In the beginning, there were angry residents. Angry about parking. Angry at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Angry at Fenwick High School. And, a number of years back, they were beginning to get buzzed off at the village government, too, since it wouldn’t solve their reasons for being angry at the two high schools.

Any of this sound familiar? What’s that ringing in my ears? Egads: Another go round over parking. What to do. What to do!

I’m going to write this entire column without mentioning my perspective – bias? No, couldn’t be – that when you move near a high school, you might anticipate that the neighborhood’s going to be lousy with high school kids. Too many cars. Lights in the stadium. Stupid boys trying to impress girls. Various hijinks. Perhaps an illicit substance now and then.

Instead, I’m going to offer historical perspective since I am really old. Way back when the village decided to quiet the high school area homeowners by dealing with the parking habits of our youth, the village’s goal was to find a place to park the cars that didn’t make the homeowners madder.

The basic solution was to use the existing east-west streets around each school as de facto parking strips. Since 99 percent of homes in the village face on to the north-south streets, the east-west streets sat largely unoccupied.

In those days, way back in the past century, Oak Park was rich. So it didn’t set out to make much money from the Oak Park family, the River Forest family, the Darien family, who had an extra car sitting around and bequeathed it to Junior so he could tool to school. Oak Park officials just wanted the homeowners off their back.

The street was just sitting there empty. Print up a few permits. Voilà. The screaming stopped.

Now the second depression has come. Why families still own three cars in the middle of the second depression I’m not clear about. But they seem to. And they still want to have Little Miss drive to school. But the village is broke. And cranky. So now it wants some real money to park on its/our empty streets. “Who do they think pays to pave these streets!” said one overwrought village official last week, as this story seized the day on our Web site and the angry comments flooded in.

As we noted in last week’s editorial, no one begrudges the village raising the price of a permit by a few bucks. That’s just common sense. It was setting up a higher rate for those who dared to cross Harlem Avenue from other places, from places with such strange names as River Forest, that set off the chatter.

Now it’s impossible to tell whether village folks are more hacked off at rich River Foresters for being irate at paying an extra nickel to park at their high school or at OPRF, just on the general principal that they have millions in the bank while the village is looking for loose change in the couch to pay for the parking garage that it built at the school.

Just a reminder that solving the parking problem was the original goal, and a worthy one, too. Creating class warfare, even between the upper classes, is seldom a winning strategy.

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Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...