Bowing to pressure from Main Street merchants (and their campaign contributions) and from whatever direction the wind is blowing on this particular day, the Sarasota City Commission has begun the late-night surreptitious removal of the ill-fated parking meters that were installed a scant six weeks ago.
Noting that the parking meters have, indeed, accomplished their intended mission of controlling parking in the downtown core, Sarasota PD Parking Liaison, Capt. Jeffrey "The Enforcer" Karr said, "The meters obviously served their purpose. There's not a car parked anywhere here on Main Street," as he surveyed the empty boulevard. Empty, except for the fleet of shiny new Parking Enforcement carts, loaded down with menacing-looking "boots" festooned with crudely-drawn skull and crossbones that were to be locked onto those vehicles with expired meters. Also on the street were about a dozen or so newly-minted "Meter Matrons" standing by the carts, a stone-faced group of 70-year old chain-smoking women who were all apparently fired from their former jobs as maximum-security prison guards for mistreatment of their hardened-criminal charges.
"This is a great day for the citizens of Sarasota," crowed mayor Suzanne Atwell, a former proponent of the meters, when asked about their removal. "I think it shows how just how responsive this Commission is. Two months ago, we listened to the voice of the people and installed the meters and, now, we've listened again to the voice of the people and we're yanking them out. And, yes, I realize that we spent almost $500,000 to install the meters, half that much again to purchase our new Traffic Enforcement vehicles and about $175, 000 to recruit, train and pay for anger-management classes for our new "Meter Matrons".
"But we got a really great deal on removing the meters......"