Home > Elected Officials, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance, Libertarian, Nanny State, New Media, Police State > City of Flagstaff Wants Citizens To Enforce Parking Laws

City of Flagstaff Wants Citizens To Enforce Parking Laws

By Elisha Dorfsmith

The next time you find a parking ticket on your car it may have been placed there by your neighbor. The City of Flagstaff plans to vote on an ordinance at their March 6 meeting that will allow members of the public to sign up as police aids and cruise the streets looking for violators.

The City Staff Summary Report explains that this ordinance will provide for the appointment of unarmed police aids, traffic investigators, and volunteer parking enforcement personnel.

The ordinance says in part:

WHEREAS, in order to more effectively and efficiently address standing, stopping and parking offenses occurring within the City, the Flagstaff Police Department desires to employ unarmed police aids to issue citations and warnings for violations;

The full text of the ordinance can be found HERE.

Councilwoman Coral Evans was the driving force behind this ordinance. Frustrated with college students illegally parking in her Southside neighborhood she began looking for ways to put a stop to it.  Early on, traditional measures were looked at. Large fines, increased police patrols and parking permits were all on the table. Now it’s come down to creating a citizen patrol with the authority to write a citation.

Makes you wonder if they’ll try this same citizen strategy when the Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO) becomes law.  No sense reporting your neighbor for tall weeds or an old car in the yard when you can walk over and write a ticket yourself.

Clearly, there is a problem with parking in Southside and something needs to be done. An army of angry citizen ticket writers is not the answer.

I can already picture busybodies and vigilantes lining up at City Hall like shoppers on Black Friday, anxious to get their hands on a badge and a ticket book when this passes.

03-07-2012 UPDATE: Yesterday the council passed this ordinance unanimously at their noon meeting, while most people in Flagstaff were at work or school (this ordinance directly impacts NAU students). In order to legally pass the ordinance and approve last minute changes, the Council had to use an “emergency” clause.

You can watch the Council here (click on 6A).

I talked to several people who were concerned about this ordinance and had planned to speak out about it at the 5:30 p.m. meeting. They were shocked when they found out that the council had already passed it. The noon meeting is supposed to be for routine non-controversial items.

The City website says the following:

12:00 noon:
This meeting is for routine, non-controversial business items needing little or no discussion. After the business is completed, the meeting is recessed.

If there is anything I learned from yesterday’s vote it is that I need to watch the noon council agenda much more closely so they don’t slip this stuff in when it’s almost impossible to get people to City Hall for public comment.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

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  1. February 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Bring out the Nazi in everyone! I like coming to Flagstaff less and less and I am very glad I don’t have to live there. :/

  2. Bob
    February 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

    “Clearly, there is a problem with parking in Southside and something needs to be done. An army of angry citizen ticket writers is not the answer.”

    What is the answer?

    • SlimStrontem
      February 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      A smaller group of self-deluded, self-righteous know-it-alls.
      No, wait. We need those ones on the council.

  3. cal
    February 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    get that evans nut out of office would be a great start

  4. Bill Tippett
    February 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    If students are the primary offenders, has there been a discussion with NAU to help resolve the problem?

    • Bill Tippett
      February 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      Seems there has been–never mind.

  5. SlimStrontem
    February 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    My solution: Swamp the applications with students, who may then duly place “warning-only” tickets under the windshield wipers without recording vehicle IDs, thus effectively authorizing the parking, every day. HA!

