Two [PARKING METER] Bits for the Little Guys!
CITIZEN-DRIVEN INITIATIVE Forces Reno Council to Correct Another of its Blunders
By Kathy Sununguru (UPU)
On 5 August, 1997 the Reno-Casino city council outdid... even themselves.
Knowing full well, that Sam Dehne and his 780+ Citizens' Petitions were the "Driving Force" behind the exposé of this city's huge Parking Meter Fee Increase scheme, this council broke as many rules of honorable government as they could find... in a curious attempt to take credit for "undoing" their very own blundering fiasco. Anybody watching the brouhaha on SNCAT chan 13 TV, could see through them like a cheap piece of fishing net. What an embarrassment to the governmental process. Here are the numbers, simplified so that even this city council should be able to understand them... maybe.
Potential Meter Revenues under OLD system (simplified):
9a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.......................54 hours weekly
52 weeks yearly..................................................................2808 hours yearly
Potential revenue per machine at 25-cents per hour........$702 yearly
Times 1500 meters............................................................$1,053,000 yearly
Potential Meter Revenues under NEW system (simplified):
8 a.m. to Midnight, Seven days weekly................................112 hours weekly
52 weeks yearly.....................................................................5824 hours yearly
Potential revenue per machine at 50-cents per hour...........$2,912 yearly
Times 1500 meters.................................................................$4,368,000 yearly
The potential meter revenue increase is on the magnitude of 400%:
...................4,368,000 divided by 1,053,000 = 4.115 = 415%
The pure simple fact is that this council had no more idea that staff was about to gouge Reno citizens with a gigantic tax increase of 400%... than the woman in the moon... until Dehne informed them back on 24 June. That day, this council was "wide-eyed" at Dehne's charge.
Subsequently, this city council and this city manager and many of their cohorts then did everything they could, including playing games with the truth, to stall Reno Citizens... despite continuous efforts to have a Petition-Driven Citizen Initiative Resolution placed on the agenda. A Resolution that would correct the terrible mess at the earliest possible moment. This city council hoped they would go away. They didn't... the petitions kept pouring in...
Then in a classic attempt at subterfuge (after they said prayers over a "battle plan" that was concocted by staff), this council scheduled its staff, ahead of Dehne's Citizen Initiative... in an attempt to take credit for correcting their very own blunder... a blunder that the Citizen Initiative was forcing them to address.
Only after a vote, did they allow Dehne (who had far more honest statistics than staff... plus those 780+ Citizens' Petitions) a measly 5 minutes to talk... versus staff's 50 minutes. (This staff couldn't even tell this council why they had doubled the fees. When queried by this council, the engineer didn't know, and then his assistant didn't know. They told council... they would have to get back to them with that answer. THEY COULD NOT TELL THIS COUNCIL WHY THEY RAISED PARKING FEES 100%!!!)
In an even more "incredibler" display of audacity... immediately after voting to accept the basic demands of the Citizens' Resolution, this council then voted down (rejected) Dehne's Petition-Driven Citizen Initiative Resolution. They voted down the VERY Resolution that exposed the whole scheme in the first place!!! THEY VOTED IT DOWN... simply because they were afraid to to give the citizens any credit.
Folks, this council's "battle damage" failed! Thus far the the numbers portray that Citizens' diligence has FORCED this city council to rescind a maximum of $$2,262,000 of tax gouging PER YEAR.
There's more... much, much more, and it gets "worser" and "worser". Watch it on SNCAT chan 13 TV at 1210 noon (one hour) on 7 and 10 August... you won't regret it.
Folks, Sam Dehne, just an ordinary, average, every-day citizen, (with tremendous support from dozens of irate citizens) uncovered and exposed this potential rotten $3,000,000 tax-gouging scheme... a scheme that citizens can only assume is the Tip of the Iceburg. Isn't it way past time for a Coalition of Citizens FOR Citizens to rise and unseat this (Special-Interest-Oriented) city council? A city council whose number one Special Interest has become... itself?
The best solution is: IT IS AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!
By forcing this city council to revert back to the previous time schedule, the citizens saved themselves a verified maximum $2,262,000... every year.
Read more Ideas and read the Resolutions that started this Revolution, "click" here.
