Keep me out of prison!
October 18, 2005 1:31 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep some unsavory people away from my kids' school?

I live in DC, and the parking in front of my kids school is a 10 minute parking zone between 3:00 - 4:00. This restriction is to allow people picking up their children at the school to get in and get out quickly. Workers from a nearby hotel park in front of the school during the day, and during this hour they either sit in their cars or in front of the school and watch out for parking enforcement. Today I even noticed they're blocking spots (making the space on either side of their car too small until someone they know comes around). Aside from the resulting traffic problems, frankly, I just don't like people who don't have any reason to be there being around kids.

I've approached them once nicely, and since confronted them twice, today threatening to contact their employer and the DCPD. If I didn't happen to be picking up my kids, I'm sure by now I'd be in the brig for beating on civilians or just generally having a batshit insane episode, destroying their vehicles with a baseball bat and claw hammer (did I mention I have a bit of a temper?)

I'm simply not sure their employer would care, and I'm not really sure if the DCPD could really do anything short of posting someone there for that hour each day, (and I'm so sure they have the manpower for this).

So what can I do? Is there some sort of "don't fuck with schools" law I can invoke, should I report them as questionable and possibly pedophilic loiterers (not necessarily true, but if they deny their parking space hogging, I could come back with "well why else are they hanging around a school"), or is there some other action I can take? I'd prefer to avoid Leavenworth, but if this continues I'm going to lose it on one of these assholes.

BTW, I don't use the parking in front of the school, I walk a few blocks. I often see mothers walking city blocks they don't need to with their kids because of these jackasses, and that's what pisses me off more than anything.
posted by tetsuo to Law & Government (61 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I would try calling the DCPD, and see what they have to say about it. Can't hurt, right?
posted by cerebus19 at 1:34 PM on October 18, 2005


Have you talked to the school about this? Maybe PTA or the principal? If there's agreement that this is a big problem, perhaps something could be organized so that people could take shifts recording license plates and descriptions of offenders. Prior to beginnng this effort, perhaps flyers could be placed on the car's windshields everyday for a week (politely worded; your questionable parking is inconveniencing our parents and students; we will begin to take action by recording information and submitting it to the police).

It really seems like this is a matter that must be addressed from an official perspective--not just a lone guy with a bad temper.
posted by handful of rain at 1:40 PM on October 18, 2005


cars'

Sorry. Long day at work.
posted by handful of rain at 1:41 PM on October 18, 2005


Why not give the Parking Enforcement division of the DPW a call? This is their job, right?
posted by mr_roboto at 1:43 PM on October 18, 2005


Have you spoken to anyone at the school about it? Not that the school actually enforces traffic law, but perhaps they've got some ideas/strategies so that it's not just you freaking out over this -- maybe they can request the city step up parking enforcement during those hours, for example. (Or they may not even be aware that this situation exists, and so might appreciate hearing from you.)
posted by scody at 1:43 PM on October 18, 2005


should I report them as questionable and possibly pedophilic loiterers (not necessarily true, but if they deny their parking space hogging, I could come back with "well why else are they hanging around a school")

You know darn well why they are hanging around the school: it has sweet parking 23/7/365. Bend the law, break the law, do all kinds of subversive nonsense you want, but for the love of pete, don't imply that someone is perving after children simply because it's hard to disprove a negative. Making such an allegation is going completely overboard for what amounts to parking space hoggery.

How to fix it? See if you can get the times changed on the zone from 3-4 to 8-4.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:43 PM on October 18, 2005


727-1000 be sure to get a call number so that you can follow up on it. Also call the local ANC commissioner.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:47 PM on October 18, 2005


Let me restate your problem. Parking you don't use is being used by someone else in a manner you don't like. Rather than ignoring it, you're decided to focus on it and the people doing it. You've thought about using violence and falsely accusing them of pedophilia in order to exert control over them and change their behavior.

There must be something else here, because your behavior doesn't make any sense from what you've told us.
posted by 517 at 1:51 PM on October 18, 2005


Just FYI, I believe the DC Police acronym is WMPD, for Washington Metropolitan Police Department. No wait -- they go by MPDC. Where exactly is the school, tetsuo? (I'm guessing Ward 3 -- somewhere in NW.)

Also, count me with those having a hard time branding folks "unsavory" who're just sitting in their cars -- but then, I'm not a parent.
posted by Rash at 1:56 PM on October 18, 2005


Um. This is a little overboard.

