For some odd reason, the city operates at its peak efficiency when it comes to retrieving extra sources of revenue. In the year ending in June 2008, of the 1.4 million tickets issued for alternate-side parking violations (you know, the street-sweeping thing), 300,000 were doled out in the first five minutes after the no-parking period began, and 28,000 “came within seconds.” Well, the City Council thinks it’s unfair for traffic cops to do their jobs so well, so it has overwhelmingly passed a bill granting drivers a five-minute grace period before being ticketed for muni-meter or alternate-side parking violations (but not coin-operated meters, because you can’t tell when they expired). “Alleluia, God bless, Amen!” overenthusiastic councilwoman Letitia James exclaimed upon voting for the measure.
But Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t like the legislation, and he’s vowed to veto it (although the City Council has the votes to override his veto). “This has to do with making everybody feel good, but in fact creating chaos for the traffic agents,” Bloomberg says. “They’ll be sitting there saying my watch says five minutes and you’ll be saying your watch is wrong.” Wow, that sounds like a real bleak dystopia right there. Wait — don’t people already argue about tickets now? Of course. What Bloomberg doesn’t want to just flat-out say is that he opposes the legislation not because our watches are woefully unsynchronized, but because the city desperately needs your money.