Sep 172007
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I’ve stumbled into a moral dilemma of sorts. One of my clients has mobility issues (trouble walking) so qualifies for a disabled parking placard (he doesn’t drive, so instead of plates the placard can go car to car with him). We received his placard today. This will be of great benefit to him when we go to major stores, so he doesn’t have to walk a hundred yards or more to get to the shop.

I’m 100% behind the idea of handicapped parking spots, though they should be provided willingly by merchants, not required (or enforced) by government. I agree that it’s a great idea for a business to provide close parking spots for people with mobility issues. Many businesses do so now for pregnant women. In line with this belief I refuse to use the handicapped placard when my client is not with me, or when there’s a non-designated spot within a reasonable distance.

Then we come to California Vehicle Code 22511.5 (a)

  1. Any disabled person displaying special identification license plates or a distinguishing placard shall be allowed to park for unlimited periods in any of the following zones:
    (A) in disabled spaces or on streets with residential and merchant zones
    (B) in time zones
  2. in any metered parking space without being required to pay any parking meter fees.

Parking meters are a function of government. They’re used not only as a revenue generator (more so off tickets for failure to comply then the meter fees), but as a means to limit our freedom of travel. Hence, the dilemma-

Should I take advantage of the placard (even when my client’s not with me) to avoid yet the government dipping into my pocket when they aren’t even pretending to provide a service? I believe it’s different then parking in a handicapped spot as those are specifically reserved. If I don’t park at a meter, the next “common shlub” is going to park there, and odds are against them being disabled. For the record, I have no problem “stealing” the government revenue – I don’t believe it’s possible to steal from the government by refusing to pay them for nothing.

Thoughts and opinions via comments or email would be much appreciated!

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  5 Responses to “Applied Anarchy – Parking Meters”

  1. We all need to use the tools given to us…within reason of course – the only reasons that I would not use it if you’d be using the last handicapped stall or were going to be parking for more than 30 minutes due to potentially disrupting the stall’s use for a person who is actually handicapped.

  2. Thanx for the feedback Taarax!

    I would never use an actual handicapped spot (without a client in the car), but I’m definitely liking using the placard to avoid these ridiculous fees while I’m out and about alone 🙂

  3. […] Applied Anarchy – Parking Meters […]

  4. I wouldn’t use the placard to take a legitimate handicap spot when not needed, but as for parking meters, I would definitely use anything to beat that system.

  5. My problem with this is that it’s dishonest. You would be unjustly misrepresenting your identity. Now, if you’re a consequentialist then it’s cool. I’m not one, however. I believe that ends do not justify means, and so if “getting over on” the government (a good end, for sure) requires lying (an immoral means), then I should not utilize the immoral means in this situation.

  6. Excellent point, James. Though I’m not sure that it is immoral to be dishonest in protection of one’s property. If you get mugged do you make sure to give the thief the “emergency $50” you have stashed in your shoe? If some neighborhood gang put up a road block on your street and were only charging residents a toll would you admit residency? What about the Southerners who lied to slave hunters during the Underground Railroad?

    I’m all for honesty, even when it harms one stance. But I’m not sure honesty is required when dealing with those who are not only dishonest, but willing (and very able) to use force to steal the fruits of my labor.

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