Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bureaucratic Logic, An Oxymoron?

    The city has removed the handicapped parking space I used across the street from my residence. Why? Because I didn’t recertify my continuing eligibility for a handicapped space. Why not? Because my doctor is too busy being a doctor and will not allow the dropping off of forms to be filled out.

    I tried that several years ago and the deadline came and went and the form had migrated to the bottom of his IN box. In all following years he completed the form during one of my two annual check-ups, usually May/June or November/December.

    So, what’s the problem? The city has a very strict protocol regarding the annual recertification. They mail the form in December. The form arrives after my fall doctor appointment. They WILL NOT issue a form manually for me to take to my doctor. It HAS TO BE MAILED and invariably on their schedule.

    The deadline for completing and returning the recertification of continuing need is March 15th and failure to meet that deadline “may result in the removal of your handicap parking signs and would require you to reapply and pay a re-installation fee”.

    In past years I have pleaded with the appropriate department to look at the fact that I have lived at this location for more than 20 years, that as long as I keep getting older instead of dying that my condition will not improve and that since I didn’t notify them of a vehicle change or a move that my continuing need at the same location was implicit. I pleaded with them to bend the deadline since I wished my life to be life-driven not form-driven. Could they “bend” the deadline? Of course they could! Would they? Need you ask? The sign is gone!

    The argument that the deadline is part of the city ordinances does not hold water since many city ordinances are routinely ignored. It’s a different kind of selective enforcement not to be confused with the city police department’s Selective Enforcement Unit. Specifically the ordinances pertaining to “Parking within the lines”. What lines? Sections 285-27 and 285-29 state clearly that “all parking spaces shall be designated by lines or markings” and that each parked vehicle “shall be entirely within the lines”. Before the installation of meters, 6 or 7 cars parked in 5 spaces. Since the installation of meters, 6 or 7 cars park in 4 spaces designated by imaginary lines emanating from the two double-headed meters in my block. No enforcement.

    According to a street department spokesperson, they “don’t do that”, that is, paint lines. According to another street department official, they’d have trouble painting lines while cars are parked there. That official DID NOT KNOW there’s a “no parking” time from 2AM to 6AM Mondays when the street is totally free of cars. No enforcement.

    Another routinely unenforced ordinance is the practice of “plugging” the meter. Section 285-33 specifically prohibits extending the parking time beyond the established limit for parking at that location. If the meter says 2 hour limit, it means 2 hour limit. Come back after 1 hour and 59 minutes and drop some more coins in and you would be in violation. And then there are the ignored ordinances pertaining to speed, pedestrian crosswalks and loud exhausts and radios. No enforcement.

    I am not handicapped in the usual sense of the word. Is it even acceptable to use that word anymore other than on the golf course? People are not handicapped or disabled, they’re differently abled. Is that more politically sensitive?

    My “handicap” is PVD (Peripheral Vascular Disease) with circulatory insufficiency, neuropathy and intermittent claudication. Wow, what a mouthful. Simply, my blood vessels can’t get enough oxygen to all the right places quickly enough. Walking hurts and I have to stop frequently to let the pain subside.

    I will miss the convenience of having that handicapped parking space so close to my home. If I can’t get home and park before the Fulton activities or the Ware center activities or the Chameleon activities or the Tally Ho activities, I have to park a block away or stay out until the crowds have gone.

    I will not reapply. I’ll walk. It may be painful but the pain in my legs eventually subsides. And now, the annual pain in my derriere from dealing with the city will also subside.
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