© St. Petersburg Times, published March 4, 2001
Re: Mayor is cleared of interfering with ticket.
This Feb. 25 article leaves several questions unanswered. How does one "fix a ticket?" Presumably this means someone uses influence to "fix" it so that a ticket will be rescinded. To do that, someone with influence would have to be involved.
I wonder if a reasonable person would believe that the highest elected official in the city (in this case, the mayor) telephoning a police sergeant directly to inquire about the legitimacy of a particular ticket is applying pressure to do something about that ticket. I believe this is addressed in the city charter. Elected officials are prohibited from acting in this manner. Any such inquiries are to be made directly to the city manager, who supervises the day-to-day operations of the city and its employees.
Another interesting question deals with the manner in which the ticket was removed. According to the article, the sergeant, after receiving the "inquiry" from the mayor, directed an officer to retrieve the ticket from the Time Warner van. He then checked the ordinance to ascertain the validity of the citation. Having determined that it was not, the ticket was rescinded. Shouldn't he have checked the ordinance before having the ticket removed? Suppose he determined that the ticket was proper. Would he then have another officer dispatched to re-attach the ticket?
After examining the circumstances, a reasonable person might conclude, that the decision was made to rescind the ticket upon receiving the mayor's call.
Another question that might be asked -- perhaps of the former chief of police (me) -- is whether the mayor has ever done this in the past. One might reasonably conclude that answer from this letter.
So now, in order to divert attention from the matter, Mayor Bill Mischler and council member Rick Butler seek to malign the volunteers who are good enough to devote their time and energy by enforcing the parking ordinances. I hope that there will be an apology to the volunteers from the mayor and council member Butler for uttering those comments.
-- David C. Milchan, St. Pete Beach
I see in the Feb. 25 Neighborhood Times that Sunken Gardens proposes to close the avenue between its two parking lots. I am opposed to this.
It's no great effort for people to walk across the street. I've observed this operation for years and the south parking lot is hardly ever used, so they don't need more parking space.
When others in the neighborhood propose to close an alley or street, there is a great hue and cry. This is an abuse of power on the part of the city.
-- James J. Byrnes, St. Petersburg