Letter: No audit needed for parking department
September 26, 2014
No audit needed for parking department
I'm fascinated by the course taken by the Aspen Daily News in describing the latest parking scam, saying that parking had been "given away" by the city, and that somehow city officials should take primary blame for "the unfortunate events resulting in the unfettered use of empty pre-paid debit cards for free parking procurement" ("It's time for an independent audit of the city's parking department," Paul Menter, commentary, Sept. 24). And hooray, instead, for the Aspen Times for focusing on the issue more objectively.
Lest we all forget, the city didn't give away anything — people took it. And guess what? They've been taking it in Aspen for decades. When I worked there in the '90s, people stole parking by rubbing chalk, by using false receipts, by doctoring handicap and construction permits, by painting over residential permits with colored markers, and even by using fake plates. And guess what else? Some of those people worked for newspapers in Aspen. We didn't give it away; people took it. And in retrospect, the only unfortunate event back then is that we honestly thought that we could trust most of the people in Aspen to follow the law. Most did, but a few people constantly caused us to repeatedly tighten the reigns.
Only in Aspen can you find someone who says, with a straight face, "Yeah, I know it's wrong to take from people, the bus company, and the city coffers, but parking for us 'worker bees' is just too expensive." If the city prosecutes this guy, and the 20 or so others who did the same thing, it won't have to change or audit anything.
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