I had a nice visit with my parents the other night. They live in a condo in a nice Oak Park neighborhood just north of Lake Street near the post office and the library. It’s full of condo buildings with people my parents’ age, more or less. My folks are around 90 years old. In my visit, we had a wonderful talk about old times and music and faith and how to remember the important things about our lives together. It was a rich conversation, one of those moments we all value highly.

So I stayed a little longer. On coming outside to my car, I found a ticket. Apparently in this neighborhood, my folks are not allowed visitors past a certain hour. There is a tax – a parking ticket – assessed if you visit your elderly folks past some sort of locally determined curfew. My car was the only one on the gloriously empty street (Erie) on that block, so I sure wasn’t depriving some local apartment dweller of a spot.

So I have to ask – what the hell is this about? I will visit my folks during these precious final years whenever I want to. Why does Oak Park levy a tax on this? It cannot be about funding important services because, while I resent it a lot, this is not much public income. So it has to be a public-policy decision. There is some important public policy being enforced here. What is it? Can it be amended in some way to allow me to visit my folks without paying a fee?

John Bouman

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