From My Corner: October 22, 2017

Parking tickets to handicapped plates

For the past few weeks I have been writing about the case of Jim Stokes who has been getting parking tickets even though he has a handicap placard. He received a several $300 fines for parking in a designated space for handicap drivers. As he protested each one at the police station, he was only told that the mayor had changed the rule. Anyone parked in one of those spaces with an out-of-state plate should be given a ticket. Mr. Stokes lives in New Hampshire.

No one seems to be doing anything about his case and he refuses to pay them so, I recommended seeing an attorney who sued the city on a similar case and it was settled out of court for $125,000. That attorney agreed to take his case.

Jim continues getting parking fines and this week, he brought me copies of the most recent ones, along with a copy of his New Hampshire application for the placard to prove it is legitimate. This time they were not necessarily on reserved spaces but on regular two-hour street parking for “overtime” on different addresses in the city for $30.00 each. These fines were all given by Maggie Fawcett.

Two weeks ago I published the Massachusetts law pertaining to this issue but it is worth repeating. This is governed under Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 44, Sections 22 & 22A. The relevant part of Section 22A specifically states:

“No penalty shall be imposed upon any disabled veteran or handicapped person, whose vehicle bears the distinctive number plates, …  bears the official identification of a handicapped person issued by any other state, or any Canadian Province, for parking such vehicle on any way for a longer period of time than permitted by said ordinances, by-laws, rules or orders.”  

Any local regulation is unconstitutional under the Home Rule Amendment if it is inconsistent with the constitution or laws of the Commonwealth.  Under this case Lawrence’s action of ticketing drivers with out of state handicapped plate would be inconsistent to the state statute. The only way Lawrence can supersede this statute is to pass a home rule petition to the state legislation which has not been done.  It seems there is an abuse of power by the mayor.

If an employee of the Lawrence Police Department is violating the law with the excuse that the mayor ordered it, she is equally responsible to be putting a senior citizen in poor health condition through all of this and carry the same amount of blame as the one who gave her such an unfair and illegal order.

Where is the police chief in all of this?

Where are our councilors that keep looking the other way? I blame them all for allowing the irregularities, falsehoods and abuses going on in this city while they talk about improving the community by cleaning the streets and other menial things.

Thou shall not sing the Anthem

We watched the five former presidents in Texas raising funds for the victims of hurricanes in Texas and they were very inspiring. They referenced the audience as Americans not divided by political parties. The public applauded each one of them equally, even when President Trump appeared in a video. That moment of peace and understanding is what the country needed to hear.

We are so terrible divided and seems that the First Amendment applies only to whoever is screaming the loudest. We no longer want to listen to reason or converse with someone who may have opposing views. People are blacklisted as if they have the plague and burning down, destroying and looting private properties seems to be the only way to express the way they feel. Family and friends have broken up over ideology and that is no way for the country to improve.

Last week there was an incident on a Delta flight bringing up the body of a soldier who died in battle while his widow was aboard. Then, some of the passengers decided to begin singing the National Anthem as a way to console the wife and a flight attend stopped them saying that the airline has a policy of not singing our patriotic song. Her excuse was that there were passengers aboard from other nationalities.

First of all, no one should be able to stop me in my country if I want to sing the National Anthem and upon checking with the airline, they said there is no such policy.

Why do people take it upon themselves to come up with lies in order to comply with their prejudices? I hope she got fired!