It sounds like they have every right to loiter in front of the school. Not to be snippy, but it sounds like you're overreacting a little. A reasonable, basic assumption is that they're not child molesters, and it would be a very bad idea to accuse, or even imply that they're pedophiles without any evidence (IANAL, but I'm pretty sure they call that defamation.)

If it's the traffic you're concerned about, the DCPD will probably listen.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 2:01 PM on October 18, 2005


I'm with those who think you're making a mountain out of a molehill. On the other hand, I'm not walking in your shoes, so what do I know.

This suggestion, however, is fantastic. It'd fix the problem easily, I think:

How to fix it? See if you can get the times changed on the zone from 3-4 to 8-4.
posted by jdroth at 2:08 PM on October 18, 2005


It sounds like they have every right to loiter in front of the school.

Not really, it's a ten-minute parking zone that time of day. Definitely doesn't make them child molesters (!) but it does make them wrong.

Who declared it a 10-minute parking zone? If it's a city sign, definitely call MPDC (or whatever it's called). If it's a school sign, call them. If calling one doesn't solve the issue, call the other; it's a problem either or both should take care of. Probably some hard-core enforcement a couple days a week for a few weeks will help, as will a committment from the school to ask people to move at other times.

Also, extending the hours is a great suggestion. They can't sit in their cars all day long, and once somebody gets booted or towed, that'll be the end of it. Hopefully.
posted by SuperNova at 2:10 PM on October 18, 2005


I'm with 517 on this one:
Remember, walking never killed anyone, even in the rain, snow, etc.
And maybe it's been a long time since I was in school, but I remember that my schoolmates (specifically the bullies) were more of a threat than anyone else.
I never came across any pedophiles, come to think of it, and I don't think I was especially lucky in that respect, at least no luckier than anyone else.
Is it possible that these hotel workers simply just trying to squeeze a little more out of their paycheck by not having to pay exorbitant fees for parking (or parking tickets?)
posted by lilboo at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2005


Actually 517 and lilboo, walking has killed plenty of people. I'd recommend looking into the Trail of Tears. Heck, just watch the news from San Francisco and you'll hear about another pedestrian getting run over.

This isn't just a buttinsky getting bent out of shape over nothing. This is someone who's seen people who the spaces are there for, having to schlep kids and gear several blocks instead of being able to stop, unload and go. The parking isn't so they hotel people can avoid parking fees, its so that parents who are already stretched to the limit, can disembark their vehicles quickly and safely.

Call the cops. Call parking enforcement. Call the hotel and then call your town council rep and see about having the parking zone times changed.
posted by fenriq at 2:31 PM on October 18, 2005


Call or e-mail Dr. Gridlock at the Washington Post. He has a big rolodex and can make a well-placed phone call or at least publicize it in the paper or online.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 2:35 PM on October 18, 2005


(umm, but leave out the bit about going batshit insane with a hammer.)
posted by Saucy Intruder at 2:36 PM on October 18, 2005


I don't think it's the walking that gets Tetsuo upset. The parking zone is designed so that parents can easily pick up their kids after school. This is particularly important for people with kids younger than school age. If you have a two year old, and a four year old, and have to go pick up your second grader, being able to wait in front, without getting out of the car, is a huge convenience. But if you have to park a few blocks away, unload the younger kids, pack them into a strollers, walk to the school, wait, meet your child, walk back, and load up the car, that's a huge PITA.

And I don't know that Tetsuo's description of these people as "unsavory" is merited, but if I had school-age kids, and noticed that there was some dude (regardless of what he looked like) who was parked in front of the school on a regular basis, with no school-related business, I'd find that a little unsettling.

Yes, they may be simply trying to make their paychecks go further by parking in the school zone, but they are committing parking assholery to do so.

Most municipalities seem happy to make the most of revenue-generating opportunites, so my advice to Tetsuo is to call up the parking enforcement folks. Extending the loading zone hours to all day may take a more concerted effort, and probably requires involving the school or the PTA, but I think it's also an excellent idea.
posted by ambrosia at 2:39 PM on October 18, 2005


I've talked to the school "security" and the principal, but they're really not much help, they said they'd contact parking enforcement, but I'm not seeing anything of the sort.
The sign is a city sign, and like I said, they keep an eye out for parking enforcment. Thanks for all the suggestions, anyone have any thoughts on calling the manager of the hotel? Is that also a bit much?

Also, count me with those having a hard time branding folks "unsavory" who're just sitting in their cars -- but then, I'm not a parent.
-That's a perfectly legitimate opinion, but when you do become a parent, you may feel differently. My way of thinking is that anyone who doesn't need to be there simply shouldn't be there. And they're not just random people sitting in their cars, its a set bunch of people who work at this hotel and group up and hang around where the kids are leaving. Call me paranoid, but I just don't take chances with strangers around kids.



