10/29/2007Florida: Parking Restriction Used to Silence Critic
Despite losses in court, Bradenton, Florida harasses motorist for parking commercial trucks in front of her home.
A motorist who proved in court that she could legally park a pair of landscaping truck outside her home is still being hassled by the city of Bradenton, Florida.
Patricia Thomas uses the commercial trucks for her business, Thomas Reasonable Tree Service, and she can only afford to park them on the city street in front of her home in the Village of the Arts neighborhood. This area has its own set of less-restrictive rules regarding commercial activity. Two years ago she was fined $150 by code inspectors. A judge dismissed the case. A hearing officer interpreted those rules in Thomas' favor and canceled eighteen parking tickets.
Despite her victories in court, the city will not give up. It has filed a lawsuit against Thomas in Manatee County court. Thomas believes the city is retaliating against her because she placed a sign on her lawn opposing Mayor Wayne Poston. Thomas believes it is too much of a coincidence that shortly after the sign went up, fire inspectors pounced.