2007-08-02 / Letters to the Editor

Derby plagued by parking tickets

This past Saturday my wife and I took our two grandchildren to the fishing derby at the North Reservoir sponsored by the Jamestown Striper Club. We had a great time watching our grandkids and other children learn the joys of fishing and the friendly competition for trophies and prizes, all provided by the club. The JSC also provided the bait, hotdogs and soft drinks free for all who attended. This event is a great example of the services provided to our community by organizations composed of volunteers who receive no compensation for their work, but provide it willingly with the intent of making Jamestown a great place to live. A quick check online indicates that there are 46 community organizations listed as serving Jamestown. How do we thank all of these groups and other volunteer organizations for making Jamestown the unique community that it is? We thank them by supporting their efforts and promoting their causes. We thank them by approving their event licenses. We thank them by allowing some discretion as to the law; such as allowing parades by temporarily closing streets, or by allowing fireworks displays, or by allowing fishing in the North reservoir, one day per year for three hours.

Well, the manner in which we thanked our community volunteers used to be true; because on Saturday morning July 28, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Jamestown Police Department showed up and, in my opinion, began selectively tagging cars belonging to those attending the event. Four vehicles were tagged and mine was one of them. I parked my vehicle as far off the paved surface of the road as I could without having it slide into the wet swale along the stone wall at the reservoir. Most of the vehicles present were parked in the same configuration as mine. Now some might say that Jamestown roadways have to be kept clear for the passage of emergency vehicles, but anyone who was at the event or traveled North Road between the hours of 8 a.m. to 11a.m. on Saturday knows that the road was down to one lane for approx. 200-feet because of the parked cars and that there was ample room for emergency vehicles to get by. The police department certainly got their vehicle by. I observed an eighteen wheeler and other large delivery trucks go by with no problem, as well as a large tandem-wheeled truck towing a good-sized boat. There were also present and past town officials at this event and I'm sure that if there was an issue of road passage they have addressed it.

I am told that this is the first time in 45 years that the Jamestown police have tagged vehicles at the Jamestown Striper Club kids fishing derby. Definitely not a good way to say thank you to a club that does so much. A better way to have handled the situation might have been for the police officer to stop to speak to those in charge of the event and ask that cars be moved. I'm sure that an announcement would have been made and the cars would have been moved immediately.

Before the event was over, the spokesman for the club announced that some cars were ticketed. He apologized to those whose cars had been tagged and offered to reimburse each the cost of the ticket which was $25. I couldn't see my way clear to request reimbursement from a club who had just provided a great time at no cost to us, so I promptly went to the police station and paid my fine.

Many thanks to all of the members of the Jamestown Striper Club for your effort in promoting fishing, supporting clean water and other environmental issues and for the class that you showed in offering to pay for parking tickets that were issued through no fault of yours. See you at the derby next year.

Anthony B. Simeone

Hull Street

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