Some people might choose to describe the city of Pittsburgh’s government as akin to a vehicle that is stuck in park. Today, because I’m frustrated, I’m going to give you a very personal example of how the city we call home continues to shoot itself in the foot.

This morning I had to do some shopping for my restaurant and, because there was no parking available anywhere near my store, I pulled onto the sidewalk (in front of a VACANT building’s loading docks) across the street. That way I wasn’t obstructing any traffic on Oliver Avenue. I put my flashers on and had my car there for less than a total of five minutes. In that time I made three separate trips to my vehicle.

When I returned to drive away I was greeted by a meter maid who was writing me a ticket for $55.50. After speaking for several minutes she agreed that there was pretty much nothing else I could have practically done, and acknowledged that her employer, the City of Pittsburgh, has a knack for being remarkably short-sighted. Nonetheless, she also claimed there was nothing she was able to do.

Sometimes I wonder exactly how it is that certain folks who work for the city must think…

Yes! Let’s penalize small business owners by making it as difficult as we possibly can to let them do their jobs! Double-taxation isn’t enough, we need to financially oppress them through any means possible! Why would we possibly want to encourage development and sustainable enterprise downtown, when we can simply fine individuals who are trying to see a vibrant downtown come to fruition and collect money we’ll inevitably misspend now? Brilliant!

That seems to be how this city thinks, anyway. Did I mention that said vacant building happens to be the very same building that the city just decided to “lend” its former nationally-known tenant $20 million to occupy? Did I mention part of the “deal” was that should said former tenant choose to close it’s doors within five years of opening it wouldn’t have to pay back any of its $20 million “loan”? Can you guess what happened?

Well, at least it’s good to know that when the city takes my money I can rest assured it will be well spent. I mean, who wouldn’t feel good about the government taking money out of his own pocket and giving it to a major corporate entity like, oh I don’t know, Lazarus-Macy’s.

Needless to say, the onus obviously falls on me to help the city of Pittsburgh compensate for what can only be described as stunning, if not breathtaking, incompetence. Clearly, the easiest way to expedite that process is through the use of obscene parking tickets!