Gossips, still recovering from a nasty little virus, was not present at last night's Common Council meeting, but it seems, based on John Mason's report in today's Register-Star, that the item of greatest interest on last night's agenda was the vote on the new local law requiring parking permits for residents in the area of Columbia Memorial Hospital: "Parking plan meets resistance in Council." The vote to place the legislation on the aldermen's desks and move ahead with the process of enacting it passed with just enough votes for a simple majority: 1,015 affirmative votes are required; 1,104 affirmative votes were cast. Those voting to move forward with the law were Council president Don Moore and aldermen David Marston and Nick Haddad (First Ward), John Friedman and Henry Haddad (Third Ward), and Bart Delaney (Fifth Ward).
It's interesting to consider the statements reportedly made by the aldermen who voted against the legislation. Abdus Miah (Second Ward), who sits on the Legal Committee but seemed always to be absent when the committee was working on refining the document, is quoted in the article as declaring it was "the wrong approach." He suggested that "the city should sit down with the hospital and come to an agreement how to work out parking." That has already been done--if memory serves, more than once.
Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) wanted to know if anyone had spoken with the hospital employees who were causing the problem by choosing to park on city streets instead of in the American Legion parking lot, which is leased by CMH for their use. Alexis Keith and Ohrine Stewart (Fourth Ward) both expressed concern about the unfairness of the parking policies in the hospital parking garage, where doctors park free, while minimum wage employees allegedly are required to pay $4 a day.
Responding in frustration to a statement that the law wasn't fair to the rest of the city because "other people have parking issues," Friedman is reported to have said, "What an idiot. Enough, enough," to which Garriga reportedly shot back, "You're an idiot."
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