Parking habits of county employees draws criticism

Published: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 8:58 p.m.
First the Alachua County Commission had to bear up to an onslaught of criticism over its decision to four-lane SW 24th Avenue. Now a businessman is hammering the county about downtown parking.
But just don't accuse county employees of being lazy.
Thomas Sputo, whose engineering office is on SW 1st Avenue, has been keeping tabs on how long county vehicles - especially code enforcement vehicles - park in the free spaces with two-hour limits.
It turns out some of them are there for more than two hours, yet are not ticketed.
"As many as 10 vehicles take up parking for most of the morning, and into the afternoon at a time," Sputo wrote to commissioners. " . . . This parking is primarily to be used by customers of the businesses in this area, not by county vehicles on long-term business."
Sputo suggested the county use the new nearby city garage, but Commissioner Mike Byerly responded to Sputo that the city would charge the county for that.
"I'm willing to entertain a discussion regarding whether or not we should shoulder that additional expense," Byerly wrote. "But I wanted you to know that it wasn't simply a matter of not being willing to walk a few hundred more feet."
  • Blue over booze laws: Note to future Democratic Alachua County Commission candidates - if you want at least one vote, pledge to overturn the county's blue laws.
    Gainesville resident Mark Jaquith recently noted in an e-mail to commissioners he tried to buy a six-pack in a grocery store at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. He was told county law prohibited sales on Sunday before 1 p.m. The city of Gainesville has its own ordinance that also outlaws beer sales before 1 p.m. Sunday.
    "Don't get me wrong, I happen to be a Christian myself. I just think it's ridiculous to force businesses to observe a Christian holiday by hindering the products they can sell on that day," he wrote. "I consider myself a Libertarian, but I would vote for a Democrat in a heartbeat if I felt that he or she was going to do everything in his or her power to increase the amount of freedom enjoyed by citizens and businesses."
  • Open office: Visitors to the fourth-floor office suite housing Interim City Manager Barbara Lipscomb and many of her staff at Gainesville's City Hall this week may have noticed a few things missing: the front door and a couple of walls.
    The removal of two walls that separate the suite from the rest of the floor is only a temporary measure while workers move the office's front door to better accommodate the office's current set-up.
    The change doesn't seem to be bothering city staff too much.
    "Now that's what I call open government," said Teresa Scott, interim assistant city manager and director of public works, as she stepped into the office through what had been a wall.
  • Quote of the week: "Maybe I don't have much of a life, but I found some of this to be interesting reading. I'm getting perverted, or something," Alachua County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson regarding a report on a proposed new power plant.
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