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Crack down on permits underway
When I heard word that the State Department of Licensing would begin to spearhead an effort to crack down on the open and blatant abuse of disabled parking permits, I began to pay more attention to these parking spaces and their use as I went about my daily and weekly business.
We have all seen examples of this abuse and it enrages most of us when it happens.
Use of these allocated and permit required spaces within the City of Bremerton appear to have a considerable amount of traffic.
Grocery stores, the post office and restaurants frequently have most or all of the spaces in use at the various times I am there.
Bremerton has the distinction of hosting the majority of social, health and charitable services within its borders.
Bremerton citizens with disabilities need to compete for these spaces along with a host of disability recipients traveling in and out of the city for business, treatment or publicly funded services.
When unauthorized use of these spaces occurs it hurts everyone who relies on them.
It is a considerable pet peeve of mine when I see these spaces outright abused or used unnecessarily.
I have reported some of the most blatant abuse to the authorities at various times over the years.
This reporting always left me wondering if my complaint will actually make a difference or will just fall into the big black hole of apathetic bureaucracy.
Well, it appears that I was not alone and after years of logging these complaints from citizens who were outraged and took the time to report it, a state committee has formed and is starting to take some sort of action.
First and foremost, the committee is taking a closer look at the complaints themselves.
Next, further review and accountability when it comes to those who decide if a permit is needed and for how long it should be in effect.
Lastly, a much harder crackdown on those who are engaging in unauthorized use needs to occur.
Apparently the current $250 fine is not an effective enough deterrent and the implementation of more expensive, longer term ramifications is needed.
I will be watching the progress of the state commission and am hopeful that some necessary corrections and changes to the system occur.
I encourage all Bremerton residents to be mindful of these spaces.
Make sure you are not parking in them, crossing over the line and crowding them or blocking the space completely.
We have a population of people in our community for which these spaces make the difference in their ability to conduct their business or obtain the assistance or services they need.
Colleen Smidt is a longtime resident of Bremerton who writes weekly about political and community issues that matter to residents of Bremerton.