Aggressive ticketing drives away more business than smoking

Opinion

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Well, the aggressive meter personnel struck again!

Here are the facts:

A friend of mine from Chicago and I decided to go to dinner on Saturday night, Jan. 29, at a local downtown restaurant. He was driving his car with a Chicago sticker on it. We parked in the village lot just east of Marion on North Boulevard. It was dark (around 6:00 p.m.) and there was still snow on the ground. My friend found a vacant spot and backed into the parking spot?#34;big mistake?#34;since he got a $20 citation for "backing" into the spot.

Needless to say, this "backing" citation makes no sense to either of us and I have lived in Oak Park for almost 20 years now and have experienced first-hand the rigidity of the "parking rules"?#34;but this one goes beyond reason?#34;given the time of day, amount of snow, and the fact that this wasn't even an Oak Park car.

The village is currently haggling over a no smoking ordinance and many businesses are upset that this will drive business away if this ordinance is passed.

I'm here to tell you that the citation for backing into a spot will certainly drive my friend's business away from any Oak Park restaurant in the downtown area. Both of us are non-smokers and I, for one, would always give preference to a non-smoking restaurant. But no more if I or any one of my friends has to park in a lot that is patrolled by aggressive meter personnel.

I would suggest that instead of issuing tickets like this, more time should be spent actually going after real driving offenders, e.g. especially those people who think nothing of parking illegally in a no parking area in front of the Starbucks near the Lake Theater, the village could make up any deficit it has by issuing tickets for these drivers.

Meter personnel?#34;go there instead of roaming the other parking lots looking for "backers."

Dennis R. Celeschi
Oak Park

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