You've Been Curbed! Or, Public Works Will Write Tickets, But Not Fix Public Works. Got It.

This morning, I think I saw the first little indicator of how the city plans to deal with these lean times. I'm coming back up my street from walking my dog, and I see a little natural-gas-powered city car with a Public Works logo on the side stopped with the door open, and the city guy is arguing with my neighbor, Larry Offut.

Turns out the city guy has just written a ticket on an automobile that belongs to a young woman in the duplex across the street from me. Her offense? Her car is parked pointed in the wrong direction. The ticket, for $45, is for wrong-way parking on a two-way street.

The city guy is gone by the time I get up there -- speeding down on our street, if I may say so. Offut tells me he saw the guy writing the ticket and was struck by how seldom we see representatives of our fine Public Works Department out here in the 'hood.

Offut told me: "I said to him, 'If you're from Public Works, how about reporting this broken curb in front of my house that's a threat to safety?' He said, 'We don't have anything to do with that,' and he took off."

He sure did take off. I saw that part.

Offut is a longtime student of City Hall and has not missed any of the detail on how some on the council weaseled out of accepting cuts to their own budget. He brought that up.

He's right. The council ain't giving up much -- maybe pennies on the dollar, despite Angela Hunt's best efforts. It's going to come out of you and me, fellow taxpayer, in the form of reduced services and this guy in the little NGV car cruising the streets looking for chicken-shit ways to stick us for some money. Wrong-way parking, on a street with curbs worse than anything I see on vacation in Mexico.

If Mexico is the third world, sometimes I feel like I must live in the fourth one.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze

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