When Parking Meters Were Against the Law


While doing some academic journal digging for my article yesterday on "Petty Law Enforcement vs. the Poor," I came across some very interesting news-to-me (perhaps well known to everyone else) from a 1947 article by Marion Allen Grimes called "The Legality of Parking Meter Ordinances and Permissible Use of Parking Meter Funds", from California Law Review. / CC BY-SA

Turns out that back in the first half of the 20th century, people had enough mistrust of government and respect for the notion of enumerated powers–even on the local level–that lots of people filed legal challenges to the very notion of a municipality's power to install parking meters.

After all, "It is a well-established rule of municipal law that a municipal corporation possesses and can exercise only those powers expressly granted to it, those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted, and those essential to the accomplishment of the declared objects and purposes…."

Most such challenges lost, natch. Courts are, after all, a branch of government.

But not all of them! In some cases discussed in this article, "the court came to the conclusion that the municipality had not been granted the power to regulate traffic by use of parking meters. The ordinance in one jurisdiction was held bad as levying a license fee, such fees being prohibited by state law. Another jurisdiction held that a city which had power to pass a parking meter ordinance had wrongly exercised that power since the measure was for revenue rather than for regulation. Another ordinance was held invalid as being not a proper exercise of the police power, since it violated the rights of an abutting property owner."

A very different nation, worse in many important ways, but that courts could actually accept and rule in favor of people challenging state power to put in parking meters is a neat thing.

NEXT: Ex-Okla. City Doctor Charged with Murders for Drug Overdose Deaths

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  1. News to me too, thanks for this! Goes along with my gripe about driver’s licenses.

  2. the notion of enumerated powers–even on the local level–that lots of people filed legal challenges to the very notion of a municipality’s power to install parking meters.

    Which makes absolute, perfect sense. I’ve already paid for the roadz in my taxes, now you charge me again to use them, park there etc?

    It’s like the great Seattle City Light scandal of the 90s.

    1. Good Lord, that is some shameless shenanigans right there.

      1. “Providing streetlights is a governmental function because they operate for the benefit of the general public and not for the comfort and use of individual customers,” the court said. “City Light customers have no control over the provision and use of streetlights.”

        And what a beautiful turn of phrase.

    2. Thank god we don’t have city owned electricity here.

  3. Disputes about the legality of parking meters just lead to egg-eating contests and ultimately to violent death.

    1. +1 Failure to Communicate

    2. And getting the shit beat out of you by George Kennedy

  4. A bunch of people from Free Keene (new hampshire) do this thing they call “Robinhooding” where they follow the metermaid around and put nickles in expired meters right before she gets to them. The city recently took them to court but lost. The city appealed to the state supreme court though.

    1. In Santa Cruz, we had a clown do this: “Mister Twister.” He got nationwide press for his good deeds, but was seen as a criminal by the poobahs here, as we have a law against feeding anyone else’s meter.

  5. Speaking of Silly, Intrusive Laws: GOP SoCon Va. State Legislator Introduces Law That Would Criminalize Oral and Anal Sex Between Teens

    “Delegate Thomas Garrett has proposed a bill that would make it a felony in Virginia for anyone to have oral or anal sex with a minor. But genital sex? Well, Virginia law would, even if this bill is enacted, provide that genital sex between an adult and a 15-to-17-year-old is a misdemeanor, and sex among 15-to-17-year-olds is perfectly legal. So if two 17-year-olds are choosing whether to have oral sex or genital sex, the law would push them towards the form of sex that is more likely to transmit disease, and more likely to cause unwanted pregnancy. Genius.

    The proposal would also apply to prostitution, making oral sex with a prostitute a felony for both sides, while genital sex is a misdemeanor; that too seems hard to justify. Virginia law used to prohibit nongenital sex generally, and this proposal is a response to a MacDonald v. Moose (4th Cir. 2013), which applied Lawrence v. Texas to strike down the ban on the grounds that the ban covered private noncommercial adult sexual conduct. Delegate Garrett is trying to revive that old law in those areas ? prostitution, sex involving minors, and sex in public places ? where Lawrence might not apply. But even though this revival might be constitutional, that doesn’t make it smart.”…..qus_thread

  6. Paid parking SHOULD be against the law!

  7. I’m so glad they take credit card now!

  8. Stossel thread? Are we going back to yesterday’s?

    1. How about a Treehouse Masters thread so you know what you’re in store for tomorrow? The next 6 hours of Discovery Channel are Treehouse reruns….

