City Government

Father Clegg Offers Insight

In the interest of fairness, the GUARDIAN is posting a response from Mr. Brett Clegg. It is reasoned, restrained, and should be treated with respect by GUARDIAN readers. Our guess is that some official action may be forthcoming with regard to park parking.

My daughter got a good scolding. She learned a hard lesson and has lost a good chunk of her summer wages. But we were more concerned about her safety that night. The park cleared out rather quickly after the Lacrosse and she took quite a bit of time trying to figure out what had happened to her car. She’s 17 and was alone and it was getting dark quick. The only sign that tells her who to call when you are towed is at the exit to the park. She did find some other people who were just a perplexed.

See they were out-of-town people who were here to enjoy seeing their kids play in a State championship Lacross tournament. They also got the pleasure of having their car towed and they had no-one to call to help them out. Welcome to Boise!

Just so you know, when my daughter arrived at the park there were already a lot of cars there. She was driving because she was also going to try to jump from the Boise High Championship Lacross game to the Boise High Championship Baseball game happening the same night that her parents were at. (Way to go Boise for winning that night.) By the way, Borah high took care of their patrons, they had people directing cars to areas set aside for the event.

There was a whole string of cars parked along the curb in question. Just as she arrived, one pulled out and left her a space. She couldn’t believe her luck. As I say, there was a whole string of them there. I guess they were all confused by the stripage. She probably didn’t look that hard at the color of the curb because there were many cars on it. What would you do? Take the space that just opened up?

She’s a kid. She made a costly mistake. She got a good scolding. She learned several important lessons. One of which is that Boise parks are just not that friendly.
–Brett Clegg

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Thanks for posting Mr. Clegg’s letter. I was really surprised that the Parks Department would have cars towed rather than ticketed. My conspiracy theory self says the towing company has worked out some kind of deal with the city. Unless these illegally parked cars were posing a danger to someone, I can’t really see the need for towing. Can someone clarify the laws and how they are enforced? Also, is the yellow paint faded or not?

    I would feel the same way as the Cleggs if I had a teenager stranded at a park.

  2. I can appreciatte Mr. Clegg’s comments and as a parent I can empathize with his situation. Kudos to the Clegg’s to making their daughter somewhat responsible, and not placing 100% of the blame on the City. I can also agree that curb colors can be confusing, and except for red and blue curbs there are not standards for the other colors. Some locations yellow means short-term parking for loading zones, some times yellow means no parking. There is also ambiguity with green and black curb paint. It is unfair to assume people can decifer curb colors without good signage and solid standards. I do not doubt the City could improve their signage and service on this issues, and I do think the City, and the parking industry as a whole, intrprets to liberally what constitutes a safety hazard and therefore vehicles are towed.

    Where I do have an issue is how Mrs. Clegg reacted to the Parks department and quickly made it their problem, rather than as a City policy maker herself, take some responsibility for the city’s policies. As a director of a division for my firm, I interact frequently with the executives, and I can understand the pressure a manager can feel when an executive comes down on you so hard. Even if the executive is out of line, there is a lot of stress and pressure to make the exectuive feel whole again. It is also frustrating because when they come down like that, they seem to forget they are part of the same team and are just critical and do not come with solutions or a willingness to work together. I think Mrs. Clegg does not understand or underestimates the pressure and stress her position and opinion bring, and how it makes subordinates feel they need to provide special treatment to please a superior when they ethically feel all should be treated the same. Even without asking for special treatment, the pressure is on the lower manager to provide it. Mrs. Clegg apparently did not ask for any special treatment, but she needs to understand it can be intrepreted as such, and while the executives can not be responsible for other people’s intrpretations, they need to be sensitive to it and their position.

    The correct response would have been for Mrs. Clegg to schedule a meeting with the parks manager in the days following the incident, and calmly explain how the situation impacted her family, how she felt the paint and signs were not suffecient, and propose some ideas, not just criticism, on how the policy might be improved. Here are some suggestions to facilitate that discussion should it ever occur:

    1) Formualte guildeines on what constitutes a safety hazard and deserves a tow. A vehicle parked in a drive lane, a vehicle blocking view of a safety device or traffic control device. All other violations are enforced through citations.

    2) Utilize vehicle relocations instead of impounds. Tow companies will relocate a vehicle for almost half the cost of a tow fee. They will move a vehicle to the next available parking space, even if it is across the street. This also saves the customer storage fees from the tow yard. When a customer looks for their car, it is at least within walking distance, and they still learned their lesson.

    3) Develop standards on how often paint and signs should be replaced

    4) Require organized events to provide traffic and parking assistance, or pay for such services for the city. This does not need to be expensive over-time police officers, it could be parks employees, volunteers for the event, or part-time workers.

  3. Some observations (hopefully respectful):

    1) I bet young Ms. Clegg isn’t the first vulnerable teenager who’s been stranded in a park as a result of this city policy, resulting in worried citizen/parents.

    2) A 17-year-old (I was once one, at Boise High School) with a driver’s license should understand what a painted curb means, and should understand that being surrounded by other violators of the law is NOT an excuse. (Life isn’t always fair.)

    3) If you choose to drive a motor vehicle, you are responsible for how it is operated, and where it is parked.

    4) Out-of-towners should likewise be responsible for the operation and parking of their vehicles. We welcome your visit, but you are expected to follow the same rules as the townfolk.

    5) I join with Mr. Guardian in predicting that park parking will be the subject of official city discussions in the very near future. (Just like when the “baseball steroid crisis” came along, our already-overburdened Congress magnanimously cleared the docket to handle the National Steroid Nightmare.)

