When I first read that there was racketeering going on in Chester, I tried to imagine how this parking-a-car thugerry could be worked into an episode of Boardwalk Empire. Only in Chester can street violence take a back seat to street parking.
The following are my comments on my favorite quotes from today's Delco Times article.
T.I.B.C. Partners, a Bala Cynwyd-based company that owns and operates several parking lots near the stadium...
Hold it. Let’s define a parking lot. We’re not talking about a blacktop paved, multi-lined, arrow directed, handicapped accessible, overhead lighted parking lot that you’d see at other stadiums, the mall, or at Dollar General. No. In Chester a parking lot is defined as a plot of ground of any surface type - rock, stone, grass, mud, blacktop or glass. They pop up almost out of no where on game day. After the game is over they disappear into an empty lot again with no purpose other than to wait for the next event at PPL Park.
...alleging that city officials conspired with the Union to “injure” their parking business so that patrons “would never again” utilize the partners’ parking lots.
I love the word “injure”. It helps support the racketeering claim. Can’t you hear Mugsy telling a car, “If you park in there I’ll break your axels so you can never park there again.”
...alleges the defendants conspired to disrupt its business by blockading its parking lots with city-owned trucks, barricades and police tape on various occasions since the start of the 2012 Major League Soccer season. The most recent incident occurred March 15, when the defendants allegedly “imprisoned” patrons by blocking off lot exits at halftime of a Union game.
Not only are the bad guys not going to let you in, if you do find a way to sneak in, we’re going to “imprison” you so you can’t come out. All cars are later paroled with monitoring devices and orange jumpsuits.
Sakiewicz said. “We have complied 100 percent with every law and building code in constructing PPL Park and the adjacent approved parking lots that we control.”
The soccer stadium guys keep it simple by claiming that the lots they own are cool, implying that if someone has a problem with those other guy’s lots, deal with them and keep us out of it.
The parking squabble dates back to March 2012, when T.I.B.C. Partners reached an agreement with the city permitting it to park cars on 20 parcels of land it purchased in 2011, according to the lawsuit. The parcels compose four parking lots with a total capacity of 1,100 cars.
If the city permitted T.I.B.C. to purchase 20 parcels of land and park 1,100 cars we have just wasted 20 parcels of land. Instead of creating all the drama, why doesn't the City purchase those parcels and earn revenue from parking? It looks better than buying abandoned schools that continue to rot, and probably cheaper than a court settlement.
The notice claimed the lots posed a “significant danger to public safety” because of a lack of sidewalks or other means to segregate pedestrian and motor traffic.
If the city permitted T.I.B.C. to purchase 20 parcels of land and park 1,100 cars you would think they considered sidewalks and pedestrians as part of the approval process.
The court issued a cease-and-desist order in May 2013 to the city, prohibiting officials from blocking the entrances and exits to the parking lots. A Commonwealth Court judge affirmed that decision in June 2014.
The courts keep telling Chester to leave these poor people alone and let them park cars on these lots but Chester keeps on putting up the barricades. I guess that’s how we define racketeering in the 21st century. It sure doesn’t fit the entrepreneurial spirit the mayor is trying to foster in Chester.
The simple solution is two fold. Either bring more churches to surround PPL Park because there’s never an issue dismissing church early to make a few dollars parking cars in their lots. Or, remind visitors to PPL Park that they can park on the street for free and walk a few blocks. That’s what I do every time I go down there.