      1. P.S. You heard of the Omega Tanker? My son put on a documentary about a 707 converted to tanker that has booms on the wingtips. Seems kind of weird to me…

        1. The KC-135 was just a 707 with a boom. I’ve refueled behind them many times. The AF uses the flying boom out the ass end. The Navy uses a drogue refueling system and as I recall they had some 135s modified to extend droge off the wingtips for the squids.

          1. The ass end makes sense. The physics guy in me says the wingtips don’t. Are the drogues behind AND below the win tips?

            1. Here. It’s a pod they stick out there that extends the drogue.

          2. Does the AF still informally refer to the process as “passing gas”?

            1. Yeah, that’s what the tanker toads call it.

          3. Is that on the refueling plane side that dictates the type used or just a service preference?

            I hopped a joyride on a C-130 refueling flight circa Operation Southern Watch days and they used one of those drouge systems (and learned their name today, thanks FdA!). Pretty sure the fuel pod side was AF but the empties could have been Navy, USMC, or AF. It’s been so long ago and the memories are fading. Somewhere I have a neat picture of the refueling taken from one of the side windows.

            1. It’s a service preference thing. I think it stems from the Navy using A-6s and other fighter type aircraft to top off Naval fags Aviators who can’t get back on the boat (because they suck ;-)) You can’t put a flying boom on such an aircraft, so the Navy favors a drogue system.

              Air Force tankers refuel Navy planes quite a bit during real world ops, so the AF came up with a way to service both.

      2. It’s on right after the Independents so we can stay on that thread.

        1. I’m beginning to wonder how many of these tree houses are meant to defeat the tax man…

  9. Wait, I had something for this: A Supercut of Sterling Archer’s best one-liners

  10. Is there a stossel thread I can’t find?

    1. Nah. Stossel is great and all, I just can’t bring myself to turn the tv on tonight.

  11. Lovely Rita, fascist goon
    You look cute in those jackboots…

    I can’t rhink of a G-rated way to go on from there.

  12. OT, but this seems the evening links thread.
    GOP Woman Stanford MD runs against Peninsula Dems:
    “Twist: GOP Stanford doctor jumps into contentious Silicon Valley House race”…..jumped-in/
    Not sure we have the full story.

    1. “she has no government experience and has never run for political office”

      She has my (non existent) vote.

      1. Also this really pisses me off:

        The effect could come courtesy of California’s “top two” primary system, under which the first- and second-place finishers in June advance to the November general election, regardless of party

        1. Are you ready, dude? I’ve had equal parts beer and mountain dew, so I’ll be focused like a laser beam (albeit in the wrong direction).

          1. P.S. My Fios Quantum is going to be stepping all over your bandwidth.

            1. I don’t know what service provider my parents have, but I’m very satisfied with it.

          2. Yeah I’m ready. I eschew stimulants though when it comes to tests.

            1. I would hardly call Mountain Dew a stimulant. It’s more like God’s tears.

          3. …aaaand done.

            1. Yeah me too. Harder than I anticipated but I think I did okay. Would it make a sound if you answered incorrectly?

              1. No. All of the questions you weren’t sure about: you got those wrong.

                1. I’m pissed off at myself for spacing on an easy question about who wrote The Hunger Games.

                  And I’m hoping they accept my answer about Alice Walker since I didn’t get it until the last second and only typed out “Walke”

                  1. You’ll get that. The intent is clear.

            2. I fucking suck. Maybe 30-35 right.

              1. My tally is 38 plus 50/50 guesses. I need to check google.

                I don’t do literature or opera. Ever.

                1. I didn’t keep track of the ones I absolutely knew, so I have no idea what my score is.

                  1. I don’t think they will accept my spelling of R?ntgen. We’ll see…

                    1. Don’t remember how I spelled Allegheny, either.

                    2. I think I spelled it A-l-l-e-g- and I can’t remember how it ends but your mom’s a whore, Playa.

                    3. Meow!

    2. Weird story, it doesn’t mention what she stands for other than Indian identity politics.

      1. Elisabeth Warren’s sister?

        1. Different Indian.

          1. The correct reply is “dot not feather”

      2. This is the Chron; they treat any candidate other than a D as an amusing curiosity. Doesn’t matter what she might think.

