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I live in the belly of the beast. They were shooting a movie

next door yesterday. Did I walk the dog through the set to see who was starring? Of course, I’m not dead. That’s what Holly- wood is all about, being bigger than life. And who wants to miss out? I spent a Sunday a few weeks ago at the Oscars, brushing shoulders with valets and stars in the arrivals area – getting the “feel” of it for an article in April’s PT. However, my guess is that Chevrolet much prefers to see

the stars of the new “Hawaii Five-O” driving the Camaro alongWaikiki than seeing a Caprice wrap around a tree at 100 mph. They pay a lot for that long shot of “Danno” leaping out of the sexy muscle car, and frankly, I want to drive one so I can look just like him. Chevrolet, or its ad agency, knows a lot about product placement. Federal Signal, parent of Federal APD, makes, among

other things, light bars that go atop police vehicles. These are extremely important to police chiefs and one of the items that separates “hick” departments from professional ones. Feder- al pays good money to be certain that when you see flashing lights in a police chase on the silver screen or on TV, it’s one of theirs. So, what do we see when it’s about parking? Murder,

mayhem, lost cars, valets taking wild rides and stealing; PEOs giving citations to priests who are inside giving Last Rites; serial killers living on “P2”; the opening scene of “NCIS” prov- ing the point that PEOs are jaded; and, of course, residents of Philly and Detroit losing it over a boot or a ticket for blocking a driveway; or in the latest media blitz, taking away reserved spaces from movie moguls. Sorry, to me that just doesn’t put forth the best foot. I don’t know what it would take for the industry to coor-

dinate with the location directors here in LALAland to maybe have a few scenes shot in a garage with parking guidance reflecting the ease of finding a space, or stressing the benefit of checking for parking violations in the area of a crime (can any- one say “Son of Sam”). What about if “Harry Met Sally” in front of a P-and-D

machine, and they fell in love while paying for parking? How about a series about a PI who runs a parking garage by day and solves crimes by night? And remember that “CSI: Miami” solved a crime with a Photo Violation Parking Meter. What if those new sensors in the street in San Francisco

were able to tell just how long a car was in a space and that bit of info solved a crime? I loved the scene in “I, Robot” when the car is grabbed by the garage and parked. That can happen in real life in New York City. Why not in a movie that isn’t fanta- sy, but reality? It just seems to me that taking a more positive approach,

particularly as an industry, would be preferable to screaming, cursing customers and how well we deal with them. Don’t get me wrong. There will never be a series about good things that happen in parking; it will never be “green-lighted” over at Fox or Paramount. However, subtle positives can find their way in, if they

have some help. But, then, I’m in media. If it bleeds, it leads. I just think it’s

time we in the parking industry started driving pop culture, instead of pop culture driving us. But what do I know? I write detective stories about all the problems in parking.

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