Honor Box, Missing Comma, Wonderful Valets


Honor Box, Missing Comma, Wonderful Valets

 Here’s the deal — a blogger in LA wrote a story about parkers being cited when they parked at an honor box lot and didn’t pay.  The fellow who got the ticket readily admitted he didn’t pay, but thought the operation looked “dodgy.”  
The blogger discovered that only government agencies (in California) can write parking tickets. Therefore, the lot owner who writes tickets is doing so illegally, so “feel free to ignore them.” Which means that, just as our “dodgy” hero above, anyone could just park their cars and not pay at honor lots.
But here’s the rub. Lot owners can “tow” cars that are not paid. So what would you rather do: Pay a $50 ticket or $250 to get your towed car back?  
Of course, it’s not really that simple.
Writing a ticket is relatively easy.  If you are high-tech, you just hook a printer to your   smartphone, download an app, and you are off into the ticket writing sunset. 
To tow, you have to stand there and wait for the tow truck to be sure the right car is towed. Maybe the parker will return before the towing company arrives, and you will have one ticked-off tow truck driver. And if there are, say, five cars that haven’t paid, you simply ticket five cars. Towing them could take hours.
I wonder where people’s heads are.  You park, knowing that there is a fee, but don’t pay, and then when you are caught, boom, you are incensed that you actually have to pay a fine. What’s that all about?
I love this comment from one of the readers of the blog:
What makes the ticket from the city any more “real?” The fact that they have the guns to enforce them? I would rather pay a private property owner the fine if I violated their terms than pay the city to prevent the eventuality of them pulling me over, trying to take my property, and likely injuring, imprisoning, or even murdering me if I try to defend it. No private parking lot owner is going to do that. Not one that will be in business for very long, anyway.
Maybe “murdering” is a bit over the top, but I can understand where she is coming from.
Perhaps it’s time to change the laws a bit so private lot owners can write tickets if necessary. We have private firms working for the city writing tickets, and know that often they don’t do exactly the best job. What’s the harm?
Editor Astrid Ambroziak has a tremendous link over at PT’s Parknews.biz: 
Missing Comma Gets Woman Out Of A Parking Ticket. (“Let’s eat, Grandpa” – “Let’s eat Grandpa”!) Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. 
Seems that the ticket was for parking more than 24 hours in a zone that didn’t allow a “motor vehicle camper.” The Ohio woman had a truck. She said that there needed to be a comma between the words vehicle and camper.  The judge agreed. Strunk & White aren’t the only the law on commas.
There is a great story about a panda that walked into a bar, had a salad, pulled out a gun, shot out the mirror, and then walked out.  
The headline was: Panda Eats, Shoots and Leaves
The next day, the panda came into the bar, had its salad, and walked out. The headline was: Panda Eats Shoots and Leaves.
Funny things, those commas.  Many people use too many; I usually use too few.
Grammar is always fun.  I love dangling participles. The most famous is the tag line on the original “Star Trek” TV series – “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Lest ye forget, “To” and “Before” are participles, and Gene Roddenberry got one right and dangled another in the same sentence.  
(He also split an infinitive – “To boldly go” – but I’m not going to get into that fight. There is no agreement as to whether splitting infinitives is proper; it seems that it’s OK if it sounds right.) 
And then there is that famous Diana Ross song: “Do you know where you’re goin’ to?” But would it sound right: “Do you know to where you’re going?”
British PM Winston Churchill had no truck with silly participle rules. He was a master at spoken, as well as written, prose. When making a correction on the margin of a particularly pedantically written document, he sarcastically wrote: “This is English up with which I will not put.”
I drove with family and friends to the Independence Day Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl. As I have commented here before, the Bowl is stack parking on steroids. You are in your area until the folks in front of you are out.
As we drove into the lot, attendants were directing the cars to places where they could park. The driver in front of me stopped and began a long speech to the attendant about who he was and where he should park. He was demanding to be put in the front row, rather than the next open space like the rest of us.  
This went on for some time until he gave up and parked. When I got to the attendant, I said, with a smile, as I pulled in behind the offending driver:  “Hey, I want to park in the front. I drive a fancy car and deserve a better space.” 
His boss heard me and laughed. He then told the attendant: “I like this guy. Put him down front.”
The attendants escorted us to the front of the line. Put us in a position that we were not blocked and would be among the first out. The offending parker was fuming.
Parking attendants are human, too. A joke and a little kindness go a long way. We got home a half-hour earlier than normal, thanks to the brilliant parking staff at the Hollywood Bowl.
The NPA Convention & Expo is in Miami Beach this year, just before Labor Day (http://weareparking.org/?page=NPA_Convention). It looks like a super event. See you there.
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