Saturday, June 27, 2009

Parking Violations

For years the City of Woodstock, through its police department, has been blind to certain parking violations, such as the one shown in this photograph. Parking on the "parkway" (in the right-of-way - between the street and the sidewalk) is illegal. Vehicles at 931 Clay Street are frequently parked in this manner.

Although the law has existed for years in the City Code, has it been routinely enforced? Even when a resident complains about a given location, enforcement is not even. An officer might pay a visit on the offending property owner, who probably assures the officer that "it won't happen again." And then the next day or night it does.

If the resident doesn't complain about recurring violations, that's the end of it.

It should not be necessary for the resident to become the "policeman" or to have to nag the police department. The officers should know the City Code, and they should enforce it. When they spot cars on the parkway or blocking sidewalks, make one contact with the property owner. Explain the law. Write a warning ticket. Next time? Issue a citation. And the next time? Issue another citation. Sometimes, that's all that people understand.

Could it be that officers are told not to enforce some laws, because "residents might get mad at the police department"? If residents are going to get mad at someone, they should get mad at the City Council. The P.D. is only the agent of the City in enforcing the laws.

Enforcement should be even across all areas of the City. Low-income residents should not be targeted. Wealthy residents should not be ignored.

Repeat offenders should be dealt with promptly.

Police Chief Lowen referred to the "broken window" theory, when he first arrived in Woodstock. It's a solid theory. You address and fix small problems, and then they don't become big problems.


Karen12359 said...

Question. Why on earth would someone park like that? Do they think the chances of it being hit are less if it's off the road?
Please explain.

woodstockres said...

We saw you Gus, in action, snapping pictures up in the 900 to 1200 blk of Clay St. Then when you starting circling Olsen Play Park, I had a few of the mothers there asking if maybe that was a PEDIFILE snapping all those snap shots. I told them no, thats just Gus Philpot who thinks hes an "advocate" for Woodstock. I went on to tell them that he rents an apartment on Lake Ave, doesn't pay taxes, probably lives off the government and "gripes" about everything! We are sick of you Gus. If you get so upset about all the "violations" I have an easy solution, MOVE!!!!!!

Gus said...

woodstockres, it would have been easy to delete your comment and not pass it through for posting, but there is a reason I am allowing it to appear. Now I can identify you.

As you well know, I wasn't "circling" Olson Park. I wasn't photographing kids. And I challenge you to call the Woodstock Police Department, provide your identification, and identify the "few of the mothers" who asked you such a question.

When you make an accusation like that, you had better have proof. As a matter of fact, I may just be at Olson Park today with a police officer in tow and have him identify you for a court action involving disorderly conduct or libel.

I saw you clearly on the northwest corner of Clay and Bagley with what was a small object in your hand. Was I alarmed and disturbed, believing my peace to be breached, when you aimed that object at me as I drove by?

Another Lawyer said...

Just a suggestion: When you get a comment from a crazy, probably the better response it to let it speak for itself. To respond to it does two things you don't want to do. #1 lend credence to their view (or otherwise why would you have counter attacked). #2 Lowers your standing (we all pick the level at which we live by who we will engage in an argument with). Typically, I don't argue with 4 year olds--and people wouldn't expect me to.

Gus said...

Another Lawyer, your suggestion is a good one. In the past, I have not responded to such accusations and inferences, because they have been anonymous.

In this case, I can identify the woman on the corner. And, through her, the police could, if asked, identify her friends.

You are right, and I appreciate your comment.

Phil Guspott said...

Gus, I happened to see you driving near the park yesterday, and I do have to admit that, for all intents and purposes, it was sort of creepy. If I didn't know who you were, I probably also would have thought you were up to no good.

Now, I'm not sure what happened exactly between you and Woodstockres, but I can say that, if I were a mother at the park who had no idea of they wacky ways of Gus Philpot (I wasn't, just happend to be traveling through), I might have been a little uncomfortable myself.

I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that woodstockres is not commiting libel by stating that some people reacted the way that they did (the pediphile statement), or by stating that she felt you were "circling" the park (which is used in common language as a hyperbole), or that you were taking pictures (she didn't say of children, just that people were concerned and creeped out by it, and that they made comments to that regard.)

As I'm sure you agree, people have a right to form an opinion - even if it is incorrect - based on their observations. Older guy driving down the streets right next to a park by himself stopping in front of every house and taking pictures ... yeah that's a little on the creepy side (at least ostensibly.) Even if you weren't "circling" or photographing childeren directly, its still sort of creepy Gus. It just is.

Anyway Gus, you gotta admit that your behavior - however well intended (and I do believe you are well indended, albeit somewhat misguided much of the time) - must appear to others as something altogether different sometimes. I do understand why people would react the way they did. From the outside looking in, it is quite strange behavior.

That said, you have a right to continue doing what you're doing, and I have to think they have a similar right to continue to be creeped out by it, and otherwise form their own opinions.

Gus said...

Phil, you're right. Thanks for your comment.

I can totally understand someone's getting creeped out by photographs of
1. a beat-up, old, worn-out sofa on the curb for a week;
2. cars parked half out of the street on the parkway;
3. household furnishings piled in the right-of-way in front of a house facing Olson Park; they make a nice home for rats, mice and other rodents and insects;
4. a large, gaudy Garage Sale sign on a telephone pole for a sale not listed as a permitted garage sale on the City's website
5. vehicles parked in front yards on the grass up near the front door.

Yep, that ought to creep anyone out.

You know, I was thinking about asking the City to improve drainage in Olson Park, so that the baseball diamond wouldn't become a mosquito-infested swamp every time it rains. But I wouldn't want to stick my nose in the business of the people who live in the area.

ace said...

Ya, the police just are dying to help you out with your petty wild goose chases. Talk about a waste of tax dollars.