Let me restate your problem. Parking you don't use...
- no I don't use it, but its meant to be used by people who need it to pick up children from school, many of them working mothers who don't have time to park blocks away.

...is being used by someone else in a manner you don't like.
...no I don't like it, because not only is it unlawful, its being unscrupulous in order to circumvent the purpose of the law.

Rather than ignoring it, you're decided to focus on it and the people doing it.
...well I guess I can't be as blase as you and watch opportunistic people take advantage of these parents. Yeah, I'm going to call these people on it.

You've thought about using violence and falsely accusing them of pedophilia in order to exert control over them and change their behavior.
After they looked at me and said "well, I don't care if these people need to pick up their kids", yeah I thought about using violence, but held back. Accusing them of pedophilia..yeah, a bit much, and I'm not that crazy, but if you had these people loitering around your kids' school you would definitely not have a warm and fuzzy about it.

So if you're going to restate my problem, 517, how about a bit more accuracy and a bit less snark, jerk.
posted by tetsuo at 2:50 PM on October 18, 2005


raise bloody hell about this.

areas around schools are sacred and need to be protected from encroachments by unsavories who have no business being there.

just don't turn to violence, that will make you the bad guy and the cops will be against you.

if the hotel workers can't afford to pay for parking for their cars then let them take public transportation or get another job.

good luck.
posted by libertaduno at 2:56 PM on October 18, 2005


I'm a parent with a kid in school, and I've been poor. Hogging spots in the school zone is so not-cool.

tetsuo, I think you jumped the gun by getting into arguments with people and posting to Ask Metafilter before calling the parking division of the police department. Do that now and give it a couple weeks. It is imperative that you not come off like an angry dad! Be cool and concerned, definitely mention that you feel bad for/worry about the moms.

If that doesn't get results, then it's time to find an alternative.
posted by Eamon at 3:05 PM on October 18, 2005


tetsuo, you are really overreacting. Perhaps you're having your batshit episode here on AskMe?

The problem w/ the parking is legitimate and you should contact the DC police and force the issue. But if you start accusing these people of pedophilia and such because they're obnoxious about pursuing easy parking, and if you go off on some violent episode because they won't move their car when you ask them, you're a far worse person than they.
posted by xmutex at 3:10 PM on October 18, 2005


I'm not too impressed by your answer WCityMike. And get a glimpse into whose lives? Because most of the parents trying to pick up their kids certainly aren't what I'd call affluent, and I won't go into what the government pays the military. I'm not complaining, but then again I didn't draw this card you did. BTW, one of the cars of these jerks is a shiny new SUV that I definitely couldn't afford, so I don't think your book really applies, thanks.
posted by tetsuo at 3:16 PM on October 18, 2005


if the hotel workers can't afford to pay for parking for their cars then let them take public transportation or get another job.

Hell, they can park there all they want, all I'm asking for is them to respect that this one hour is needed by others more than they need it. I respect that, that's why I park far away, carry my younger and walk with my older kid.

tetsuo, you are really overreacting. Perhaps you're having your batshit episode here on AskMe?

Maybe...but inconsiderate people just IRK me, especially when it involves kids. Like libertaduno I think areas around schools are sacred. I think Eamon's right in the end..I'll cool down, avoid further confrontation and give parking enforcement time. If nothing happens then heads will roll (j/k). I promise the AskMe folks who think I'm nuts to use only official channels.
posted by tetsuo at 3:24 PM on October 18, 2005


...if you go off on some violent episode because they won't move their car when you ask them...

Just noticed that bit..like I said, I asked nicely, the first time. The second time one guy looked at me like I was nuts, laughed in my face, and said "I don't care about these kids", and that's when things started to get ugly. Maybe you can deal with this kind of disrespect more gracefully, I don't.
posted by tetsuo at 3:35 PM on October 18, 2005


517, its inaccurate due to oversimplification of the situation. Accuracy would be:

Parking that you and some persons who really need it have the right to, is being unlawfully appropriated by a third party with no right to it. Instead of ignoring this, you actually decide to point out this unacceptable behavior.

I'll make it easy. You're a snark, I called you on it, and I don't value your opinion or view on my question. So you could spend your time better elsewhere and waste less of mine. Thanks.
posted by tetsuo at 3:45 PM on October 18, 2005


...during this hour they either sit in their cars or in front of the school and watch out for parking enforcement.