  13. Politico addresses the vital issues raised by Bob Gates’ memoirs…not whether the claims in the book are true but whether Gates was disloyal for saying bad things about the President.

  14. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week to complain about a Cuomo appointee’s handling of a growing controversy over traffic pattern changes on the George Washington Bridge, a person familiar with the matter said.

    Mr. Christie, a Republican, complained in a private phone call to Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, that Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was pressing too hard to get to the bottom of why the number of toll lanes onto the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. was cut from three to one in early September, according to this person. The lane closures occurred without notice to local authorities, officials have said, and snarled traffic for a week in the small borough on the Hudson River bluffs. (Dec 12)…..2674389146

    Why would Christie pressure Cuomo back in Dec to not pursue a traffic study?

    ‘Fat and Furious’ is not over by a long shot.

    1. You say that like someone here would be upset by that…


      Anyone here want Christie to be president?

      1. Not anyone I have seen. Chill out. It is the story of the day.

        In two weeks it will be dormant until campaigns rev up again.

        1. Go fuck your daddy, shitpile.

          1. Why so hostile?

            Are you a Christie fan?

    2. Wait I had something for this…


      derp derpy derpity dooo

      1. Now don’t go stealin’ one of ass-stopper’s lines and turning it around on him. He’s liable to cry or sumpin’.

  15. I think American found Matt Welch’s twitter page.

    Matt Welch
    Glenn “@Instapundit” Reynolds calls The @IndependentsFBN a “great new show on Fox Business,” and so can you! ?

    The Americanist ?@Americanist313 2h

    @mleewelch @Instapundit @IndependentsFBN Sorry, don’t like it. too much anti-Christian bile on there.

    Matt Welch ?@mleewelch 2h
    Like what?

    The Americanist ?@Americanist313 2h
    @mleewelch @IndependentsFBN like everything that is on that dumb show. Watched it once. When the Anti-Christian crap started I tuned out.

    Matt Welch ?@mleewelch 2h
    The host is Orthodox. The co-hosts aren’t atheist

    The Americanist ?@Americanist313 2h
    @mleewelch @IndependentsFBN The Communists in Russia and Hitler hated Christians too. Looks like you guys have good inspiration.

    The Americanist ?@Americanist313 2h
    @mleewelch @IndependentsFBN means nothing. ya’ll are haters and you know it. Consider yourselves called out.

    1. It’s blockin’ time.

    2. You know, that’s exactly how I imagined “American” to look like.

      1. needz moar neck fat!!!

      2. I looked at the guy’s twitter page and he’s as crazy as you’d think.

        The Americanist ?@Americanist313 2 Jan
        Is Duck Dynasty preaching a false Christ? #duckdynasty #duckcommander #tcot #pjnet #Christianity #Christian?

        I don’t think this is American. There isn’t enough anti-Jew, anti-Mexican, and anti-black propaganda.

        This guy’s a kook but does not appear to be a racist.

        1. He’s a fucking loon.

          Agree though, not our Racist.

    3. Oh shit, y’all got called out!

  16. CA GOP: Who’s in charge here?
    “Republicans sorta like Jerry Brown’s budget. Sorta”…..get-sorta/
    So earlier this week the state GOP is focused on the oh-so-important issue of which toilet Johnny should pee in, pissing off those who figure it really isn’t a matter of importance and only proves the GOP is irrelevant.
    Now, we have the state GOP applauding moonbeam’s spendthrift budget.
    I understand that not all march to the same drummer, but a bit of consistency might give the voters something to aim at.

    1. “I understand that not all march to the same drummer, but a bit of consistency might give the voters something to aim at.”

      Hopefully whilst pissing. The CA GOP deserves no more than that.

    1. Statism legislating to the lowest common denominator is just another LIEbertarian myth.

  17. I had an infuriating experience this evening at a restaurant. The scene: seated at a table of seven friends at a popular microbrewery/restaurant in Slippery Rock, PA. A table of three, one balding long haired, bearded, glasses-wearing smug 20-something douchebag (full disclosure: I am a long-haired, bearded, 30-something) and two females sit, enjoying two or three full samplers of beer, appetizers, and meals, later adding a 1 gallon growler of some beer to the tab.