  6. Community Integrity
    February 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Response to Bob – there could be several possible solutions regarding the parking issues in Southside – people just need to get their heads together and talk about it. The first thing I think of when I hear about “those college students” parking in a neighborhood is that these are people who are trying to afford the gosh-awful expense of trying to better their life through higher education. Higher education that costs a ton in tuition and fees. Has anyone seen what it costs to park at NAU? For a car it costs $415 per year. If a student wants to park in the garage it costs closer to $500. Who can afford these fees? We are not New York City. This is just another way that NAU sticks it to the students. I can see why students choose to park someplace else and hike in. Students coming in from the east side of town; out by the airport; neighboring communities (Williams, Parks); and so forth do not have access to public transportation. If a student works he/she cannot always catch a bus from work to school or vice versa in a timely manner – driving is sometimes the only option. So what other options exist? If the city owns property close to the campus perhaps a lower paid parking area could be created where students register to park in the area. Maybe a certain number of parking permits to park in the neighborhoods bordering campus can be issued, at a small fee and the vehicle has a tag. Perhaps a local person who owns property in the NAU border neighborhoods can create a paid parking lot as well. Across Lone Tree the NAU campus has taken over a large lot and they do not allow people to park there – the students get tickets. Why can’t this be reduced parking? It is still a 30-40 minute walk to most classes but it is better than parking miles and miles away and walking in – which many students do anyway. I believe that NAU needs to be motivated to be a community partner and help find a solution for students who cannot afford their horrific parking fees. It is sad to see that many students are buying motorcycles (which are dangerous to ride in Flagstaff especially in the winter months) and having to drive into town to go to school because they can’t afford to park their cars at NAU. Put the attention on this parking issue where it belongs – it is part of a bigger issue of a public educational institution that is charging way too much money for students to utilize the parking options on campus. Remember DON’T PHX FLG! We are not Phoenix. We are not Tucson. We are Flagstaff. We do not need to be writing each other parking tickets.

  7. March 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

    “Put the attention on this parking issue where it belongs – it is part of a bigger issue of a public educational institution that is charging way too much money for students to utilize the parking options on campus. Remember DON’T PHX FLG! We are not Phoenix. We are not Tucson. We are Flagstaff. We do not need to be writing each other parking tickets.” ~CI~

    From what I understand, this is right in line with what would be a most appropriate way to handle this situation. If the NAU parking can only handle 50% of the student traffic…where does the responsibility for the solution sit?

    PLEASE TAKE NOTE:
    It has been stated in this meeting that the Southside parking problems can be addressed in the City wide parking and traffic programs and that if they approve the Police Aides for Southside, they will may be giving them permission to ‘police’ the whole city.
    They also discuss how this will be illegal if they proceed as they had hoped they could.
    NO KIDDING!
    I think the people behind this idea COULD have done more research BEFORE they wasted the City’s time and money on nonsense that is more Nanny State control of the citizens.
    When an idea is this bad, it needs to be scrapped all together.

    From February 29th , 2012 meeting of the “Transportation Commission”
    Presentation, Discussion and Approval of the 2011 Annual Report of the City of Flagstaff Transportation Program
    The City recently dissolved the Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee giving its responsibilities to the Transportation Commission. These responsibilities include providing oversight of the Transportation Program, providing a forum for public comment and input and to annually advise the City Council of the progress and expenditures of the City’s Transportation Program. Staff has prepared and distributed the draft 2011 Annual Report for review, discussion and approval by the Commission. Staff Recommendation: Approve, with modifications as necessary, the 2011 Annual Report of the City of Flagstaff Transportation Program and authorize transmittal of the Report to the City Council.
    “Discussion of the Guidebook for Residential Neighborhood Traffic Management The City with help from the FMPO developed the first Residential Neighborhood Traffic Management Program manual several years ago. That document has been the rough outline of how the Commission and Staff have worked with Neighborhoods for the past few years. Based on this experience the RNTMP manual has been revised and updated significantly over the past few months by a Transportation Engineering Program Intern. Some highlights of the new manual are: increased Staff involvement in the early stages of neighborhood discussions, more understandable process flow charts, and updated options for traffic calming features.
    Staff Recommendation: Review the RNTMP manual, suggest changes to form or content. Discuss path forward for adoption/incorporation of RNTMP into “Official” City ”

    If this City Council and the Traffic Commission proceed as they hope to, they may find an honest attorney like Jerry Nabours representing the people in a huge lawsuit.
    Remember the Constitution folks…we have rights!

