Say what you will about the Morning News (and some of you occasionally have a lot to say), but I think Dave Levinthal — one of the paper’s city hall reporters — does a good job of bringing out some of the important but mundane discussions that councilmen undertake to try and make the city a better place to live. Now that’s not to say that they don’t come up with some dopey ideas, but you can’t blame Levinthal for that….
Anyway, there’s a story in the DMN about a council committee considering whether to revoke the current privilege drivers with handicapped stickers have to park indefinitely in front of Dallas parking meters, presumably without paying the meter fee every hour. The stated reasons, according to councilmen studying the issue: It’s one thing to let cars with handicapped stickers park at a meter occasionally, but all day? And there do seem to be an awful lot of bogus-looking "handicapped" drivers with stickers out on the streets.
The city is considering a 30-day trial in a six-block area downtown bounded by Elm, Young, Griffith and Field streets; as part of the trial period, meter inspectors would issue warning tickets but not enforce the tickets. That way, the city can determine how many people actually are affected by a policy like the proposed one, as opposed to becoming defensive already as handicapped advocates decry the proposed new ordinance as unfair to the handicapped, etc.
I hate to be suspicious, but it never ceases to amaze me how many handicapped stickers seem to be around these days and how rare it is to see someone who really appears to need one of the stickers actually driving or riding in the car. I have absolutely no problem with legitimate handicapped people using legitimate stickers, but I don’t see any harm to the city’s plans for the test program just to see what happens. If there are huge number of valid and verifiable complaints, I’m sure the council will reconsider; if there aren’t, then it looks like a good move on the council’s part.