Sep 23, 2009

The Monster's Bounty

The Parking Authority, beside the prison, is the only growth industry in Allentown. Donny Cunningham, who is a little Eddie Rendell in training pants, wants some of the monster's loot. The Authority writes over 100,000 tickets a year, mostly to low income center city residents and hapless shoppers trying to patronize Hamilton Street. Although most pay at gestapo headquarters, and the rest get burped in district court, constables chase down the remaining 25%. Constables are mostly paid out of costs put on the defendant's bill. Don Bureaucrat Cunningham inserted a clause in his new budget to hire more County Deputies to collect this $1.7 million dollars, earning about $360k in fee's. In an article in today's Morning Call by Robert Orsenstein, Constable Association President Thomas Impink is quoted about the irony of some governments privatizing functions to save money, while Lehigh County seeks to take over something already privatized. Cunningham will hire five new Deputies, although Constables pay their own insurance and support staff. Although those opposed to this scheme will have to make their feelings known very quickly to County Commissioners, there is an opportunity today to confront The Monster itself.

Craig Friebolin asks all citizens of common sense and fairness to join him today at 4:00 pm as he confronts the Parking Authority at its Board Meeting, 10th and Hamilton Streets.


Anonymous said...

I agree the authority needs some reform, and the vast majority of parking meters should be removed, but now you're bringing the county's constable proposal into the picture. I don't completely buy the constables' privatization argument, not when the taxpayers subsidize some of their expenses, like vehicle mileage. Also, I think the constables need some oversight. Some of those "independent contractors" act more like bounty hunters.

Scott Ott said...

Michael, I heard the constables' presentation at the county budget hearing meeting last week. Unless there's something Don Cunningham isn't telling us, it seems like common sense to use contractors who charge only for results, rather than to bring that task in house and assume the ongoing care and feeding, nursing and retirement of full-time government employees. I won't speculate about motivations, but if I were Lehigh County Executive, I'd be focused on how to reduce spending by some 18 percent to bring the budget into balance and thus to avoid a large tax increase in 2011 when Mr. Cunningham will have spent all of our reserve funds.

Scott Ott, candidate
Lehigh County Executive

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of the parking authority, but a meter is a meter, feed it. If you can afford a car, you can afford the meter. Read the signs, I've been hit with street sweeping tickets having parked right behind the sign. MY BAD. Again, if you can't read or follow the rules you probably shouldn't be driving in the first place.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:55, it would be inappropriate for the parking authority to install meters on 25th st. between tilghman and highland street. it is likewise inappropriate for the authority to maintain meters where there has not been commerce for 25 years.

ironpigpen said...

I have gotten parking tickets.

Whose fault? --- Mine. (we'll just keep that amongst ourselves - officially speaking, I am quite certain I was a victim of targeted oppression)

ANON 7:55 is all over this one, in my opinion.

ironpigpen said...

Meters should not be in exclusively residential neighborhoods (like your example), no question.

Especially in a neighborhood like that where the people already spend a buck for property tax.

I also think, if you have a business district (downtown Allentown) that struggles to attract people wishing to spend money, perhaps it is not wise to shake people down for excessive parking fees.

City IS desperate for cash, however.

Tough one, for the business district aspect of it.

Volvo Driving Soccer Mom said...

did anyone go to the parking meeting at 4 PM? I would like to know what happened.
I park downtown for work, and I have received a ticket or two ;-)

Personally, I think if you were to abolish meters everywhere but Hamilton Street, and do zero tloerance of all the idiot double parking by miscreants, you would get plenty of money.

Anonymous said...

Ironpigpen said:

"Especially in a neighborhood like that where the people already spend a buck for property tax."

I'm not sure where you live, but if you think that other areas of the city are getting some kind of tax break, think again.

I live in a twin home (not in the West End) with my family. Our street frontage (and total land) is only a fraction of what those in the West End have but the taxes are nowhere near proportional.

Yes, the West End homes are paying more in total taxes. But if I were to measure the taxes by land mass or street frontage, it's not the West Enders who "already spend a buck for property tax". It's all the rest of us.

michael molovinsky said...

i did not attend the meeting, perhaps we will get a note from craig. i would be surprised if any public beyond him and his posse showed up, it's very difficult to moblize people

Craig Friebolin said...

Checking in...
I went to my first APA Board Meeting and it went as well as expected. Admittedly I was lost while listening to the majority of the meeting as they talked about some old and new business. My ears perked up when I heard about new construction, then about a new lot(I think?), and then 1 million dollar credit line they're applying for.

Then it was my turn to be “talked over” … I presented a few examples and arguments to try and make a case but nobody was really listening … just arguing with me and blaming the State or telling me I’m raising points that should be made in front of City Council. All and all the people in the room felt they were doing no wrong to spite the fact that they couldn’t or wouldn’t answer my lead question; “What public service does the Allentown Parking Authority Provide?”

I had about a dozen or so items I wanted to address but after being sidetracked by comments like; “The Parking Authority is a necessary evil … without it there would be chaos” (apparently chaos only happens between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm .. but stops when they close) … I left … went home … and waited for my “Right to Know” response from APA Executive Director Tamara Weller. Which I got and will be posting the information on the new website I’m working on (dedicated to taking on the Allentown Parking Authority):

It’ll take a while but I think I can get enough people to mobilize and join me in getting some results

Anonymous said...

I just made a page i thought you might like to add your comments on: