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BOTD 12/17/16 GOOD Boy(s) BOTD "Playing Santa" An 18Smacked Production

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
PLAYING SANTA
A "GOOD BOY" BOTD

An 18Smacked Production

You were reading the paper at home when you get a call from a Sgt. Smith at the local Police Dept. It seems that your boys, Seth (14), the twins Max and Mason (12) and Jerry (10) were putting coins in the parking meters that were about to expire along two of the man streets in the town where you live. The Sgt. Says that they were “unlawfully interfering with the city’s putting tickets on cars parked at expired meters.”

The boys tell you that they were ”playing Santa” and helping people have a merry Christmas. They were using coins from their allowance.


SETH - 14, JERRY - 10. MAX - 12, & MASON - 12
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Do you give any sort of argument to the police sergeant, or, how do you tell the boys that they can’t “play Santa" without sounding like Scrooge?


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David M. Katz

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Marshall
I am going to tell my boys how proud I am of their selfless act.

I will suggest to Sgt. Smith that I am sure the local media would love to air the story of how four good boys were stopped from selfless civic minded Christmas activities by the city's desire to fill it's coffers.


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18Smacked

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Cowboy
A CLARIFICATION:

THE POLICE SGT. WAS NOT PRESSING ANY CHARGES AGAINST THE BOYS.

HE DOES WANT THEM TO STOP PLAYING SANTA.

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AFinch

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Sherrif
I agree with David.

That said, I'll retrieve the boys, tell them how proud I am of them. But also tell them that the police have demanded they stop. I may check with an attorney to see whether the police even COULD file charges if they wanted to (I'm guessing not) but regardless, the boys are old enough to learn that some battles really aren't worth fighting, even when you're right.

Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I think that a similar case has already resulted in the court stopping a municipality from interfering with people paying the parking meter as a Good Samaritan Act. If the city doesn't want to end up on the news or even in court, the police will stop this nonsense.

Kat

ivor

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Marshall
There are no meters as such where I live, just Council car parks. For those you have to buy a ticket but in order to get one you have to key in your registration number. This was introduced a few years ago to stop people passing on unexpired tickets to new arrivals.

Where there are meters it is certainly illegal to feed them, but am unsure of the situation with regard to a 3rd party feeding one without your knowledge.

Again here it wouldn't be a police matter but a Council employee checking on payments with the authority to issue fixed penalty fines to transgressors.

As for this situation, I think I'd replenish the coin they've used. Very Happy

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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
They'd soon run out of money in Mayfair - at £4.90 per hour to park at a meter!

My reading of the situation is that the Sergeant is probably slightly amused but can't be seen to be letting them continue their Good Samaritan actions - if only for the sake of their pockets. I'll thank him for contacting me and suggest he sends them on their way and I'll "have a word" with them when they get home.

Jack

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Admin
I actually did a bit of research on this. It seems the rational for these kind of laws, where they exist, is that some meters have a 'maximum stay', and that adding money extends that maximum. The maximum stay meters sound like they're normally in areas of heavy traffic. On the other hand, it also sounds like a lot of times, police are just telling people this without it being so.

I think I would congratulate the boys on their helpfulness, but suggest we find another way to fulfill it.


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18Smacked

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Cowboy
This was really just cooked up in my own head. I had not thought of any particular incident anywhere. I wanted a case of kids doing something nice, but being stopped by someone or some circumstance.  

I do agree with all that I would thoroughly applaud and approve of the boy's generosity and cleverness with the idea and act.

I think I might tell the boys about the Sgt.’s call and suggest that they do their act “under the radar” when there are no police or meter maids around. I would tell them that this was a part of Santa’s “secret work” rather than having them feel they were being sneaky. (Although they are being sneaky about this!) If necessary, I would let the media know about it. And, "yes," as Pi Beta wrote, at some point, given the high cost of feeding meters these days, there are meters here that take credit cards!) their money will run out at some point, and that will end the act.

Quite a while after submitting the scenario, I did vaguely recall a case of this, and that many years ago (long before Internet) I read of a case of this, but I recall it happening during a time other than Christmas – a non-holiday time of year. The boys were just doing it “for fun.” I don’t recall anything else, however.

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StevieWeeks

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Trailboss
Jack wrote: It seems the rational for these kind of laws, where they exist, is that some meters have a 'maximum stay', and that adding money extends that maximum.

That may be the rationale for these laws, but the real reason is revenue collection. Parking fines are a significant source of income for cash strapped cities and what the boys are doing is short - circuiting it, possibly directly affecting the police department and all...

This is not just the case in the US... I once parked my car in Toronto, walked over to the ticket machine to pay, and when I returned with the stub, there was already a fifty dollar ticket on my windscreen... the ticket person was nowhere to be seen... this was literally in a matter of about two minutes..

It seems they 'privatised' the parking ticket collectors...

Stevie...

Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
StevieWeeks wrote:
Jack wrote: It seems the rational for these kind of laws, where they exist, is that some meters have a 'maximum stay', and that adding money extends that maximum.

That may be the rationale for these laws, but the real reason is revenue collection. Parking fines are a significant source of income for cash strapped cities and what the boys are doing is short - circuiting it, possibly directly affecting the police department and all...

This is not just the case in the US... I once parked my car in Toronto, walked over to the ticket machine to pay, and when I returned with the stub, there was already a fifty dollar ticket on my windscreen... the ticket person was nowhere to be seen... this was literally in a matter of about two minutes..

It seems they 'privatised' the parking ticket collectors...

Stevie...

Stevie is absolutely right about the "rationale". Whether someone overstays the maximum time in a parking spot has nothing to do with the time on the meter. Meter readers have a device that paints a mark on the tires. This mark allows the meter reader to gauge the time a car occupied a space by recording when he or she made the mark and then checking back later to see if a marked vehicle is still there.

Kat

Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
I want to redirect the boys generosity to a more appropriate cause.

In my experience, it is not the time (or not) on the parking meter that is the legal item but that parking is time limited.  The parking meter is merely an easy indicator for the traffic enforcement personal.  Long ago a low tech method was just to put a chalk mark on the tire and then check periodically.

Staying over the parking time prevents others from having a fair share of parking.  These shut out people will not, therefore, patronize the local shops.  The owners and employees of the local shops will suffer.

Helping traffic law violators and hurting others is, most assuredly, NOT a proper holiday endeavor.  The sergeant is quite correct.

They need to learn look past the immediate results for the longer term results of their actions.  

Y.

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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
Not always, YL

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/now-its-legal-to-feed-the-meter-7081761.html

Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I stand by my interpretation of meter feeding ordinances: they exist to bring in revenues from fines. They are in the same fine tradition as speed traps.

Kat

Adric

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Cowboy
I'm with the K Club on this one.  I suspect that what the boys are doing is not illegal and if I determine that to be the case I will tell my boys that the police are wrong in this case and what they did is not wrong and not against the law.  I think it is all about collecting more money for the city and nothing else.

Show me the city ordinance that says there are restrictions on who is allowed to put money in a parking meter.

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18Smacked

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Cowboy
Adric wrote:I'm with the K Club on this one.  I suspect that what the boys are doing is not illegal and if I determine that to be the case I will tell my boys that the police are wrong in this case and what they did is not wrong and not against the law.  I think it is all about collecting more money for the city and nothing else.

Show me the city ordinance that says there are restrictions on who is allowed to put money in a parking meter.

I am not disagreeing with all this, but I am just not altogether sure that a good might not be made that what the boys were doing was "Interfering with the duties of the meter maids."

That being said, it is all in the name (more properly, in the cause!) of filling city or town coffers! After all, something needs to pay for these high-tech meters that can use credit cards to pay for parking, and make cellular calls when needing service.

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Adric

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Cowboy
18Smacked wrote:I am not disagreeing with all this, but I am just not altogether sure that a good case might not be made that what the boys were doing was "Interfering with the duties of the meter maids."

I think such a case might be made, but I don't think it is a good case that could hold up in court.  Instead, I think it is an incremental step toward a police state.

That said, I would have to be careful what I tell my boys about the police and how to behave with them.  If a policeman on the street tells them to do something or not do something, they had better comply, especially if their skin is not the right color.  The time to argue with a policeman is in a courtroom, not on the street.  I don't want them to get shot and killed.

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Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
First, let me reiterate that I had not talked about feeding the meters but that there was a good and sound reasons for time limits on parking.  Remove those limits and local business fail and there won’t be any need to have the limits.  And there won’t be anyone who will flout them.  An economic disaster all around.

Second, since the law breaking drivers don’t know that there are meter feeders, they won’t know to not return and feed the meters themselves.