    Near the end of the evening, the waitress comes over to close them out. The douchebag begins explaining how he doesn’t have money to pay for the tab. Not only that, but, he explains, his group generally doesn’t go out much, because they don’t believe in spending a lot of money. In fact, “we are environmentalists, and we don’t have much money” (I swear this is an actual quote).

    Then he goes on to explain to the 20-ish waitress how he is such a morally enlightened, employee-of-a-worth-nonprofit, environmentalist, that he deserves to not pay for his bill.

    1. The waitress objects, but not strongly. He tells her about all the good he is doing, and she halfheartedly feigns interest and suggests that he contact the owner of the establishment to arrange for alternate payment. I and one other at my table begin to make audible comments about the reponsibility of a customer to pay his bills. One of the douchebag’s female companions evidently feels embarrassed and pulls out her credit card to pay the bill.

      Later, we leave an extra tip for the waitress (because we think the other table stiffed her) with a not reading “EXTRA TIP FROM PROPLE WHO PAY FOR THEIR BEER.”

      I am still angry about this. I wish we had had the guts to publicly shame this foul excuse for a man, but we didn’t.

      1. Maybe you just needed more beer to get it done.

        1. In my neck of the woods, we call that fraud. It is in fact against the law. I don’t know what the specific statute is in PA (in CA it is PC 537), but the guy deservers to be put in cuffs for theft.

          1. I wish I could have done more, but they did actually pay, and it is the owner and his employees’ responsibility. But I wanted so badly to punch this turd’s face in.

      2. “I am still angry about this. I wish we had had the guts to publicly shame this foul excuse for a man, but we didn’t.”

        I’m guessing it would have been a waste of time; you presume the twit had the ability to BE ashamed.
        From your description, I don’t share that view.

        1. Nothing wrong with unloading on a douchebag who deserves it, especially if you are out drinking with friends….

          1. There are times you get ‘honest’ at a bar, but you’ll wanna make sure you got the muscle.

            1. We had.more.than enough muscle, but that can sometimes be a problem, especially if 4 or 5 of the 7 are carrying.

        2. I sometimes think that people with that ability are an endangered species.

          1. To be fair, what’s more peaceful than a corpse?

            1. Oops, was meant for Obama Afghan comment above. It’s early. First cup of coffee and all that.

              Kinda works here though.

      3. Not sure I would have. Like to think I would, but you never know until your actually there. Probably depend on how many I’d had and how arrogant the shit weasel actually was.

        1. I hadn’t had quite.enough. plus I am always careful public, as I am always armed (when I’m and I don’t need to be the one, especially when I have had a drink. There in PA againat carrying in an establishment that serves alcohol, but I always avoid.confrontation in bars.

        2. I hadn’t had quite.enough. plus I am always careful public, as I am always armed (when I’m and I don’t need to be the one, especially when I have had a drink. There in PA againat carrying in an establishment that serves alcohol, but I always avoid.confrontation in bars.

          1. There in PA againat carrying in an establishment that serves alcohol,

            Holy shit, things have gotten better in PA since I was a kid. That’s astounding.

            1. It actually feels weird when I carry in other states and I have to remember not to bring a gun into bars or even restaurants that serve alcohol. Kentucky. Ohio, Texas, Arizona. But not PA.

              1. I keep a couple in my truck, but can’t legally take them on base. When the wife and I go to town, I always need to ask if she plans a stop at the base and, if so, take them out.

                Pathetic, folks trained to kill for a living aren’t allowed to carry.

                1. Counterpoint: Maj. Nidal Hassan

                  You know, workplace violence.

                  1. I wonder how long he would have lasted had 10% of the soldiers around him had loaded duty weapons within arm’s reach.

                2. Just a couple? I only have 1 in my minivan (aka swagger wagon).

                  1. I have one (.44 special) in a holster by the seat for any potential highway type confrontations and my little Ruger .380 LCP that I stick in my pocket when I go out. It’s just easier to leave it in the glove box than to take it in all the time.

                    1. I’m one of the lucky few in CA, but I have to leave it in the car when I pick the boy up from school, so I just keep it in a digital lockbox under the console. You like the Ruger LCs? I’ve been looking at an LC9…

                    2. No, not really. Single action, long trigger pull for every shot. No safety. Accurate to a range you can still effectively use it as a club.

                      But it’s tiny and very easy to carry. The best gun to carry is the one you will carry. I can conceal this in the back pocket of a pair of shorts. The laser sight helps.