I don't quite get this. They're at work, but they can take an hour out of their day to sit and watch for parking enforcement? It seems that the hotel management might be interested....
posted by mr_roboto at 3:45 PM on October 18, 2005


I didn't know "hotel employee" was a member of the "unsavory people" class. If they're in the cars, or if they're moving their cars often enough, they're not breaking the law.

Just noticed that bit..like I said, I asked nicely, the first time. The second time one guy looked at me like I was nuts, laughed in my face, and said "I don't care about these kids", and that's when things started to get ugly. Maybe you can deal with this kind of disrespect more gracefully, I don't.

Well, you started it by disrespecting them, so what did you expect?
posted by delmoi at 3:46 PM on October 18, 2005


(umm, but leave out the bit about going batshit insane with a hammer.)

More and more tempted by the minute to mark this as best answer SaucyIntruder. Can I get some leniency since it was for the cars, not the people?
posted by tetsuo at 3:48 PM on October 18, 2005


by the way, telling the police that these people are pedophiles would be obstruction of justice or making false statements. Those are felonies, IIRC, and for good reason.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2005


I remember the parking situation around my urban elementary school, so I know how frustrating all the traffic and chaos can be, and we didn't have a local business whose employees were taking up spots. Unlike WCityMike, I don't think "those people" need to be cut a break for being oppressed blue collar workers (because if they really were, they'd already be taking the city bus or carpooling), they're just taking advantage of the situation. And since you're in the military, I'm sure you aren't the affluent yuppie some people in this thread assumed you were.

If the school admins won't do anything about it, and after a couple of weeks the cops don't do anything, write the city council, a community organization if there's one, then contact the media. And/or talk to all these parents who must be inconvenienced by the hotel employees' cars; gather some signatures at least (it doesn't sound like the parents would have time to put much more effort into the complaint than a token petition). And always be unfailingly polite and reasonable. Make sure you always come off as the concerned parent (which you are), not some ticking time bomb about to do the Hulk smash on some poor worker's car (which uh, you give off the impression of being, given people's reactions).
posted by lychee at 4:01 PM on October 18, 2005


I didn't know "hotel employee" was a member of the "unsavory people" class. If they're in the cars, or if they're moving their cars often enough, they're not breaking the law.

Well that would be a good point if I referred to them as "unsavory hotel employees". However, I said "unsavory people" and later mentioned they happen to be "hotel employees". So you can drop the class struggle outrage there Mr. Debs. Would I have found them unsavory prior to their actions? Most likely not, I've done worse jobs, and sometimes still do, but find their actions offensive, and so yes, they are unsavory.

Even if they're in their cars, the car has been there over the allotted time and should be moved. But they're not moving their cars, they're just standing around in case parking enforcement shows up. And as I said, they're blocking spaces as well.

Well, you started it by disrespecting them, so what did you expect?

Actually no, the first time, as I said, I asked really nicely. Second time, still civil, they decided to get clever as mentioned above, and confrontation ensued. I don't think that qualifies as starting anything.
posted by tetsuo at 4:02 PM on October 18, 2005


Make sure you always come off as the concerned parent (which you are), not some ticking time bomb about to do the Hulk smash on some poor worker's car (which uh, you give off the impression of being, given people's reactions).

Mea culpa. A bit frustrated when posting, I'm not all that nuts.
posted by tetsuo at 4:04 PM on October 18, 2005


all I'm asking for is them to respect that this one hour is needed by others more than they need it.

I think you're basically in the right, though I can't imagine how anyone could get so worked up about parking.

Anyway, did you try just asking them to stop doing it?
posted by sfenders at 4:06 PM on October 18, 2005


oh, never mind.
posted by sfenders at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2005


by the way, telling the police that these people are pedophiles would be obstruction of justice or making false statements. Those are felonies, IIRC, and for good reason.

...should I report them as questionable and possibly pedophilic loiterers...

long way from a felony, and to some a reasonable guess when you see people loitering around the front of a school for no reason.
posted by tetsuo at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2005


Wait a minute ... it's a hotel. Hotels generally have parking. So talking to the management there might actually be appropriate.
posted by sfenders at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2005


possibly pedophilic loiterers

Right. They're no more likely to be pedophilic than anyone else is, far as we know so far. Not a reasonable guess at all. Not cool. Repeating it there makes me think you are probably an idiot, so something you said may have had a similar effect on the parking miscreants when you spoke to them. Try not to bring up pedophilia when discussing this issue with someone you want to convince... it makes you sound crazy.
posted by sfenders at 4:12 PM on October 18, 2005


...should I report them as questionable and possibly pedophilic loiterers...

long way from a felony, and to some a reasonable guess when you see people loitering around the front of a school for no reason.


