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Parking signs are drama in blue and white

In the vast landscape of social concerns, the handicapped- parking fiasco going on in downtown Spokane’s so-called entertainment district may seem like a hiccup in a hurricane.

Spokane has an entertainment district?

I thought that was the DéjÀ Vu strip joint.

Anyway, this parking squabble is a classic example of how government can turn a nonproblem into one gigantic RUMP RASH!

Sometimes I think we’d all be better off if we closed down every city hall and county commission and became a nation of nomadic tribes.

Sure, there’d be a few disadvantages, but not getting all that political junk mail at election time would be totally worth it.

Government never solves anything. That’s why I have no faith in the stimulus package.

I heard on the radio that some of the bailout loot is going to pay for a Frisbee golf course. You don’t need a bailout to build a Frisbee golf course. All you need is a hippie and a weekend.

But getting back to parking …

The city recently installed small signs on dozens of parking meters near the Bing Crosby Theater, the Knitting Factory and the Fox as well as my own place of employment, The Spokesman-Review.

The signs feature that unmistakable blue-and-white handicapped parking logo.

But these are no ordinary handicapped parking signs. Below the emblem is the message: “4 Hour Time Limit.”

According to our news story, this was supposedly done because “disabled drivers weren’t moving in time for shows, sometimes forcing semitrucks to park in travel lanes.” And apparently the problem was so dire that it needed to be “studied by a committee of downtown business representatives.”

Too bad these committee members weren’t doing something constructive. Shoveling dirty snow berms, say.

Unfortunately, I’m a man of logic. As I read our story my brain started hollering …

“Get real. How common could this over-parking-by-the-disabled dilemma really be?”

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this whole flap stemmed from some coked-up roadie who threw a tantrum because he had trouble parking the tour buses for the overrated death metal band he was working for.

Maybe not. But what amazes me is how no one apparently considered what the public’s reaction might be when confronted by this meter forest festooned with handicapped signage.

See, we are all creatures of conditioning. I am conditioned, for example, to avert my eyes when confronted by a buxom woman displaying mass cleavage. I am conditioned to take off my shoes and mutter curse words when standing in an airport security line.

And when confronted by the handicapped parking logo, my conditioned brain starts screaming: “Find another place to park!”

The handicapped parking sign is one of society’s most daunting symbols.

Able-bodied parkers who abuse the handicapped zone are not mere lawbreakers. They are the dregs of the dregs, the scourge of the planet.

Which is why many motorists won’t take time to consider what the new signs are trying to say: that everybody can still park for the time allotted on the meter; disabled parkers, who can otherwise park free with no time limit, must scram after four hours.

So I can’t blame anyone for being intimidated or confused by these poorly conceived signs.

And if I didn’t have a pass that lets me use the newspaper parking garage I’d be right there starting the revolution with you.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at