Third, the fines and meter revenue help the city treasury but if the businesses fail then what happens to the tax revenue paid by the business.

Think I’m having a pipe dream (er, nightmare)?  

What happened to little towns when the shops lost their customers to Walmart?  

Hint: The shops failed; people lost jobs; the town gone; some people are minimum pay slaves at ....

Y.

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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
Marginally off topic in response to several of the comments. Here in Northampton, to encourage shoppers back into the town centre, the Borough Council stopped charging for the first two hours of parking in its car parks.

Parking on the streets, controlled by the County Council, does not benefit from this; depending upon the area of the town, there are limits of 30, 60 or 120 minutes - and overstaying is penalised with constant feeding of the metres not permitted.

David M. Katz

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Marshall
In the end, whether the activities are illegal or not, after I tell my boys I am proud of them, I am going to redirect their charitable desires.

I will suggest we take a trip to an Angel Tree or I can help the boys make a contribution to Toys For Tots, Big Brothers, or some similar charity.  If the boys want to explore some non-monetary outlets for their good-hearted ways then I can help arrange for them to help serve at a homeless shelter, food bank, children's hospital, etc.


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18Smacked

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Cowboy
YLee does make an excellent point with respect to the logic for having meters in certain areas. It is true that many folks would park all day in front of shops and thereby discourage others from entering the downtown stores. The point is quite well taken.

Pi Beta does bring up one method that a district has used to address the problem, and, I’d venture to say that what they use has not been with some problems and complaints, and mixed reaction as to its effectiveness. I don’t suppose any method that is employed is without its own associated problems and critics, and even those who try to circumvent the system.

As for the boys, I will certainly take up Ivor's suggestion, and reimburse my boys' allowances when they get home. Excellent suggestion, eben though while I do so, I will remind them that the warm feeling they got when they saw the look of surprise on those who returned to their cars and saw what happened is its own reward for their generosity. Really, they were fortunate if they got that much from their acts!

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tbfyb

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Cowboy
I commend the boys intent -- it is Christmas. I let them know that the Police aren't happy and that, after Christmas, I expect such good deeds to stop. I also suggest that, in the future, they make sure no one is watching when they feed the meter.

Side note: In many places the parking space has a maximum occupancy time. Feeding the meter won't prevent the police issuing a ticket. The police in LA used to mark the tires with chalk and if they came back and found more time on the meter but the tire marking showed that the car had not been moved they would issue a ticket. I worked for the Los Angeles Traffic Courts and the tickets would hold up in court.

18Smacked

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Cowboy
tbfyb wrote:
Side note:  In many places the parking space has a maximum occupancy time.  Feeding the meter won't prevent the police issuing a ticket.  The police in LA used to mark the tires with chalk and if they came back and found more time on the meter but the tire marking showed that the car had not been moved they would issue a ticket.  I worked for the Los Angeles Traffic Courts and the tickets would hold up in court.

Man! They really have a guy (and his car) coming and going; or not - as the case may be!

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squarecutter

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Sherrif
Its nice but I sense a slight anti authority motivation. In my road I have to have an anmual permit for the privelege of parking in the zone my road is in. Recently I forgot to renew and got 4 tickets in 48 hours before I could display my new permit! Ouch! Otherwise there is a pay and display with a 2 hour limit for outsiders. I think I will take my sons home and say its a nice gesture but that the beneficiaries probably wont notice, or thank them and also why the authorities may not appreciate the gesture either. I will reimburse them half the money

18Smacked

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Cowboy
squarecutter wrote:Its nice but I sense a slight anti authority motivation. In my road I have to have an anmual permit for the privelege of parking in the zone my road is in. Recently I forgot to renew and got 4 tickets in 48 hours before I could display my new permit! Ouch! Otherwise there is a pay and display with a 2 hour limit for outsiders. I think I will take my sons home and say its a nice gesture but that the beneficiaries probably wont notice, or thank them and also why the authorities may not appreciate the gesture either. I will reimburse them half the money

I am curious, SQ, were you able to show that you simply hadn't displayed the new permit, and thereby expunge your 4 tickets?

From what I have heard, if, say, one neglects to display one's Handicap Placard, which allows one to park in a Disabled Parking slot, one can show that a valid placard is held, and the penalties will be waived. (In my state only; what happens in other states may vary.)

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