. The reason that many civilians like myself have a


and sidewalks, but not the driveways or the plumbing, and now we miss the trees but can’t say so. It was easy to gripe when we had a beautiful shady neigh- borhood framed by flowering magnolias, despite the jagged side-


negative opinion of city officials and employees, including those who handle parking issues, is because we usually have no idea what to expect from them. And we don’t quite know what they are up against in the complicated arena of city politics, finance, incom- prehensible policies and highly charged egos, although we suspect it’s a big mess. The street I live on is lined with three-story magnolias, with


comparable root systems. One of the regular conversations I have had with my neighbors during the past few years was how short- sighted “the city” had to be to plant a variety of tree that would, without variation, destroy the sidewalks, curbs, driveways, plumbing and streets all around them. We no longer have that conversation because the city ripped out half the trees on our block and repaired all the streets, curbs


The reason that civilians have a negative opinion of city officials and employees, including those who handle parking issues, is because we usually have no idea what to expect from them.


walks and bumpy curbs. Now that we’ve traded one for the oth- er, we aren’t sure it was what we really wanted. It’s not exactly the city’s fault that we are uninformed and


whiny. Many of us are happy to gripe about city policies and practices; however, we do not follow up by participating in city meetings or discussions. People avoid city council meet- ings because these gatherings are deadly dull and held in dingy buildings with rickety chairs, faulty sound equipment and no ventilation.


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