Sandy City may have found the secret to keeping taxes down while still expanding revenue: Fool professional soccer fans into paying parking fines.
Many Real Salt Lake fans attending last Saturday's game found parking tickets on their windshields, even though they were parked on side streets near Rio Tinto stadium with no visible "No Parking" signs.
One fan said he noticed so many parking tickets, he estimates the city pocketed a cool $1,000 in one night.
The fan, taking his family to the game, found a parking space in a neighborhood about a half mile from the stadium, and was "very careful" to make sure he was not parked in a prohibited spot.
When he got home he went online to look up the violation code on the ticket and found that he was cited for parking in any place where "official signs or traffic markings prohibit stopping, standing or parking."
Baffled by that, he returned to the neighborhood during the daytime, and after "driving around for 45 minutes," he finally spotted 10 signs that had been strategically placed on the outside of the one-fourth mile radius around the stadium that stated, "Event Parking By Permit Only."
So Sandy has created a no-parking enclave during events at Rio Tinto stadium and the only notice they have provided to event patrons are signs that are several streets away.
"In fact,"he said, "the closest sign to my parking space was three streets away."
Sandy Police Captain John Eining said the no-event parking area was created in mid-season because too many cars were clogging the neighborhoods around the stadium and some visitors were leaving garbage on the roadside. He conceded that the no-parking signs are not placed on every street, they are placed on the blocks that are entry-ways to the neighborhoods.
My source, however, said one would think the no-parking would apply only to the street where the sign is placed.
Chain letter? •I wrote recently about an email sent out by a Hill Air Force Base security officer warning that the FBI had identified the Occupy Wall Street group as an extremist left-wing organization bent on violence and overthrowing the government. I pointed out that the local office of the FBI said that was not true and the letter obviously was a misstatement.
Now, a member of the Utah Air National Guard tells me she also received the letter, but sent from another person at Hill.
The author of the letter she received did not provide a rank to his "security manager" title, which made her suspicious. The letter was so amateurish, she said, the author used the incorrect version of "capitol" when he wrote that the protesters were planning to march from the "Capital Building."
The only thing missing from these letters was the threat that the recipient will encounter a horrible fate if he or she does not pass it on to at least five friends.
Unintended consequences • After I wrote about the Sutherland Institute's Paul Mero justifying the gerrymandering of Salt Lake County to make it subservient to rural Utah because urban areas create liberals and socialists, one reader wondered if Mero had become a liberal himself.
After all, his argument about the evils of high population centers could be an advertising tag line for Planned Parenthood and Zero Population Growth.
Using Mero's argument, the reader quips, it appears that Utah's current high birth rate will eventually turn us all into Democrats.