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Get it right

STEPHEN POORMAN

Lock Haven

In response to Mr. Scott Knisely’s Sept. 1 letter, “Parking enforcement plus,” lets correct the myths:

1. I didn’t compare our recent 400 percent parking hikes, 3 tickets a day or booting cars to a Philadelphia suburb which has 3.5 times the number of people in its municipality and more than 20 times the number of people in its county! Norristown parking rates have nothing to do with Lock Haven rates even now with two meter officers who can issue four tickets a day under its new law.

2. Judge Salisbury applied the law as it lies. I’d like to change the law. Left standing, a citizen cannot force local government to obey its own laws and that fosters discrimination. The Judge went far beyond any requirement when he kindly offered to mediate. I agreed and the City turned it down. Therefore, I expect to appeal to The Commonwealth Court.

3. Next Mr. Knisely claims I own the building next to The Main Street Grill. It is owned by a Delaware corporation in which I hold no equity.

4. He says I own all of the junk inside. None of it is mine.

5. He claims that I do not get parking tickets. A call to City Hall would reveal that I may hold the record for tickets with at times, three a day.

6. He infers that I shouldn’t park on Main Street with my foreign car. I do it because only 44 percent of the spaces are used, according to the City’s own data.

Last week we took a guest from the Midwest to a downtown restaurant. She got out of the car and started to laugh, “Oh my God, what’s this? You still have parking meters? That’s unbelievable!”

It’s one thing to have parking meters, and another to have some that cheat you on time.

When I filed a lawsuit to force the city to inspect and/or cite a local hotel, I also filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to enforce the Fire and Panic Act and The Pennsylvania Weights and Measures Inspectors to enforce meter inspections. Here are more facts:

1. The state determined it would allow local codes departments to enforce its new laws to approve plans and inspect buildings; I say they failed miserably.

2. The state determined it would allow cities to inspect and calibrate their own parking meters; I say they failed miserably.

Harrisburg did this to save state funds while placing the burden on small communities. But, here’s the problem: They can’t, and they aren’t, doing it effectively.

Very recently, I heard from a very knowledgeable inspector for weights and measures who will, given my complaint, conduct a test on Lock Haven meters no later than Sept. 15. And he indicated that, after my public cries for compliance with laws, the city called to request a “retraining session” since Robert Aungst, the former calibrator, retired.

He also said that our city intends to purchase more meters! He indicated that since Harrisburg thrust this burden onto rural communities, many of the analog meters are highly miscalculated. They found that 20 percent of Bloomburg’s meters were not giving people the time they paid for! A parking meter, like a gas pump, is not allowed any deviation. Interestingly, he said that his hometown ripped them all out because they’re only a “money maker.”

Ourr city needs parking meters like its residents need another 16 percent tax hike because it appears to be losing money only to employ staff. They placed parking meters in front of apartments from Jay to Henderson.

This is outrageous.

So, while there is a legal technicality standing in the way of making the city behave itself, I’ve not exhausted all remedies.

Let’s pray for hurricane victims, and pray that our local government leaders come to their senses and actually change our downtown environment to support small business owners.

As far as Mr. Knisely is concerned, I’ve never met the man. It’s wonderful that he is ultra wealthy, but until you’ve tried to scrape out a living in a small business, or rent an apartment with meters in front of the building, you can’t appreciate the positions that I champion.

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