The city of Los Angeles has a program that issues placards (for $100 each per year) to media so they can park for free when in the line of duty. You can read about it here. The article infers that the placards allow the media to park illegally:
One recent ticket — carrying a $53 fine for being in a loading zone on Broadway — was slapped on Leonard’s windshield directly above the city’s media parking placard. Under the “comments” section of the ticket, the enforcement officer wrote: “media placard displayed/no visible activity.”
There are over 600 of these placards issued. What a crock. It also seems that PEOs need to be trained to determine whether or not a media type is hot on a story, or simply having lunch.
This entire program is an obvious attempt by the city government to curry favors with the media. Although I have had my disagreements with the LA Times, it has taken the high road on this one:
Reporters and photographers for The Times do not participate in the program; they pay to park at metered spaces or in commercial lots and are reimbursed by the newspaper. The paper does not pay for parking tickets.
As it should be. There is a simple solution – have media pay for parking and be reimbursed by their employers. It’s a cost of doing business. They might argue that the minute it takes to feed the meter might make them late for a scoop, but so be it. Are they allowed to speed, run red lights, or stop signs when in pursuit of a story?
Satellite trucks with the station logos on them might be an exception, since they require more space and often need to be near an event. However there would be no problem determining if there was a newsworthy activity going on, or if they were simply parked in front of a restaurant where the driver was having lunch.
Freebies for parking, or anything else for that matter, is absurd. It causes more problems than it helps. Do away with the program and get the parking enforcement staff out of the business of making “news” decisions.