It is with deep regret, fellow Toledoans, that I inform you it is time once again in our fair city to play "Whack-a-Mole: The Mayoral Edition."
Look! Over there! Hizzoner's head popped up! Whack!
You know, it just shouldn't be this easy.
To recap, Toledo is on the radar screen. Again. Thanks to our mayor. Again.
This time, it's over something that ought to be among the most benign of municipal topics: residential parking.
As a Chicago Tribune blog post put it: "If you think Chicago's parking meter fiasco is bad, imagine getting a ticket for parking in your own driveway."
Or, as Christian Science Monitor blogger Jimmy Orr wrote: "Who says government doesn't always know best? And if government says you can't legally park in your driveway, they must be right. What business do you have parking your car in your own driveway?"
Or, as msnbc.com said in a headline under "weird news": "Parking in your own driveway? Here's a ticket."
Or, as - eh, never mind. You must already have the idea that our little parking imbroglio has made the news everywhere.
Lord knows we could go on with other media mentions a la "Wow, didya hear about this dunder-headed business in Toledo, Ohio?" But we won't, because after awhile it starts to sting, right?
(By the way, Carty was in Tampa yesterday, helping - or, we should perhaps better say, "helping" - Toledo compete for the All-America City designation, which raises a scary question: Um, you don't think they've got the Internet down in Tampa, do you?)
OK, wait. Let's just stop right now. Enough is enough.
We must be fair: The Finkbeiner administration is merely enforcing a well-intended and even sensible law.
This isn't just about keeping parked cars quarantined on concrete, is it? Isn't this law meant to keep us from such downscale, property-value-damaging practices as ornamenting our front lawns with parked cars? Right?
Phew. OK, that's all. Our work here is through, our obligation fulfilled. We can stop with this "be fair" business.
We now resume doling out richly deserved ridicule over this latest jaw-gaping move from Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
Though, personally, I actually think he's onto something.
Point No. 1: Toledo is broke.
Point No. 2: Toledo must have some other hare-brained laws that could yield fines.
Point No. 3: If Toledo doesn't, we can fix that by sundown.
Why stop at prohibiting homeowners from parking on their own gravel driveways?
There's something out there called the "Real Dumb Laws Board Game" ($29.99 plus shipping at Amazon.com), though we're in a hurry (Carty says Toledo loses $100,000 per day) so we can't just sit around waiting for the UPS guy to deliver other cities' model legislation.
Civic-minded soul that I am, however, here's one solution. Hear ye, hear ye! A proposal:
The City of Toledo should follow the lead set by our northern neighbor, Michigan, where, by law, no one can swear in front of women and children.
Fellow citizens, if we localized that one, our notoriously salty-mouthed mayor could single-handedly make up the city's multimillion-dollar shortfall by next week. Tops.
In the meantime, sledgehammers up, people! We must be ready for the inevitable next round of "Whack-a-Mole: The Mayoral Edition."
Roberta de Boer is a columnist for The Blade.
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