Meter musings

I was recently hanging out on First Street at Not Too Shabby, a shop that’s owned by my friend Sheryl. She was having a big party, celebrating her shop’s one-year anniversary. Nearby Paris-Vintage was also commemorating its anniversary, and other area businesses were holding events to drum up some foot traffic.

At one point, Sheryl’s party was interrupted by the sounds of an irate woman. She was talking to a Reno police officer, who just happened to be there visiting one of the participants in the celebration.

It turns out that this woman came to the area, parked in a metered spot, put money in the meter and went about her business. But when she returned to her vehicle, there was still time left on her meter—and a ticket on her windshield.

“They gave me a ticket when my meter was paid!” the woman said at a volume loud enough for the entire room to hear her.

The police officer handled the situation as well as she could, explaining to the woman that the meter officers sometimes make mistakes. She then directed the woman where to go to get the matter taken care of.

The woman then left, a child in tow, to take care of the ticket.

The city has been putting a lot of effort into First Street, in hopes of turning the area into a destination. The Redevelopment Agency assisted with the celebrations that day; the city has ordered the Parking Gallery garage to be free of charge, the gates up, on weekend nights. The city obviously wants to get people down there.

But when it comes to meter enforcement, the city is shooting itself in the foot. More than one business owner along First Street has complained to me about the attitude of the meter officers; they are even referred to by some in the area as “parking Nazis.”

While the area has limited parking and obviously needs meters, it does not need mistakes and rude attitudes driving people away. I know the First Street businesses lost one customer that day—and these businesses need all the customers they can get.

As I ambled outside on President’s Day and picked up my copy of the Reno Gazette-Journal off the porch, I was surprised to see a familiar face staring up at me from the main photo on the front page.

The face was that of Chelsea Correia, a Galena High School senior who worked as an RN&R intern last school semester, through the school district’s Gifted and Talented Program. She was appropriately touted in the accompanying article, “Student to Lobby Lawmakers for Tougher Teen Driving Rules,” as a teen who supports AB 8.

The bill would place restrictions and requirements on young drivers ages 16 to 18, including mandatory nighttime driving practice and a law against drivers having underage passengers with them for the first four months after they get their licenses.

The article failed to mention how Chelsea got involved with the bill. As the final exam for all RN&R interns, they are required to write a full-length article. At an RN&R editorial meeting a while back, it was suggested that AB 8 (although it didn’t have that moniker yet) would make for a good article for Chelsea.

Chelsea did a wonderful job on the piece, “Teens on the Road” (RN&R News, Jan. 11), and following its publication, she was contacted by one of the bill’s lobbyists and was asked if she’d support the bill. Chelsea—who has at least one classmate who died in a car accident—agreed to testify in support of AB 8.

As a result, Chelsea’s apparently become a media darling. She reports that the CBS Morning Show is considering featuring her in a story.

We’re proud of Chelsea, and we congratulate her.