WHEREAS, Reno's Parking Meter fee structure is a potentially severe form of taxation, and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Reno should not be improperly punished for visiting THEIR own downtown, and
WHEREAS, the recent changes in parking meter fees potentially increase overall fees by over 400%, and
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that all issues relative to Parking Meter fee structure shall be a DIRECT function of, and controlled by  Reno citizens, and
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED, that the Parking fee structure is to be immediately reinstated to previous rates and remain there.
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED, that in the future Parking Meter issues will be monitored and controlled by the citizens of Reno.
Approved this __ day of _____, 1997.

Mayor of Reno
Reno City Clerk
Note: This Resolution was immediately supported by more than 780 Citizens' Petitition Signatures... with more offered.
To: Reno City Office Staff
Attempted Plagiarization of Citizens' Ideas
1. Members of this city government and assistant manager (or whatever Ms. McElroy is) took OUR Petition-Driven Citizens' Initiative Resolution, that was submitted back in the first week in July, and refused to agendize it in a timely manner... even though there was room on subsequent agendas in July.
1a. No other person or organization submitted any corrective documents or Resolutions.
2. Reno government then stalled for over a month... as their staff tried to come up with a "battle plan".
3. In the most obvious recent act of subterfuge, they then:
a) allowed ONLY city staff to present their case (50 MINUTES),
b) plagiarized the words and ideas off of OUR Resolution... onto their motion,
c) acted as if they were the ones who thought of correcting their own Parking Meter blunders,
d) and then voted to "correct" THEIR OWN blunders.
4. Then, only AFTER taking action on what were basically our demands - from OUR RESOLUTION... ONLY THEN did they even allow us A MEASLY 5 MINUTES to present our Resolution. And lo and behold, goodness gracious, they then voted our Resolution down (even though they had just finished plagiarizing its words and ideas into their own motion). What an "accomodating" form of city government!?! Your mayor saying: "What are we going to do with this thing?"... as he waved our Resolution around in his hand.
5. Any people, who don't see that this was a blatant attempt by this council to try to usurp credit for correcting (ironically) their very own blunders, have their heads in the sand.
6. Yes, CITIZENS did "win" the Parking Meter issue. Thwarting tax-gouging is always a "win". Citizens, who were watching, caught them trying to pull their sticky fingers out of the cookie bucket.
7. And besides the plagiarizing of the words and ideas from our Citizens' Resolution, this city council displayed abject irresponsibility for permitting the citizen-gouging in the first place... and delaying our Resolution... for over a month.
I understand that city employees, are concerned about the security of their jobs... and thus have to toe the party line. But there comes a time when things get so blatantly shaky, that an honorable citizen would have a hard time sleeping.
Notwithstanding the antics described above, it comes down to a simple question: Did the city council agenda coordinator tell me that I had a "time certain" of 1:30 or not? First, on the phone and then, in front of the mayor and city manager at caucus on Monday morning? A simple "yes" or "no" will suffice... I know she did, and so do the mayor and city manager.
Have a nice day...
Sam Dehne, a Citizen
What transpired between 2:00PM and 3:00PM on Tuesday in Reno city chambers was rotten. This council's modus operandi is... The facts, however interesting, are irrelevant.
Dear Reno City Council Member,
I pointed out to you at the city council meeting of 24 June that parking fees were going to escalate dramatically (over 100%) starting 1 July. I then told you that I had attended almost every meeting and never heard this critical issue discussed. I asked each of you, "Why?"
From the hubbub that ensued at table, it was obvious that even some of you did not know that the fees were exploding... from 25 cents to 50 cents per hour (7 days per week). One of you even commented that... the last you heard the parking meter issue had been sent to "engineering". Is this true?
Does "engineering" have the right to do things like this to Reno citizens... without formal public discussion and vote?
What are you going to do about it?
Citizens have a right to know about this... beyond a "blurb" in your bi-monthly propaganda page in the Reno Gazette... just days before it is to take effect.
Why do I have to always be the one who brings these problems to your attention?
Is there somebody on your highly-paid staff that you can't depend on?
Maybe you should take some time off from catering to the developers.
Maybe you should do yourselves, AND REGULAR RENO CITIZENS, a favor and appoint me to the Reno Airport Board of "trustees". (Only one nomination out of 21... tsk, tsk, tsk...)
Sam Dehne, a concerned Reno Citizen
The Lord has not forgotten Reno. "Click" here.
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