                    3. I have a Glock 39 now, but not a big fan. The ammo is expensive, too. I would rather have a 9mm (I have enough 9 to last decades).

                    4. I like Glocks. Shot a friends and loved it. I had a Beretta 92 and traded up to a 96. Not overly happy with that choice. The .40 wasn’t anywhere near as accurate. If I was getting another mid size gun I’d look at the Glock 17 or 22.

                      I think my next pistol will be a bear gun. Maybe a S&W .44 Air Lite.

                    5. *bows to playa*

                      Another 39 here. I used to poo poo the GAP but I like the way it shoots. Too bad there aren’t many other platforms for the round. I think my next one will be a PPS.

                      If you’re not involved already, please come check out a GSSF match. Lots of fun for any skill level and Glock ladles out the prizes. I picked up a big brother G4 37 in a first timers drawing.

                    6. I prefer a bigger bore. My EDC (when in the US) is Para Carry. Basically a 3″ bbl 1911 variant in 45 ACP. Overall envelope just a RCH smaller than a Makarov so it’s no pocket pistol but still easy to have on me. It’s also much more accurate than I had expected – gives me 3.5″ groups at 15 meters.

                    7. I wear swim trunks most of the year, so….

                    8. I go off-body with something by Maxpedition or a Safepacker when it’s too hot in NM.

          2. When you’re carrying, you have a moral obligation to de-escalate. Period.

            1. That is my belief as well.

              1. Not that it would have come down to that with hippie dude. Just generally.

            2. Yeah, when you are carrying there are too many problems and life-altering outcomes that can come with any less-than-friendly encounter. In this case discretion defintitely is the better part of valor.

              I would console myself that if he didn’t go home to a cold, lonely bed whatever whacked out female that would accompany his wretched ass wouldn’t be worth the crazy that comes with it. Besides, how could a dude with no balls have sex anyway?

  18. Gotta ask, since the article was about as ‘fair’ as the Kock’s could have hoped:
    No one else has read the Fortune article on Kock Industries?

    1. What article? I would be interested in reading it…

      1. It’s in the print Fortune this month.
        My scrip has long ago run out, but I still get it, and once every 6 months there’s something worth reading.

  19. Supposed to be a good night to see the aurora borealis tonight, but no love here. Any Canucks up tonight?

  20. In case you forgot about Afghanistan (the good war, according to candidate Barack Obama), some thoughtful person has charted the deaths by month in Afghanistan and color coded for Dubya and Barry.

    In case you don’t feel like clicking, Dubya averaged 6.4 deaths per month, whereas Barry comes in at 26.9 deaths per month.

    1. Holy freaking… if that is accurate there were only two months during the entire 8 years under Dubya that were just slightly higher than Obama’s average for his entire five years in office.

    2. Nobel Peace Prize, babies!

  21. Girls producers go into ‘Rage Spiral’ after the show’s nudity is questioned by critics.

    In the moment, Dunham herself spoke clearly about her position on the nudity, saying it is “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive. But I totally get it. If you’re not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals,”

    I’ve decided that I should be naked as often as possible, particularly at events where it is completely inappropriate. Then, when people ask me what the point of all this nudity is, I’ll tell them that it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive.

    Irish’s Mom: Irish! Why are you naked!

    Irish: I’m realistically expressing what it’s like to be alive.

    Irish’s Mom: It’s your grandmother’s funeral!

    1. it is “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive.

      Um…actually…that chick would be a virgin in it is a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive.

    2. “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive.”

      Funny. If I stumbled across something like that laying in my yard I’d probably feel an urge to check for a pulse.

    3. Seeing ugly people nude is not a “realistic expression” of my life.

      Well, except for myself.

    4. Ye gods, what a festival of self-indulgence and entitlement. “How dare you ask questions that are inconvenient for me!”

  22. I’ma steal Franky’s line:

    Night kids.

  23. Parking meters make sense when the demand is high and supply is limited.

    I think a bigger issue is toll roads, especially the perpetual kins like in Illinois. You’re actually double-paying for them: the toll you pay plus the gasoline tax. (More likely your gas tax is paying for a highway system you aren’t using.)

    1. I don’t mind paying a road toll that pays for building and maintaining the road. I mind paying a road toll to finance the World Trade Center or the Metrorail Silver Line.

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