COME ON! Calm down. This is insane. You cannot really believe this. Please, please take a walk. Have a drink.

They have a reason. It's parking. Parking does not equate to sex with children. I hope that you understand this. We know you take issue with their reason. But know that it is a reason.

So, once more, the desire not to get towed does not mean you want to have sex with childen.
posted by xmutex at 4:12 PM on October 18, 2005


Alright, alright, uncool, and like I said up there I'm not that crazy and its a bit much. Just saying its not a felony to make stupid statements. And as nuts as you all may think I am, during any of this, I never cursed them, never called any names. Mainly I just asked if they realized who uses these spaces during this hour and if they thought that was right. My manner wasn't the nicest, but only after they got nasty first.
posted by tetsuo at 4:17 PM on October 18, 2005


It sounds like a perfect case for one of the current affairs TV shows - god knows, they have nothing more important to report on, it would seem. This sort of thing is right up their alley - something that lots of people can related to, is easy to get a (short-term) solution and can be wrapped up into a neat 10-minute slot, with a 5-minute follow-up a week later to crow about how they solved the problem that nobody else could. Seriously.
posted by dg at 4:18 PM on October 18, 2005


Okay xmutex, I'm not saying I'm calling a congressional investigation into the possibly pedophliac tendencies of hotel employees. At first mention, it was a nasty dirty trick to leverage them, and later a discussion most of semantics, but I abide by the massive negative response of the board and agree never to even joke about such things again. OK?
posted by tetsuo at 4:20 PM on October 18, 2005


You're clearly too good to talk to me.

Not if you want to be constructive.
posted by tetsuo at 4:26 PM on October 18, 2005


Ok, look, this is admittedly obnoxious behavior (more for blocking spaces for their friends than for doing it near a school), but unless you want to get into an ongoing war with the offenders -- thereby perhaps creating the danger to your children that you were worried about in the first place -- you should probably drop it at this point. After things cool down, maybe you should try to befriend them; after all, they could keep their eye out for the local kids in a Jane Jacobs multiuser urban space sort of way.

I also get the feeling that you're just not used to living in a crowded urban environment (correct me if I'm wrong). It's just a fact of life in a city that you have to accept many personal inconveniences, so if you don't want to have a heart attack (or end up in prison) then you need to learn how to let go of it.
posted by footnote at 4:28 PM on October 18, 2005


Think about how you want to teach your kids conflict resolution, respect and sympathy for others, dealing with their emotions and rising above the petty impoliteness and minor injustices of life. Also think about who will be raising them while you sit in prison. You're not in the wrong over the parking policy but your sense of proportion and reactions seem skewed. When kids start screaming "it's not fair" and making retributive threats, you call it a tantrum. Go through the proper channels with the city. $.02.
posted by Marnie at 4:29 PM on October 18, 2005


Spare some change?
I'll try, see footnote and Marnie for answers that offer insight and value.

Go through the proper channels with the city.
I promised to, good $.02, thank you.

I also get the feeling that you're just not used to living in a crowded urban environment (correct me if I'm wrong)
On and off, changes every three years, of course. Thanks for your POV.
posted by tetsuo at 4:37 PM on October 18, 2005


ugh. I had to stop reading the comments somewhere around the "they should all move to suburbia" one. god forbid some of us are trying not to contribute to the sprawl problem. or pollution.

tetsuo, our school is in a pretty busy area, and we have similar problems. I suggest putting your complaints in writing, gathering the signatures of a few parents, and send the letter to the police, the restaurant/hotel manager, the school's principal, the PTA president and the city councilperson for the area. State your case, and ask for what you want.

In the meantime, what's worked for us is to have available staff and parents "guard" the spots and let those not picking up kids that it's illegal for them to park there. Don't be confrontative, just take down license plate numbers for those who won't comply and keep track of "repeat offenders." My guess is that you've got a few regular offenders that may cut it out if you inconvenience them.
posted by whatnot at 4:42 PM on October 18, 2005


god forbid some of us are trying not to contribute to the sprawl problem. or pollution.

Umm...then why are you driving to pick up the kiddies in the first place?
posted by footnote at 4:55 PM on October 18, 2005


Add my name to the list of people who thinks you've developed an unhealthy obsession.

Your whole post is centred around violence. It's not entitled "Help me solve a minor school parking problem", is it? You went straight to the idea that you were about to commit a serious crime. And you've been pretty hostile to posters here.

You have intense and violent feelings about a problem which has, by your own admission, a number of perfectly sensible, mundane, civil (both senses of the word) solutions.

