Monday, December 02, 2002

I read with interest this letter in today's e-mail dispatch from the Daily Cardinal, one of the University of Wisconsin newspapers:

To The Editor:

I know parking is horrible on campus, and there is a need for parking enforcement--but these guys have gone way too far. I live across the street from the Islamic center on Orchard street, and many cars were parked in a "private property" parking lot where the Budget Bicycle Center is. Sadly, there was a funeral in progress and they were wheeling out a coffin to the coffin car [

And who is there handing out parking tickets to about 70 mourning people? Madison Parking Enforcement.

They had no sympathy or regard for these people, and even handed out tickets to crying people who were getting into their cars to head out to the funeral procession. Hey Madison Parking Enforcement, I hope you have a nice time roasting to a nice crisp in Hell.

Richard Yu
UW-Madison junior

I too have felt the blunt end of Madison Parking Enforcement. Madison is one of those few cities lucky enough not to have much crime, so the authorities have plenty of resources for parking enforcement. Which is fine. Laws are laws.

But the parking enforcement people are really compulsive, alarmingly compulsive. They always, always, always ticket. They scrutinize. They lecture. They stake out. And, after they ticket, they mail a letter to the unlucky motorist. They know exactly where we are.

This surprised me, coming from Chicago, where the state apparatus's parking tactics are rather less intimidating, probably because the city bureaucracy is too inept or corrupt to muster a lot of aggression. (I blush to report that I took a casual attitude toward paying parking tickets in Chicago: I paid the ones I thought I really deserved.)

This said, I also have discovered what happens if I blow off Madison parking tickets: they suspend my registration. Ouch. Needless to say, I've paid all my parking tickets and learned to park on the right side of the street. The way the authorities like it. Nice and orderly.

But I'm not surprised to learn the city was ticketing mourners. Which brings to mind an old joke, one I'll paraphrase: What's the difference between a Madison wedding and a Madison funeral? One less car to park.

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