I don't watch much TV, let alone obscure cable shows, but the furor about how Philly's meter maids are portrayed in "Parking Wars" has reached even me. The Inquirer recently reported that leaders are in a tizzy about the bad reputation associated with aggressive enforcement of expired meters. Out-of-towners are quoted as saying they'll never return, on account of their precious cars being ticketed, booted, and towed. Even Buzz Bissinger used "Parking Wars" in his rant against Mayor Nutter, saying that Ed Rendell would've never stood for this.
Apparently the irony is lost on most people that we are complaining that a municipality is being too efficient in its enforcement of a clearly stated set of rules. Rudeness I can understand being upset about, but I have to think some of what's going on here is people expecting to have a little grace period when it comes to their meters; to be ticketed just minutes after expiration seems cruel rather than expected. Or perhaps many out-of-towners find paying for parking to itself be an affront; after all, isn't free parking our birthright as Americans?
Needless to say, while I hate to see Philly painted in a bad light, I'll take my offense with the rudeness part rather than the "we efficiently and consistently enforce the law" part. I thought we wanted more of that out of our municipal workers; hence the dissonance in my ears of hearing people complain about it when we finally get it.