COMMUNITY COMMENTARY:Plaque users in trouble

October 28, 2006|By Patricia Easley Carpenteri

I must protest against an increasing discrimination against handicap plaque users in the city of Burbank.

I live in the 1000 block of East Magnolia Boulevard, near Bel Aire Drive, and recently there was a complaint from someone about residents parking their cars in front of their own houses for more than 72 hours. Among the cars first marked, and some ticketed — even though they were moved — were autos with handicap plaques in the window; my car was one of them. The marks do not always come off and apparently the police do not keep track of where the cars were parked when they were first marked.

But the people needing handicap plaques cannot be expected to park a block or more away instead of in front of their own house. As an older neighborhood, we do not all have driveways.


Two weeks later, I took an elderly friend who can no longer drive and who is a low-income resident to the Burbank Temporary Aid Center to pick up some food. While we were there for less than five minutes, my auto, with a handicap card, and others that also had handicap cards clearly displayed, were ticketed for parking during the street-sweeping period.

The signs are not that obvious and many people, like myself, live on streets where there is not prohibited parking when the street sweepers come, so we are not used to that. There was less than 20 minutes left in the two-hour No Parking time and the sweeper had already come. These are low-income people with disabilities, parked outside the Burbank Temporary Aid Center picking up needed food; many are older residents who were productive, financially contributing members of our Burbank city in their younger days. They deserve better payback.

Is Burbank so hard-up for money it must take it from those who can least afford to spare it?

Compassion and flexibility are needed. All police officers have discretionary power in giving tickets, even with minor moving violations. They should have the ability to be kind. If not, maybe they need more sensitivity training.

Also, many of our handicap parking places are becoming obstructed. The concrete planters next to the handicap parking places are bad enough, but now in the Burbank Town Center parking structure — on the lowest level between Sears and Bed, Bath and Beyond — a shopping-cart bin has been placed so that it is almost impossible to open the driver's-side door unless the auto is parked.

  • PATRICIA EASLEY CARPENTERI is a Burbank resident.

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