  4. Hmmm…I have been to many events in town where, due to the special event, regular parking policy was suspended. I am not 17, I am in my 40’s, and I can tell you that if the situation happened the way Mr. Clegg described, I would have parked in that one spot that came open. Even if the curb was painted an outstanding bright yellow it would be logical to assume that this special event led to a special parking allowance based on all the other vehicles there. The parks need to lighten up on their heavy handed policies. Mr. Clegg’s letter was very nice and Dave’s introduction was reasonable. Anyone with half a brain will drop this “Clegg conspiracy” issue now. It is a yawner.

  5. Dear Mr.&Mrs.Clegg,
    I suggest you use your influence to promote the painting of curbs in Boise on a regular basis by Boise Juvenile Court charges so they can pay back their debt to society. I also propose that your daughter talk to the judge and propose that she paint it (with City supplied paint) herself, in lieu of a fine. Cars get ticketed almost everyday near where I work because the paint is faded. It sure is a money maker for the city.

    EDITOR NOTE– Part of the issue here is there was no ticket, no fine–only a $140 tow.

  6. Yep, most places cops have the sense to look the other way during an event, unless the parked vehicle poses a clear and immediate danger — such as blocking egress from a fire station or something.
    Of course, tow truck drivers aren’t cops; they generally will tow any vehicle they’re instructed to tow, no matter the reason or logic.
    Yep, I could phone them and tell them to tow your car, and they probably would do it.

    And, yes, I too would have parked there, figuring it must be OK during the events, or those other cars would all have tickets on them (or, now knowing Boise, would have been towed away).
    Guess the tow guys waited until they had a good supply of victims before they started taking the cars.

    In Emmett, the only time the cops are super strict about parking is when there’s going to be a parade. Then signs are put up every few feet saying no parking between such-and-such times. Then, when it’s close to parade time, a cop car cruises up and down the street, using a loudspeaker to announce repeatedly that cars on that street need to be moved before parade time.

    The result: Of the dozens to hundreds of cars parked along the parade route, maybe one or two get towed because the drivers didn’t move them in time.

    If a city wants to attract people to its events, it needs to accommodate them as best it can. Much better than, “Welcome to Boise. Hope you like it here, cuz you don’t have a car anymore.”

    (Can’t help but feel the towing comes awfully close to car theft, though.)

  7. Mike Murphy...
    Jun 13, 2008, 1:09 am

    Narcissists (spare me) who illegally park their cars in parks, in fire lanes, bus lanes, blocking alleys, etc., don’t especially care about a truly nominal parking ticket; but they sure as hell care when their car is booted and / or towed.

    Think they’re likely to do it again afterwards?

    Not Bloody Likely!

    Tow, tow, tow away I say.

  8. Mike Murphy...
    Jun 13, 2008, 1:39 am


    Boise Parks not friendly?


    Go peddle that line of K-Rap to the sheep at some Pyramid Scheme (Ahem, I’m sorry: “Multi-Level Marketing”) meeting.

    We’re friggin lucky to have the beautiful parks we have, maintained and operated by the great people of Parks and Rec’.

  9. Although I don’t believe that anyone questioned the Cleggs’ parenting abilities, it is re-assuring that the young lady had consequences for her bone head move. I believe the biggest problem was when Mama Clegg chose to register her displeasure in an official capacity. That was a no-no.

  10. I agree with bike boy.
    This may sound harsh, but a part of being a responsible driver is to learn to read the signs and obey them. If this were my daughter I would have been upset, but would have also let her see that next time she needs to look for and read any parking instructions – and pay attention to them. Bad law or not, it was posted to read and pay attention to.
    I do hope that the Cleggs are not teaching their daughter that she is above the law, pay no attention to parking signs and this situation was not her fault, because it really was.

    Perhaps we could let the parks become Boise’s parking lots. It has become the CITY OF CARS rather than the city of trees.

  11. Mrs. Clegg must be an avid Guardian reader as she knew better than to express her concerns to the mayor’s office and went right to P&R. I would have loved to have read the response from “Queen Elizabeth”.

  12. Sam the sham
    Jun 15, 2008, 10:30 am

    Gosh, I know we need to be kind, after all, parents do worry. However, if it were my child in this situation I would have very little influence with the city; so when Clegg uses the power of given by the public for a personal situation I think that it is unethical.
    Lost my vote because I do not think your child’s situation is more important than anyone’s child. If there were more concern for all young drivers perhaps I would not see the ethical problem.

  13. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 15, 2008, 1:36 pm

    Commenter #4, Ms Daniel, refered to the “heavy-handed policies” of the parks department. Well, why should they be any different from the BPD?

  14. OK folks, here’s the deal: YELLOW CURBS ARE ALL
    NO PARKING AT ANY TIME. No matter where they are, that is what they mean. If you park on a yellow curb, you will get a $36 ticket in the city. The parks do not have a “parking office.” Therefore, if you park on a yellow curb in the parks, you will be towed. Yes, the curbs are faded and getting worse in town. You want to know who is responsible? ACHD has decided that it is too much trouble to keep up the painted curbs AND the stall marks in our city. If you want to complain, do so to the ACHD.
    Mrs. Clegg is FAMOUS for abusing her privileges
    at City Hall and until she got caught, parked in the city garage whilst going to her private business close to said City Hall. Apparently, she has taught her daughter well……”don’t bother daughter dear, I can get you out of trouble, after all, I am a Council Person.” Now she’s upset because her daughter BROKE the LAW and got caught. Monkey see, monkey do does not make it acceptable.
    There is a FREE booklet from the DMV that clearly explains ALL the parking laws in this state.
    Easy to read…..anyone can do it, even poor little Miss Clegg. I suggest she might learn to take responsibility for her actions. So should
    MRS Clegg, who never HAD my vote in the first
    A City Hall person

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