Incidentally, which tetsuo have you named yourself after? The one from the extremely violent 1998 Japanese film about a man who can't control his rage?

I find it very hard to believe that this parking thing is the only thing in your life causing you stress. And I say that as someone who has seen himself go down this path. Extreme feelings find an outlet, like a pipe springing a leap under pressure. But the leak isn't causing the pressure, it's a symptom.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:04 PM on October 18, 2005


If this is addressed to me, well, I live on an AFB and would have a prohibitively early hour to use mass transit. Not a problem for me, but don't want to put the kids through that. Wife drops off the kids, and I pick them up. I usually walk about two miles to work and meet my wife for a very late lunch to pick up the car. Then I drop her off, pick up the kids, and pick my wife up later. We have one car that's low emissions. So we don't contribute to sprawl, and do our best with pollution.
posted by tetsuo at 5:04 PM on October 18, 2005


[lots of flagged comments removed. keep it on topic or take it to metatalk]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:21 PM on October 18, 2005


Ambrose, well thought out. Of course I have other stresses in my life, but I don't really fall victim to aggressive impulses often. I will say that I live and work in a world where conflict is the norm, so perhaps I'm experiencing what many military members experience, that willingness to engage in conflict and acceptance of conflict as a situation of life. However, unlike many, I've never had the eagerness for conflict or violence. In this case, the anger and feelings of violence are triggered by the general disregard for others I'm witnessing. I promise I'm not obsessed with violence in this situation, what I'm obsessed with is resolution.
But I'll watch carefully, and make sure I'm not becoming a victim of anger management issues or impulse control problems.

BTW, Kaneda was taken.
posted by tetsuo at 5:34 PM on October 18, 2005


Tetsuo,

I am truly embarrassed by some of the responses you've received in this thread. I bet these same people never write or call their parents (probably because they're still living in their parent's basements and are called BY their parents to take out the garbage). Really, society is based on the family unit, like it or not. If you've decided you don't want kids for whatever reason, then good for you, but don't for one second think that doing the parent thing is the least bit easy. It's somewhat more complicated than having a pet. And if you're just some young internet punk, don't pollute adult conversations. Go back to the little kids table and eat your turkey.

Obviously Tetsuo, you were a bit agitated (understandably so) when posting the question and upon reflection, I see you realize the pedophile accusations would have been unwarranted.

I'd suggest following some of the excellent (constructive) suggestions offered (contacting the parking authority, the school administration, accidentally keying their cars while explaining to them why they should move and not come back, etc..) and trying to ignore some of the jagoffs who have nothing better to do than waste your time.

You're in the right. Who gives a f**k about what these jerkoff's excuses are? They continue to pose a hazard to you, your children, your child's schoolmates, their parents and society in general. I wish you could beat them all unconscious with 517s limp body. But then again, that's my opinion.

Best of luck,
Ed T.
posted by Lactoso at 6:40 PM on October 18, 2005


Thank you Lactoso, that is much appreciated.
posted by tetsuo at 6:50 PM on October 18, 2005


You and other parents have a reasonable desire to use a public resource(parking). Some workers also have a reasonable desire to use the same resource. The primary issue is safety. If the spaces are not available, parents may doublepark, and children may walk between parked cars to get to their rides. You have numbers on your side as well. During pickup time, there may be 50 cars that need to pick up kids, as opposed to, what, 15 spaces for workers? You can fill in the correct numbers with the help of the parent organization. Go to your city councilor, Police Department, Parking Control, Traffic Control, and get increased ticketing, clear signage, and anything else they think will help. The Parking folks are often quite sensitive to complaints, get them ticketing.

If you can scout out good parking options for the workers, print up a map showing the available spaces, and hand them out. Loiterers tend to smoke and litter(bad example for kids). Given that they have a specific reason to be in that location, they're no more likely to be pedophiles than anybody else. If you can help them resolve their legitimate parking troubles, it will help you get what you want.

I'm with Marnie, you have an opportunity to teach your children how to handle an unpleasant situation. Learning to channel your considerable energy into useful action and maybe some acceptance of situations you can't control will be a good lesson.
posted by theora55 at 7:09 PM on October 18, 2005


hmmmm....

I wonder - if there was an issue with people parking n=in spots around the hotel and keeping the hotel workers from 'convenient' spots, would you (general) have the same amount of outrage?


This isn't just a buttinsky getting bent out of shape over nothing. This is someone who's seen people who the spaces are there for, having to schlep kids and gear several blocks instead of being able to stop, unload and go.

So - is it so much better for the hotel workers to have to shclep around gear?

