“Amnesty” or Validation

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“Amnesty” or Validation

With all the talk about amnesty these days, its difficult to have the conversation when it comes to parking. I have been opposed to parking ticket amnesty generally. The concept that a person simply has to wait a year or so and then they will have their fines and fees absolved attacks my concept of fair play. Some of us play by the rules, others don’t.

In the City of St. Petersburg they have an “amnesty” program that is really a type of validation. If you park downtown and get a ticket, you can bring the ticket in with proof that you spent $25 downtown on that day and have your ticket voided. The problem I have is that this program doesn’t go far enough.

The basic idea is a good one. But this isn’t really “amnesty” it’s a validation that means someone else will pay for your ticket. (Taxpayers in this case.) However the program works only once. If I come down town to shop and get more than one ticket, the second one won’t be absolved. Hmmm. If I don’t understand the program I will be upset and the entire deal will be turned against the city, and the merchants.

It seems to me there must be a way for the merchant to “validate” parking so the parker doesn’t have to pay to park downtown. If the city used pay by cell, perhaps the merchant could enter a code to mark the customer’s vehicle as “paid.” The same could work for Pay by space. On line meters could be handled the same way and the meter marked “paid” by the merchant. (Parker gives them the meter number.)

I believe the merchant should pay for the parking they validate, perhaps at a reduced rate but they should pay. This would prevent abuse and generate revenue needed to maintain the parking program.

My ideas are a little fuzzy – input anyone?

JVH

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John Van Horn

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