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April 22, 2009


david franklin


Dear Mayor,
Somerville bills itself as an “All America City”. To the extent one considers the actions of the Somerville Parking Department this statement reflects badly on American integrity and I suggest that either the behavior of said department be modified or that that claim be deleted from our stated image and we remove ourselves from this contest.

I am speaking specifically of the methods of fundraising, or shall I call it, “extra taxing”, levied on those citizens and guests who possess vehicles and must park on streets within the city limits. While the purported purpose for having sticker parking in certain neighborhoods is to preserve space for residents, it is obvious from the behavior of the individuals charged with giving out such tickets, currently at the level of $50 a pop, that the real intent is to raise funds for, at least the parking department, and possibly for other departments of the city.

I would like to report my experience when I and a large majority of my neighbors decided we did not wish to have sticker parking in our neighborhood. The saga in brief goes as follows:

1. I looked up the bylaws for parking regulations for the city. This search led me to understand that if 51% of the legal residents of a street did not want sticker parking, signatures by at least that majority would result in the removal of posting for the given neighborhood.

2. I surveyed the neighborhood with a petition: obtained 26 signatures for removal; 8 wishing the postings to remain; and 12 not signing for one reason or another. For all who signed, the percentage is 26/34 = 76.5%. If one assumes those who did not sign all signed to keep the parking regulation, the ratio would still have been 54% (26/48).

In view of this, one would expect parking on our street (Preston Road) would cease. Right? No, wrong!

3. I brought the petition to James Kotzuba and he expressed surprise that we wanted the regulation removed. Said he, “All neighborhoods want it.” I’m not sure where he got that idea: my own queries around town have reached a very different conclusion. AND, FINALLY

4. Shortly after I came home after my visit with Kotzuba, came a phone call from him telling me that the city ordinance had been changed so that, “At least 100% of the residents had to want sticker parking removed.” WOW!!!

Sir, in talking to the parking people who have to mete out the tickets I have heard again and again negative comments about the regulation (that it is only in existence to raise funds for the city) and even heard the comment from one of those individuals to the effect that, “Everything is crooked these days, so why should you be surprised?”

Sir, I object, my neighbors object, and any person with any degree of integrity would likewise object.
Over two years have passed since I went around with my petition: I am late in sending this letter to you. On the other hand you are late in doing something about this shameful misuse of power. I attempted to get help from the entire alderman set and eventually gave up since the best I got was words with no action. Is this an “All-America City”? I certainly hope not!

David Franklin
9 Preston Road

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