The parking isn't so they hotel people can avoid parking fees, its so that parents who are already stretched to the limit, can disembark their vehicles quickly and safely.

don't think it's the walking that gets Tetsuo upset. The parking zone is designed so that parents can easily pick up their kids after school. This is particularly important for people with kids younger than school age. If you have a two year old, and a four year old, and have to go pick up your second grader, being able to wait in front, without getting out of the car, is a huge convenience. But if you have to park a few blocks away, unload the younger kids, pack them into a strollers, walk to the school, wait, meet your child, walk back, and load up the car, that's a huge PITA.



Parents aren't the only ones stretched to the limits.
I can understand the need, and I understand that there is an issue here, but it irks me to hear it put in a tone that suggests that parents have more right to 'convenience' than other people, and that there needs take precedence, even when it comes to the public street. I understand that this is some sort of reserved parking space, but it bothers me to hear it defended in a way that implies that inconvenience to a person with children is more important and worse than inconvenience to other people.

... some dude (regardless of what he looked like) who was parked in front of the school on a regular basis, with no school-related business, I'd find that a little unsettling.

But, from his point of view he is parked on the public street near his work with buisiness related to his work.

Most municipalities seem happy to make the most of revenue-generating opportunites, so my advice to Tetsuo is to call up the parking enforcement folks. Extending the loading zone hours to all day may take a more concerted effort, and probably requires involving the school or the PTA, but I think it's also an excellent idea.

I think this is a relatively good idea....

I've talked to the school "security" and the principal, but they're really not much help, they said they'd contact parking enforcement, but I'm not seeing anything of the sort.

Maybe you should contact the parking lot enforcement yourself?

A problem might be that technically it might not be 'parking' if someone is actually IN the car at all times.

The sign is a city sign, and like I said, they keep an eye out for parking enforcment. Thanks for all the suggestions, anyone have any thoughts on calling the manager of the hotel? Is that also a bit much?

I think that might be a good idea. It might give him a heads up on the need for parking for his employees, and might give you an idea of what is going on with these people's needs, and would open they way for either a comprimise or action.


-That's a perfectly legitimate opinion, but when you do become a parent, you may feel differently. My way of thinking is that anyone who doesn't need to be there simply shouldn't be there.


I think an issue there might be that, as I understand this, it is not a parking lot of the school - it is the public street.
Therefore it is not exactly property of the school and really totally associated with the school, any more than the section of the street in front of a house or a business is the property of a business.

I mean, people who own/work in a business or live in a certain house can't tell people not to park in the street in front of that house or business. I don't see how it is that much different just because the business happens to be a school.

And they're not just random people sitting in their cars, its a set bunch of people who work at this hotel and group up and hang around where the kids are leaving. Call me paranoid, but I just don't take chances with strangers around kids.

I do sympathise with this.

I think you should talk both to the school and the hotel.

- no I don't use it, but its meant to be used by people who need it to pick up children from school, many of them working mothers who don't have time to park blocks away.

On the one hand, I agree with the issue with the misuse of posted parking.
BUT I feel an implication from "working mothers who don't have time to park blocks away" that non parents necessarily have more time, or that their lack of time is less important than that of the working mothers (or SAHMs for that matter).

...is being used by someone else in a manner you don't like.
...no I don't like it, because not only is it unlawful, its being unscrupulous in order to circumvent the purpose of the law.


Is that actually unlawful? If you are circumventing the law, you are not necessarily breaking it.
I think the first thing to do is to find out if what they are doing IS actually illegal.
I think if the law is being broken one should address that fact. Call the cops if necessary. Just like you would do if someone decides to park across the entrance to a parking lot, blocking one in.

After they looked at me and said "well, I don't care if these people need to pick up their kids", yeah I thought about using violence, but held back.

I think that was super rude of them! Definitely. But I am interested by the fact that I have read in this thread both condemnation of the attitude of "well, I don't care if these people need to pick up their kids" AND people expressing the attitude of (paraphrased) "I don't care if these people have financial prblems and need to get out of parking fees." It seems like I get a sense of a feel (through the thread) that they owe you (general) more consideration than you (again genral) owe them. Maybe I am being oversensitive and reading too much into this. Plus I am not saying that you (original poster) are saying this. Just that it is interestging to see those two ideas both coming out in the same thread.
I can understand both sides on this really. I don't know. I understand how this issue can be a prblem for the parents, but I also know how backbreakingly expensive parking can be, especially to people working minimum wage....

..., ccusing them of pedophilia..yeah, a bit much, and I'm not that crazy, but if you had these people loitering around your kids' school you would definitely not have a warm and fuzzy about it.

