Anyone one who has the unpleasant task of parking in Oak Park is familiar with the zeal put forth by the Village of Oak Park Parking Enforcement Department. This kind of effort to punish hasn’t been seen since the Inquisition (Spanish or Italian). Josef Stalin would be proud of the commitment put forth by this department.

Anyone who has dared to appeal a violation has learned that the vast majority of appeals are denied (by an Oak Park judge), and then the only recourse is to pay $98 in non-refundable Cook County Circuit Court fees and appear in person (to appeal a $10 or $20 ticket). The absurdity of this reminds me of a Kafka novel where the victim is guilty, doesn’t know the offense, and has no viable option for a hearing or redress.

If you, like me, are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” (Peter Finch must have parked in Oak Park!), here’s a way to fight back:

Every time you are parking and see the Parking Enforcement Department, walk by an expired meter and put in a nickel or a dime and become a “Nickel Friend.” If we, the good citizens of this village, take the responsibility to help out our fellow citizens (and them us) we’ll all be much better off.

And, please, whatever you do, don’t back into a parking place. It’s a ticket, and no one at the Parking Enforcement Department can tell you why you shouldn’t do it (other than the inconvenience of the patrolling officer). Franz Kafka lives!

Let’s work together to minimize the impact of these ridiculous practices, and let’s push for common sense enforcement and protest these draconian procedures.

Name withheld on request

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