At Wednesday's meeting of the Dallas City Council, Pauline Medrano and Angela Hunt will ask their colleagues to do downtown denizens a solid and expand the parking-lot booting ordinance immediately. No doubt you recall: After months of back-and-forthing with parking-lot owners, the council finally decided last August that lot operators can't boot unless they provide a paper receipt, be it hand-written or machine-made. But in order to allow operators time to catch up and either install the machinery or hire money-takers, the council decided to slow-roll the ordinance's implementation: Deep Ellum by January 1, 2010; the rest of the city, on July 1.
But after Hunt and Medrano began receiving complaints from downtown patrons who said they'd gotten the boot even though they'd paid a lot box, they wondered: Why wait? And so they spent the better part of Thursday calling lot owners with the heads-up: At the council meeting on Wednesday, the two council members repping downtown are adding to the agenda an item calling for a vote that would ban the boot without proper papers. Hunt says the owners to whom she and Medrano spoke understood their actions and were on-board. "All the parking-lot owners we could get in touch with were supportive," Hunt says. Question is, is the rest of the council?
"I think so," Hunt tells Unfair Park. "I think the council will hear there are businesses and organizations downtown who've been damaged by the same unscrupulous booting we saw in Deep Ellum, which unfortunately moved from Deep Ellum to downtown once the ordinance took effect in Deep Ellum. It's been a frustration. This should have gone citywide January 1. Then we wouldn't be having this problem. Unfortunately, part of the compromise to get this ordinance approved at all was to do the phase-in process. It's clear we should have done this citywide January 1, and we'll try to fix this mistake with this amendment."
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Update at 2:20 p.m.: The item is on the council's agenda for Wednesday as Addendum Item No. 3.