I do sympathise about this.

It sounds like a sticky situation all around.
I wonder if the hotel might agree to validate parking for the workers?
I gather that the school has no parking lot?
I think when it comes down to it, you do need to do what is best ofr you and your kids and forget about the needs of these other people, as they probably don't care about you that much. In this light I would probably call the cops, parking enforcement, the school AND the hotel manager. Or just double park beside one of these people so they can't pull out when they want to...
posted by electric_bonzai at 9:06 PM on October 18, 2005


It doesn't sound like the hotel workers are hanging around the school, it sounds like they're hanging around the hotel in a place that happens to be in front of a school. In other words, they do have a perfectly valid reason to be there.

That said, it's illegal for them to be there. Report them to parking enforcement. I have Cambridge Parking Enforcement on my cell phone and report people parked in bus stops, cross walks and at intersections. I'm sure they have excellent reasons for being there, but it's illegal and they're a safety hazard. Report them. Their reason for being there is irrelevant. Oh, and when you call to report them, you provide plate numbers. If they leave when parking enforcement shows up, they can still get phone calls about it, especially if the same car is there repeatedly.

One suggestion for ending this: If the parking were 10 minute limit all day long, it would be much harder for them to just keep an eye out for an hour. If word went out that if the problem continues, that change will be made, then it might end the problem. You could try getting parents to talk to city concillors. Of course the hotel workers can also talk to city councilors and request that it never be limited to 10 minutes (which would at least clarify matters and stop the illegal parking).

If the hotel is the sort with the circular driveway out front, you could just start picking up your kids there instead.
posted by duck at 9:14 PM on October 18, 2005


And the hotel workers probably have big problems of their own - the fact that that the zone is active from 3-4pm is a HUGE problem. It means that the hotel employees (whilst still on shift) have to move their cars during a time when there's no parking available (since day shift workers probably have all the other spots), and then they will have to move them AGAIN at the 4pm to 6;30 pm rush hour (because there is no parking at those times for most of the thoroughfares in DC )! If one moves their car after 3 in many areas you may not get another spot until after well after six thirty. Not really great for someone who works a afternoon + evening shift!
posted by electric_bonzai at 11:01 PM on October 18, 2005


tetsuo, as someone who's dealt with many community problems in the past, listen to the cooler heads.

It's definitely true that you have some people violating parking ordinances (which are administrative violations, not crimes, it should be pointed out). This is extremely rude of them. If it has become a problem -- and you're specifically saying it isn't a problem for you -- then the people for whom it is a problem need to get organized on a strategy to do something about it.

Sure, as a private citizen you're free to call parking enforcement, but in a big city -- especially one blessed with certain levels of incompetence as DC has been known to be -- your expectations should be fairly low.

You've spoken with the school adminstrators and you report that they were not very concerned. Your next step, then, should be bringing this before the PTA. You've got a kid there; you've got standing (maybe you'll have to join to speak at a meeting, though). It's likely there are other parents who've been annoyed by the situation, too. Get enough of them together, perhaps send a petition round, and the PTA might put this on their official agenda. At that point the school administrators will definitely be listening unless DC schools are severely dysfunctional.

The PTA sending a letter to the hotel management, with the endorsement of the school itself, will definitely get some attention. So would actions such as looking to the city to get the local signage changed or wrangling school staff (or PTA volunteers) into parking monitor duty.

Ultimately I think you've got to address this at one of the sources and the hotel's a good place, but as one person you're unlikely to have much effect. Get organized, however, and you'll speak with a bullhorn -- in Arial.
posted by dhartung at 11:07 PM on October 18, 2005


Sorry I didn't see these last three last night. Thanks duck, electric_bonzai, and dhartung. Many good suggestions and points on the issue. Will take them to heart and consider everything before I act further.
posted by tetsuo at 6:16 AM on October 19, 2005


If you do decide to talk to the hotel, or these folks again, do it in full dress uniform. People are much more likely to move their car for someone decked out in something official looking, and hotel management is more likely to respect your opinion. It's not necessarily right, but it's kinda like wearing a suit to court (or for airline travel).
posted by klangklangston at 6:44 AM on October 19, 2005


I'd just go to the commission. If they can tear their collective lips off the MLB ass long enough to listen I would think you could convince them to extend the time of the zone.

You can also just be a pain with the Parking Enforcement people. They have a number to call to report violations.

Well, you started it by disrespecting them, so what did you expect?

Thanks for the laugh.
posted by phearlez at 2:01 PM on October 19, 2005


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