Betrayed by the parking police?
On Monday, June 6, an unusual event occurred on the west side of the Sonoma Plaza. Between 12 and 1 p.m., all the cars parked on the west side got parking tickets, which meant that they all had all been there at least two hours.
Now, that early on a Monday morning, 90 percent of the cars parked there belonged to people who work in the stores on the west side. On Mondays, those people have things to unload into the stores, after which they have to prepare the stores to open by 11 a.m.
The rule is, you can only park on the Plaza for two consecutive hours, after which you become eligible for a $40 parking ticket. But the car parkers have a little leeway because the parking police, for the past two years, have not shown up any earlier than 12 p.m. to mark the cars for the first time, after which the car owners then officially have only two hours from the time of marking before they are eligible for the $40 ticket.
On June 6, the pattern changed without notice and without warning. Of course, the parking police are under no obligation to inform Sonoma that they may change their patterns, but it would have been a nice touch. After all, we are a small, friendly town whose top priority is hospitality. As one who got a ticket, it felt like my town had betrayed me.
Which brings me to my second issue related to parking tickets. How can the parking police justify giving tickets to cars, even though they have been parked in the same spot for more than two hours, when there are 25 empty spaces available. I know they are within their rights to ticket, but have you ever talked to a tourist who got one of those tickets? They are furious. They will never come back to Sonoma again, plus they will tell all their friends not to come to Sonoma. It makes no sense.