I have a confession, which may make me less than popular with a few readers. My hope of course is that those affected or bothered don’t take this out on my children and remember this is a ‘grown-up’ problem.
My confession (sadly) comes in the way of our school drop off area and watching cars get ticketed last week for ‘parking in a loading zone.’ We are currently in the month of November and I first penned a piece on this topic in August, shortly after school began. At that time I tried to give parents and guardians the benefit of the doubt.
Following that piece going to print, I heard a variety of things from friends, as well as community members. Many of my friends have high school aged children and they cautiously warned ‘just you wait until high school.’ Other friends shared the problems at their school sites as well and their concern for the youth who serve as crossing guards.
Yes, I am that mom who would mention to people as they left their cars to walk their children in that they had left their car in a loading zone. The responses were never, well, kind or valid, a few were even blunt enough to state ‘everyone else does it.’ Perfect! Ideal role models, I absolutely love the ‘when in Rome’ parenting technique; it is so effective (read with sarcasm).
Last week as I approached the drop off and saw the CAPS officer administering tickets I could not help but think … brilliant! This could be the answer to so many problems.
I must divert a bit and share this. The CAPS officer administering the tickets that morning also works the downtown area of Oakdale on a regular basis. The remodel of the community center, as well as the addition of a 24 hour gym on F Street have left parking minimal in our office area and a challenge.
We occupy a ‘hopping’ part of town so finding parking is never easy. Many of us have done our fair share of contributing to the City fund in the way of parking ticket fees. It’s a ticket I dread paying, but there are rules and guidelines and we are no exception.
I used to comfort myself by remembering a parking ticket is cheaper than what I used to pay for downtown parking in San Francisco. That justification got old. Now I just watch my P’s and Q’s and avoid tickets.
As I expressed my gratitude to said officer and shared my enthusiasm with my Facebook community the light bulb went off.
This could really help our City deficit problem, while also restoring a bit of order and semblance to our school sites.
Again … I’m just a mom. I don’t have all the ideas to fix our City problems but this could be a way to get a few street lights turned back on.
From what I’ve learned the high school problem is bigger than CAPS ticketing can handle. It needs to be officer enforced. If an officer was discreetly positioned in two separate locations, two days a week … cha ching.
The elementary schools are a bit easier and I honestly think a 30-day sweep could rectify both (the violators and dent the revenue). If a CAPS officer was placed at a different elementary school three out of the five days for one hour each day, I truly believe it would be effective. By the CAPS officer rotating through the varying five campuses their placement would be unpredictable.
My reasoning comes from a simple base. I do believe in parenting through fear and this approach is somewhat similar.
My children know their mother. They know if I say I am going to do something in the way of discipline or consequence I will follow through. An example of this would be Birthday parties missed because of lack to heed warning or a privilege revoked to make a point.
This is far from an original thought. I grew up fearing my mother. Not because of physical force, because I knew the ‘tone’, I knew the ‘look’ and I knew she would follow through.
I firmly believe it would just take a few weeks of following through in the way of ticketing and violators would rethink where they left their car or how much more important their time was versus the rest of us.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my solution too simple. What I do know, is there were more than a few of us extremely happy to see that CAPS officer. Thank you Oakdale PD. We appreciate you. We especially appreciate the little things and yes, this would be one. Well done.
Teresa Hammond is a former reporter and current circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.