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:
"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…