Finally, something that can bring gentrifiers and Mexicans together in downtown SanTana: the area's jacked-up parking situation.
This year, the SanTana City Council put in those newfangled parking meters that have sensors monitoring when cars come and go, the better to reset lest a car gets a free 15 minutes or so; this fall, those meters saw parking increase from 75 cents an hour to $1.50, plus a maximum of two hours for cars to stay in one parking space from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., then a max of three hours from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.--as opposed to the previous rules of unlimited stays, and free parking after 8 p.m.
The move--which essentially makes the daytime crowd hurry up their lunch or shopping, and generally forces folks to pay in the downtown's parking structure--is enraging restaurant and business owners, which have been meeting with city officials trying to convince them to change the rules. But far more infuriated is the camera-wielding public.
Late last month, La Opinión covered the travails of Igmar Rodas, who claimed that Central Parking System meter maids--the private firm contracted by SanTana since 2013 to enforce parking regulations instead of the city's police deparment--were handing out tickets even at meters that still had time left. Rodas videotaped what he said is proof:
That followed a similar video shot in September by artist Victor Payan, which also shows an asshole meter maid:
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"Central Parking is so harsh, that they're scaring away customers," says one business owner, who requested anonymity lest they get ticketed. " What [city manager David] Cavazos doesn't understand is that this is hurting us. People are not going to want to come if they're going to get a ticket because they didn't finish a drink in time."
We at the Weekly have always hated meter maids, because to paraphrase the old Woody Allen joke: Those who can't, become police officers; those who can't become police officers, become meter maids. No? Anyhoo, let's hope some civil disobedience happens or some shit to stop this madness...