It’s Monday in downtown Santa Barbara, but it’s not a normal Monday filled with the regular hustle and bustle of delivery trucks, business people, mail delivery, and city workers. It’s Memorial Day. You could say the streets are quiet, save for the visitors and locals alike who fill restaurants and shops. Banks, offices, and government buildings are closed. Even the Police Department is closed—but parking enforcement is still working.
This Memorial Day you can’t look down a city street without finding sprouts of bright green tickets poking out from the windshields of vehicles guilty of “overtime parking.” It’s surprising to see so many tickets when there is such little motor activity on the streets and there is plenty of parking everywhere. Yet for some reason the Santa Barbara Police Department has decided to issue the unsuspecting visitors and residents who are out actually spending money in our community silly, unnecessary, and obtuse fines of $50 each. Since the parking offenders never saw it coming, maybe the SBPD should have included a card that read: “Thanks for visiting Santa Barbara. Come back soon.” to soften the blow.
Is this what happens when a city is in debt? When it comes time to choose the distribution of city personnel, do “easy fines win every time?”—Christian Maurer