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  February 25, 2011
Now I Get It...It Totally Figures

 
The other day I found myself driving downtown. The one thing that really bothers me about having to go there is the need to bring along quarters to feed the parking meters stationed along the sidewalks.

The idea of a city installing parking meters on its streets has always bothered me.  Essentially it’s a tax by the city to park your car while patronizing small downtown boutique businesses.

I pay gas taxes to drive my car.  The local establishments pay business city license taxes.  Consumers pay sales taxes on the purchases they make.  Businesses pay income taxes on any profits that may be derived.

After conducting my business, I walked back to my car.  I noticed that the car beside me had run out of time on their meter so in practicing "pay it forward" consciousness, I decided to feed the other car’s meter a few quarters to help out my fellow citizen.  As I started to climb into my car, I saw a "traffic control" officer starting to write out a ticket for the car whose meter I had just fed. 

I poked my head out of my car to tell the officer that I had just put money into the meter so he shouldn’t be issuing any citation for that vehicle.  The officer then told me that feeding other people’s meters was an illegal act in the city but that he would let me off with a warning instead of giving me a ticket as well.

I stood there in utter shock and amazement.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing...since when did helping a fellow tax paying citizen become illegal?  Somehow the city now considered this kind karmatic gesture an illegal act of perhaps "aiding and abetting" meter scofflaws. 

Who knows what the reasoning was... 

I do know better than to try and argue with a "peace officer" (especially one with an electronic ticket machine in hand) so I decided to best leave matters alone and drove off.  

I felt great sadness for the car owner and for the good people of the city as a whole.  We have become a monster with an insatiable appetite for tax revenues to fund city / county / state and federal bureaucracies and other lunacies. 

"When will it stop?", I wondered to myself as I drove away, vowing to myself never to go downtown again.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall...
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  
All the king’s horses and...
All the King’s men...
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again...

Shortly thereafter...Mr. Dumpty and his attorneys sued the wall owner (for erecting such a place as to attract wall sitters), all the King’s horses and men for attempting unqualified first- aid, and the city’s planning department (who issued wall building permits). 

Since Humpty was on his collectively bargained 15-minute coffee break at the time of fall, the department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) became involved and found negligence in the design and workmanship of the wall and became a key witness for the plaintiff.   The local unions concluded that the wall was not built using sanctioned "prevailing wage" labor and began picketing the site, shouting at would-be customers that this place of business was unfair and unsafe.  

The insurance company; that the wall owner had been paying premiums to for more than 20 years, decided to cancel the owner’s policy due to "willful neglect" and refused to pay any claims.

Without any liability insurance, the bank, that the wall owner had been with for more than 20 years, decided to call in their loans as being unsafe.  

The cash-flow crunch finally  caused the business to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  The company’s creditors (including the bank) received only pennies on the dollars after several years in court.  Attorneys and the court appointed trustees received most of the business’s and owner’s remaining assets.

This didn’t bother the bank though, as this particular loan was already classified as "toxic" and was sold to the federal government who just printed more money. The TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds were used to pay back the bank the money that they had lent the company.  the same company that they themselves forced into bankruptcy.

After the bankruptcy, the business was forced to lay off their 30 employees, 10 of whom were unable to find gainful employment elsewhere and eventually lost their home to foreclosure but later joined a class-action suit against their respective lenders (the outcome is still pending).

Distraught, penniless, and depressed, the business owner took his own life after his wife and his children left him because he had become a failure.

Mr. Dumpty, eventually won his lawsuit against the city.  The lawsuit against the business was dropped due to impending bankruptcy and subsequent suicide of its owner and, as it turns out, you can’t actually sue a King (or his horses and/or men) in court due to their diplomatic immunity.

Mr. Dumpty received a large cash settlement from the city.  His lawyers took 60%.  The hospital (who managed to put him back together again...although he is still not completely altogether...if you know what I mean) took most of the remaining amount.

He also received extensive occupational re-training and a high-paying job with the city.  Now he drives around giving parking tickets as a "traffic control" officer and threatening people who feed quarters into other people’s meters.

Now I get it...it totally figures...

Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse, where we hope to never need to feed your parking meter...

 

Jim Kalb
President
OptiFuse
jimk@optifuse.com


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