Walter's beef

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Neighborhoods reader Walter Brzeski has a beef in the 36th Ward, where Ald. Bill Banks rules, over parking his pickup truck on the street — which is illegal in some wards.

Here's his take on getting "pounded with $25 tickets."

In Chicago, the 'Machine' is alive and well. And, I can attest to the backlash a citizen can feel from its members. Last month, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Southtown (Burke's 'Money-Makers', July, 27, 2007) criticizing Alderman Ed Burke and the proposals he's making to bring more money into the city at the expense of all Chicagoans.

In the letter, I referred to him as Ald. Ed 'Killjoy' Burke and I made some absurd suggestions for him for other 'money-making' ways for the city to bring in revenue, including charging people for bicycle licenses and a fee for businesses to sell 'Chicago-style' hot dogs.

Well, here's where the backlash comes into the picture. After living in the 36th Ward (Ald. William JP Banks) since November, 2006 at my current address and parking my pickup in front of my apartment with minimal problems. Suddenly, two days later on July 29, 2007, I received a ticket for parking my pickup truck on a residential street.

The parking ticket was for Violation 9-64-170 (a): which states no parking of a Truck, Recreational Vehicle more than 22 feet in length, Self-Contained Motor Home, Bus, Taxi (except in wards 15 and 46), Livery Vehicle on a Residential Street. Pickup trucks and vans are excepted in wards: 1, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 26, 28, 29, 32, 33, 37, 40, 42, 43, 46, 49, and 50.

I'm well aware in certain wards of Chicago where pickup trucks aren't allowed to park on a residential street. And, like many Chicagoans was hoping for a break from not getting a parking ticket for this ridiculous parking violation; especially since most SUVs dwarf my small 4,200 pound pickup truck.

I was told, "It's an outdated ordinance going back to the 1920'S" by one of Ald. Banks' office assistants, "I have the proposal in front of me that's going up in front of the council." I asked, "When?" And, the assistant responded, "probably, by the end of the year."

So, until the violation is amended to exclude pickups trucks under 6,200 pounds (I was also told this by the assistant), Chicagoans will have to play guessing games on where to park their pickup trucks in Chicago and pay to rent a garage if they're unfortunate to have one. Or, risk getting pounded with $25 tickets and the likelihood of your truck getting booted by the city.

However, hassles like this one aren't commonplace in every ward. Some wards offer Chicagoans the chance to fill out an application, take pictures of your pickup truck, receive am approval letter from your alderman, and then send everything into the city clerk to receive a 'Residential Pickup Truck' parking permit for a fee.

Ald. Banks responded in an e-mail I sent to request for such a permit by stating, "In the City of Chicago, the law prohibits pick up trucks from parking on residential streets unless the Alderman of the ward grants approval. Based on community complaints and opposition to pick up trucks parking on residential streets, I do not grant that priviledge in the 36th Ward. If I can be of assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me."

I have no problem kissing the alderman's ring, but, he seems to keep it in his back pocket.

What's your take on the pickup truck parking issue?

If you have a neighborhood beef, drop me a line.

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You got it right, Walter. Aldermen are notorious for running their little fiefdoms, acting petty, foolish and sometimes illegal (or as close to illegal as possible), wanting to be the king's of their domain. So, it doesn't surprise me to hear your story. It just goes to show that you have to be careful how you approach certain matters. For instance, it was good that you wrote a letter to Ald. Burke as you were expressing your freedom of speech. However, perhaps if you weren't so flippant about it you may not have received the backlash that you did. You always have to know who your audience is and what kind of power they can weild. And if your vehicle is street legal in your ward.

Taters, you're 100% correct. Though, my truck had no problems until I wrote the letter to the Daily Southtown; that was my oversight and fault. Next time, I'll be more careful and try a different approach first.

I thought I would give everyone an update about the situation. It appears the Banks' office has seen the letters to the editor in different newspapers and this blogging. In fact, I was approached by a neighbor, out of the blue, and she told me to shut up and just pay my tickets.

How did she know I got these tickets?

I don't talk to any neighbors. So, how did she find out who I am and where I live?

She told me Banks was responsible for getting a ticket she received for parking in a handicap zone waived because her child has a disability. But, she didn't have a placard. That's nice thing.

And, she went on to say, Banks is responsible for all the condos being put up in the ward. I asked her if she knew about Banks' nephew being the lawyer for the zoning committee and she said she didn't know that.

Plus, if Banks is getting condos put up in the ward, wouldn't it make sense for the people building these condos be allowed to park their pickup trucks in his ward.

Then, I explained if condos go up that property taxes will go up with property values. And, will force more people to move then to stay.

I'll be moving after my lease is up. Goodbye 36th Ward.

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Mark Konkol

Mark Konkol covers city neighborhoods for the Chicago Sun-Times. You can e-mail him or call (312) 321-2146.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Konkol published on August 27, 2007 3:13 PM.

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