I just can’t figure out why our industry does such a poor job of Public Relations, but we do. Here’s the latest. Read this column in the LA Times.
The columnist knew his task. Take half the column to
describe the poor woman who had been fighting for years simply to stay alive, (she
had many medical problems, most fatal) and then go on to describe the three
minutes of activity of the parking officer in the only light that could
possibility be seen, that of an uncaring ogre who yells at dying crying
Wow, Lets face it; Steve Lopez is good, really good. And
the parking industry is a bunch of uncaring dolts who can’t think for
So Mr. Lopez was able to find one high profile case where
the downtrodden were under the jackboot of the parking industry. I have one
question? Did he try to find any cases where folks weren’t ticketed, or
were given a "pass" for whatever reason?
He says he went out to the area and waited around for a
parking enforcement officer. He notes that people were breaking the law all
over the place, and no one got tickets. Some experts say that 90% of all
parking violations go unticketed. Steve must have missed that fact when
he did his research.
Nuff about that — my problem is that Mr. Lopez is
correct. This is one area where the training of our officers could be
better. The head of enforcement (or whoever) from LA City fumbled his way
through an excuse and then noted that this will be an object lesson in their
next training program.
WOW!! Next training program. An object lesson.
What will be the lesson? Should they wait until the car is empty before writing
the ticket? Should they ignore such situations? Should they be
"nicer" when they start writing? Maybe only one
"honk" of the horn to try to get an occupied car in a no parking zone
How about this: Give Parking Enforcement Officers the
flexibility to not write tickets when there is an obvious issue, like this one.
They can write "warnings" that spell out the problems and possible
fines and these warnings can be kept on file. If a person gets more than so
many, they can then be fined.
In this case, the officer could have parked behind the
offender, gotten off his butt and spoke to the driver. Once he found out what
the problem was, he could have helped the woman out of the car so the husband
could have moved off quickly. Instead, he made the situation worse, blocked
traffic, and caused a "scene."
Oh, one more thing. I wonder about these two doctors
(driver and passenger) in the car. What were they thinking? They drove into the
building’s parking lot and looked for (I assume) free handicapped parking space
and finding none, they drove past probably a dozen pay spaces, went out front,
and parked in the red to unload. Why couldn’t they drive up next to the
elevator or building entrance in the parking area, unload, have the woman
wait there, park the car, and then proceed? I must have missed that part
of the process. Of course, Mr. Lopez, having an "anti-parking"
agenda, didn’t ask any of those questions either.
I have the greatest sympathy for the wife, and understand
that they were on a very difficult mission. (The signing of her will).
However until Steve Lopez got into the act, no one else in the process knew
this background. Nevertheless, I have to side with the driver on this one.
We need to build flexibility into our enforcement AND we
need to train our officers in a bit of customer relations and service.
Houston is doing this; the
rest of the country needs to get on board.
Oh, I think the comment by the officer is classic:
"Cars get tickets, people don’t get tickets." I wonder who taught him
that little tidbit. Is that part of the training program in LA?