Parking Ticket Geek

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Meter Protesters March On City Hall

The Parking Ticket Geek

The Geek is an idiot, who gets a lot of parking tickets, and knows how to fight back.

Echoing throughout the canyon of buildings along either side of La Salle St., were the chants of "No more meters!", and "Parking meters no, Chicago yes!" when protesters marched in front of the entrance to City Hall around lunch time today.

Armed with signs and banners, and wearing hand decorated T-shirts with anti-meter messages, the 80-100 people protesting meter privatization and rates hikes, marched in front of the La Salle entrance to City Hall for about an hour.

The protest was organized by three groups, including the People's Parking Meter Campaign an offshoot of ANSWER Chicago,  South Chicago's Centro Communitario Juan Diego (CCJD)  and anti-Olympics group, No Games Chicago.

"It's a great turnout," said Tom Tresser the head of No Games Chicago, who believes potential 2016 Olympic games in Chicago, is similar to the parking meter lease deal. "We're all in this together. It's all privatization. Chicago would be turning over tax dollars and property to a Swiss corporation," explained Tresser of the possibility of the Olympics coming here.

The signs and banners carried a myriad of messages, but all essentially focusing on the meter lease deal. The signs blared such things as "No More Parking Meters," " Better Schools-No Olympic Games", "Stop Parking Meter Rate Hikes," and "No Mas Parquimetros.

"It's a good turnout," said Robert Garcia from CCJD. "We could have had more people. We wanted to bring another bus load (of people)."

During the course of the protest, cars and taxis driving by, would periodically honk their horns excitedly showing support for the crowd, which in turn made the crowd of protesters cheer in reply.

"That's been happening the entire morning," said Garcia turning his head toward the honking drivers and gesturing at the curious pedestrians stopping to get information fliers.  "People are realizing we can fight back. People think the parking meter contract is done and can't do anything about it. But by people speaking out we can make a difference."

Other bystanders didn't understand why all the fuss.

"It's seems ridiculous to me," said a bystander watching the action. "I'm in total agreement, that the parking meter privatization is an outrage. It's an annoyance, but it (this issue) doesn't seem to deserve the focus of attention right now with everything else going on in the world."

Asked if he thought the City Council members, in full session today for the month of July, heard their chants, Garcia said, "I hope so. I know they knew we were out here. Whether they react is a different story."

Currently, according to Garcia, there are no hard dates for a future protest, but believes there will be more similar protests soon



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