  8. SlimStrontem
    March 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Was my solution too easy?
    Applications should be either randomly approved or all approved or have the required criteria described, which should then be randomly approved or all approved. Else, discrimination is evident. Further, if such ticket issuing authority is not a directly commissioned office, it seems that Any citizen would have equal authority to issue tickets via notebook paper.

  9. March 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Go to Item III.B at the 10:30 mark to listen in on the proposals. The entire thing is worth listening to in order to know the details. Increased fines, a warning period and more are mentioned.
    My personal take on this, is that a few decided what they wanted to do about a “problem” and now are looking at ways to twist the laws and statutes to get done what is normally illegal to do.
    Have a listen and see what you think.

    http://flagstaffaz.swagit.com/player.php?refid=02292012-30

  10. SlimStrontem
    March 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Man: “ARS says that only sworn officers can enforce parking codes.”
    “But we are allowed to make our own parking codes, so we will allow aides… other cities do.”

    Woman: (as if cued), “So this is common in other citeis?”

    Man: “Yeah, … It’s mostly in universities…” I.E. Campus Police on college grounds. That is Completely different.

    They mention the differentiation, admitting their awareness, and admitting that ARS prohibits their intentions. Question: Do they pursue it because their brains are corrupted, or because their hearts are?

    Cast your vote: B for brains, H for heart.

  11. March 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I was kind of shocked (probably shouldn’t have been) when I watched that whole thing.

  12. Nancy
    March 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

    This is so terrible. Just terrible. Let’s pit neighbors against neighbors, and neighbors against everyone else.

    • March 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Sadly Nancy that is the same thing that will happen if the PMO that Coral Evans is pushing gets passed too. A Property Maintenance Organization such as they would like is a City wide Home Owners Association.
      I choose to live outside of an HOA. I do not like the idea of someone throwing me into one with out it being my choice.
      6 of the 8 issues they point out for a PMO are already covered under other agencies.
      The other 2 are “Beauty Queen” issues to rat out your neighbors about so that they could get a citation and the fined if they cannot take care of the issue. Sounds rather communistic and dictatorial to me.
      I’d rather call someone to come assist my neighbor if I could not do it myself. Hmmm, seems I have a website for that and the Council knows about that too.
      When I spoke to Coral about it at the Mayors forum she said she would prefer the PMO and did not know if I would even want her to sign up as a helper.
      Silly woman! This is a Volunteer Community Outreach Program for everyone., of course she can sign up to Help and if she ever has a need or knows of one she can register that when we fire that part up.
      I’m looking to bring all of our Citizens in the community together, along with the Social and Charity Organizations to see how effectively we can reach out our hand to help our neighbors in needs instead of slapping them down.

      Sorry to spread more disappointing news about the Council.
      These things are better known though and the Council does know about goldenruleflagstaff.com

      See the resolution they passed yourselves…
      http://www.flagstaff.az.gov/index.aspx?NID=2095

  13. SlimStrontem
    March 6, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I failed to mention that, in the linked video, one council member said something like,
    “…and raising the fines to the state reqirement of $82 from the current rate of $31.”
    I am SURE that is not a requirement, but a ceiling. More evidence that the meeting is scripted, and the members are actors–OR, hapenstancially stupid. You decide. While you’re at it, decide if your kids and grandkids don’t deserve better employees.

  14. March 19, 2012 at 2:37 am

    We all have a neighbor or someone down the street that will take this too far. Part of the role of the person enforcing traffic laws is to be independent and unbiased. There is no way that residents issuing them in their street can be that.

  15. suzie creme
    July 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    its 2013 forget southside my favorite city skam is free concerts without adequate parking. i was issued a ticket for $186 thats correct $186 parking ticket, i have lived around the world never seen the likes of this !! way to go set up people for parking tickets lure them in on free concert then wham mo!! $183 ticket figure times 10 =$1860 way to solve the budget and abuse people. Why? the locals do not want you to park by them . good one for neighborly love and all.

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