POSTED ON NOVEMBER 7, 2012:
Love Letters, Hate Mail
(Re: "Parking Problems," Oct. 4-10, Vol. 22, No. 14)
I own -- and live in -- a house just a couple of doors south of Cherry Street on the east side of St. Louis Ave. I've owned the house for two decades but made it my home only 18 months ago. I knew I would be accepting an urban lifestyle -- including revelers at 2am most nights, garbage truck alarm clocks at 6:45 each morning, and cars always parked in front of my house. It took some adjustment to front yard gardening with an audience, but it has been fun to be in the middle of the activity and most of the commotion doesn't bother me.
1. St. Louis Ave. south of Cherry Street is a RESIDENTIAL street and parking is restricted to the east side of the street. There are two problems with this street -- width and heavy traffic flow. St. Louis is three cars wide. One lane parked, one lane going north and one lane going south. Parking is allowed on the east side of the street but there is a "no Parking" restriction on the west side.
There are times when it is difficult to get out of the driveway because a measurement-challenged driver tries to get his or her 20' car into a Smartcar space and blocks my driveway. However, the worst problem is that the merchants, the drivers and law enforcement all ignore the "no parking" restrictions for the west side of the street.
If the current parking restrictions were ENFORCED, the traffic could flow. However, the merchants and vendors (food and drink trucks) use one of the traffic lanes to stop, park and unload -- several trucks every morning. Right now, that is a tolerable situation, but any change that would increase the traffic flow would be catastrophic. Commercial and private drivers park on the west side -- primarily at lunch time.
a. The traffic signs on the west side of St. Louis need to say "No Parking to Corner Anytime" and the sign needs to be put at the south end of the Qdoba drive and placed along the block. And it needs to be ENFORCED! I know we don't have manpower for someone to sit there, but during the day there are numerous police vehicles that go to the restaurants at 15th & St. Louis and they could postpone their lunch hour for 5 minutes to deal with it.
b. I think a stop light at 15th & St. Louis is a TERRIBLE idea! The traffic flow on this street is heavy, even for a commercial street and this block is residential. A traffic light presumes traffic flow, without open lanes on St. Louis will back traffic up onto Cherry St. In addition, St. Louis is one of the few streets that goes all the way through to 21st. Although the commercial interests would like to alleviate the traffic flow on Utica by diverting it elsewhere, we already carry an unusually heavy burden and to increase that would harm our property values as well as our quality of life.
2. I would oppose the idea of permit parking along the residential streets. Most of the vehicles that park in front of my house must belong to workers. The same car is there all evening. As a homeowner, I like that. There is less commotion than would exist if cars were coming and going every couple of hours. A couple of doors down, the people have Wednesday night Bible study at their home and the street is packed with cars associated with their house. We do very nicely on this block, thank you, without the residents becoming violators!
I did a little checking into similar developments in other cities when this planning issue began and found that the most successful areas had a parking facility two or three levels high, somewhere along the street or directly adjacent to it. I suspect that all the money spent on all this planning could have been put to better use acquiring land that would have been donated to such a project. As it now stands, the residential areas within this planning area are being put at financial risk, for the benefit of tax-producing entities. It is beginning to appear that the actions of the city in its approval of these planning areas may result in a diminution in value that would be significant enough to create a "taking". Given that circumstance, the parking garage may look like a bargain.
I understand the necessity of using the street for the restaurant's vendor trucks. I am fine with the idea that people are parked on my curb space. I abide by the 25 mph speed limit and try to watch for pedestrians. I haven't complained to the city about the misuse of the house next door for parking, although I will object by all means if the backyard becomes a parking lot. But, I don't want this neighborhood to carry the weight for a problem that has a solution that no one is willing to address. Stop gap measures that provide a little parking relief but cause more than a little damage to the neighborhood are unacceptable.
For lawyers, the pursuit is for the great prize: a judgeship. Judges receive excellent money, have short working hours, no term limits, and a splendid retirement.
"You only need to know three things to be a judge -- 'Overruled', 'Sustained' and Proceed,'" said the late Tulsa County District Judge W. Lee Johnson.
Do judges get through their briefs? "Oh, no," said a clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court justice, "but they sure get through their newspapers."
That may be why Oklahoma judges have a practice of noncompliance with -- if not outright ignoring of -- U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
That precedent, a legal decision serving as a rule in future similar cases, prohibits a relative of a murder victim from giving an opinion as to whether the death penalty or the "hell hole" of life in prison shall be imposed.
In the LeFlore County murder trial of James Lewis DeRosa, a family member of his victims told jurors, "My family pleads with you to give the death penalty."
Jurors did just that. DeRosa's lawyers appealed, claiming he was denied a fair trial by such a "hyper-emotional plea for revenge."
A three-judge federal appeals court panel excused the plea as "harmless error" but Judge Carlos F. Lucero dissented.
"I would halt the Oklahoma prosecutors' systematic abuse of the federal Constitution," Lucero wrote.
"Capital defendants in Oklahoma are not provided due process rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment as a matter of state law and policy. Much of the unconstitutional testimony in these cases is shockingly prejudicial."
State law permits victim impact evidence. Perhaps, judges should consider the advice of Enid lawyer Stephen Jones, "The justice in society is not measured by how it treats its best citizens but how it treats its worst."
--Virginia "Blue Jeans" Jenner
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