Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nonsensical City

There was a news item in my area about how the city was 'losing' $300,000 or so a year because it doesn't properly follow up on parking tickets. Downtown parking is a strange algamation of public/private concerns, and they inadvertantly made the process of booting a car for not paying tickets hard for the city to do.

Now, suppose I went round the city putting little sticky notes on people's windshields that had dollar figures on them and at the end of the week, I tallied up the number of sticky notes, multipied that by whatever dollar figure I had put on the sticky note, and then proclaimed to the press I had 'lost' $300,000 or so because of my inability to hold people's cars hostage until they paid whatever it said on my sticky note.

Clearly, my suggestion that I had lost money would be, to say the very least, inaccurate. The city, of course, is indeed losing money, but it's not the imagined $300,000 they are trying to make real via extortion; rather, it's the much larger price we pay for meter maids, bureacrats, and other ancillary people who are a part of the highly ineffective parking mafia.

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