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California: Free Parking for Drunks
Santa Cruz, California city council considers offering free parking for those who decide not to drive drunk.

Tony MadrigalSanta Cruz, California City Councilman Tony Madrigal is looking to cut down on drunk driving by preventing meter maids from ticketing motorists who take a cab home from a bar, instead of driving their car back. Yesterday, city council members voted 6-1 to implement a study of how such a program might work.

Madrigal's idea is to have cabs issue temporary parking permits that would allow a bar patron to leave a vehicle until 2pm the next day, avoiding up to $50 in parking fines.

In casting the lone dissenting vote, Mayor Cynthia Mathews said, "Anyone who can afford to go downtown and party all night can afford $5 to park in a garage."

The proposal's author had a different perspective.

"Any loss in revenue to me is less important than keeping our streets safe by keeping drunk drivers off the road," Madrigal told the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper.

Drunks who decide to walk home or take a ride with a friend would still receive a parking ticket.

Source: S.C. officials to study parking pass plan for drunks (Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA), 11/29/2006)

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