Main | Thursday, March 22, 2007

Uncivil Servants

An interesting story in today's NY Times reports on a new website, Uncivil Servants, which allows NYC residents to upload photos of city employees, cops, and film crews who are violating city parking regulations using their city-issued permits to park just about anywhere they want.
The rules for using government-issued parking permits are complex. But the permits are intended for specific locations, like blocks around courthouses or precinct stations, and not as a way to avoid paying parking meters or as an excuse to block fire hydrants and bus stops.

Critics, like Transportation Alternatives, say lax enforcement has, in essence, transformed the permit into a salary bonus, a perquisite for holding certain city jobs. An uncounted number of permits are counterfeit, the group says.

The Web site allows anyone to anonymously post photographs of cars that seem to be parked illegally and include as much information as possible to identify the offender. In just a few days, the site also has become a popular forum for impassioned exchanges in the city’s survival-of-the-swiftest struggles over one of its scarce resources.
This issue used to piss me off, back when I had a car, especially knowing that a huge portion of the parking permits are counterfeit. Cops in particular are angry about Uncivil Servants, saying that publishing pictures of their license plates puts them in danger. I imagine that this site will spread to other cities. What do you think of this tactic?


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