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Parking meter Robin Hoods?

Parking Meter Robin Hoods?

In the quaint New England city of Keene, New Hampshire, a war is going on ... and you may be surprised what's causing all the controversy: parking meters.

What a group of young men who call themselves "Robin Hooders" are doing seems innocent enough. They go up and down the downtown shopping district and feed the parking meters before they expire. Since starting their "Robin Hooding," the city's ticket revenues are going down.

Even the local pastor finds himself getting in the middle of the controversy. "I think you guys are a couple of knuckleheads. Just because you have a right to be out here doesn't mean it's the right thing to do," Pastor David Berman told two of the Robin Hooders.

Pastor Berman says the so called do-gooders are in reality nothing but bullies, harassing parking enforcement agents by chasing them around town, videotaping and taunting them.

One of the Robin Hooders can be seen telling a traffic agent, "We're going to follow you wherever you go. You're not going to get away with it today."

The city's manager said one ticket agent got so fed up with what he says was harassment by the so-called do-gooders, he quit.

Now, the divided citizens of Keene find themselves videotaping each other.

While being taped himself, Pastor Berman told one of the Robin Hooders, "This is a camera and this is the idiot that holds the camera."

Lisa Guerrero spoke with Pastor Berman. "You actually pulled out a camera and you did some name calling of your own."

"I certainly did," said the Pastor. "I called them knuckleheads because they are knuckleheads."

"Do you regret using that kind of language?" asked Guerrero.

"I absolutely do not regret it. They are knuckleheads," he confirmed.

While these so called "knuckleheads" say they're just like Robin Hood, others call them anarchists.

Garret Ean and Graham Colson are two prominent Robin Hooders who cruise around town coming to the assistance of complete strangers by feeding parking meters before they expire.

"People appreciate it. You get a lot of positive feedback from it," said Ean.

"If you are physically running after somebody when they are trying to do their job, isn't that harassment?" asked Guerrero.

"I can see why that would make the parking enforcers uncomfortable," Ean replied. "That's not what I've been engaging in."

Some locals even accompanied female parking agents to shield them from some of the Robin Hooders.

One agent said to Garrett Ean while being taped, "I don't want to be followed." One guy got so worked up, he chased after Ean and Colson.

"If standing up for myself means smashing that camera over your head, so be it," said the guy to Garrett Ean.

"You've got citizens off the street come up, get in your face, challenge you. Was that surprising to you to encounter some of that?" Guerrero asked Ean.

"It's a sign that the activity is having an impact and I welcome that no matter how agitated that person might be," Ean responded. "As long as they are not making threats or being violent or anything like that."

Gary Lamoureux runs the city's parking enforcement. He told Guerrero, "We have no problem with videotaping. They can videotape all they wish. What we do have a problem with is getting in the way of doing their jobs or intimidating, harassing, or bullying our employees."

The city lost a legal case trying to keep six of the Robin Hooders away from their employees. It is now appealing that decision.

Join the discussion

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wertingtonwilbert March 08 2014 at 12:21 PM

I had a ticked on my truck, and there was 5 mins left, the meter lady was aout 50 ft away, I told her about, she said nothing and kept on walking... I hollered ,, why a ticket when my meter did not expire. I put in enough for 1 hour... came aout 50 mins later to put more money in, got a ticket. not right

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1 reply
runswthscisors40 wertingtonwilbert March 08 2014 at 12:24 PM

I would have taken a picture of the meter, and the ticket....most meters today have digital readouts, some even tell you how much time you paid for........

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shaybird March 08 2014 at 11:25 AM

Where I live you'll pay twenty five cents for fifteen minutes of parking. These guys to put money in my meter any time they want.

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davidhken March 08 2014 at 11:23 AM

So long as the meters are being fed I can't see the problem. The purpose of parking meters is to charge for parking so the city is getting its revenue. The fact that they are upset because there aren't enough violations is the same as hoping people will speed in order to give speeding tickets. To me this is confirmation that towns simply want to make money off of people who may accidentally violate an ordinance and pass ordinaces for that reason rather than for the safety and welfare of the citizens.

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1 reply
rb davidhken March 08 2014 at 11:44 AM

You see the big fine the government can collect would be more than the amount of money put into the parking meter over a period of a few days. It's the big fine they are after. It's never about safety when it comes to speeding tickets or parking tickets...it's about money. In our little town my wife received a ticket for going 43 in a 35 zone. She asked me what to do. I asked if she was guilty and she said yes. I suggested she slow down and go pay the fine. Upon arrival at summary court she was told that the total fine and costs would be $240.00, (a ridiculous amount) and if she paid right then, they would not report the "points" to the state. She paid and guess what...big lie. They reported the points to the state. It's not like she wasn't going to pay the fine anyway, I mean what else can you do. But the person at the summary court certainly didn't need to lie about it. I learned a valuable lesson with my first and only speeding ticket in 1975. Don't violate traffic laws and you don't have to worry about it, unless you run across a dishonest law enforcement official that is. I know, I know...it's hard to believe, but I've worked with a few. Back to the parking meter situation in this story....the only problem I see is the protesters harassing the officials who are enforcing the parking meter laws. Leave these people alone, they are only doing their job. Continue dropping that quarter into the meter though...good deeds get paid back in the end.

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dano4150 March 08 2014 at 7:04 PM

People are taxed for almost everything, is it necessary for cities or small towns to extort more for the political payrolls that continue to grow while we see cutbacks in schools, military & how many other needed people....Our goverment continues to grow while taking & wanting more control of the lives of the people they were elected to serve... There is no serving, only graft & taking, writing new laws, new bills, for who.... To line pockets that are already full....I ask you, where will you spend your money when there is no longer a country to spend it in....People have become the most expendable commodity on this planet, & yet the educated wanna be's continue to fall in line, any line that says follow me I'll make you rich, you'll have everything you ever wanted..... Surely God must be thinking it is almost time, time to cleans this planet once again, clean the rivers, oceans, the soil, & the people.....How sad, we have come so far in such a short time, yet we contiue down this path of self destruction.....Forgive us "FATHER" for we know not what we do.....

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1 reply
redhawkflieshigh dano4150 March 08 2014 at 7:42 PM

good post. I agree with it. Maybe some of those cutbacks could be reinstated if THE HAARP WEATHER CONTROL PROGRAM was discontinued . And maybe the weather wouldn't be so severe all over the Country if those CHEMTRAIL PLAInes were grounded

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Aissa2 March 08 2014 at 11:17 AM

Some well to do people in a small New England town who have obviously succumb to the madness of being all of the above. When the preacher gets involved, takes sides, calls people names, shows that the entire place has gone to hell in a handbag. Over parking meters? Over people who put quarters in parking meters to save other people from getting a ticket? Hopefully, town not on the beaten path, seems as if there is a community of folks beating each other up already. Stay away, the madness may be contagious.

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boji413 March 08 2014 at 11:17 AM

Feeding the meters is fine, but harassing the parking authority is going too far. Leave them alone!

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mopaman March 08 2014 at 7:12 PM

no wonder why downtown stores are drying up, and sales are going on line, who wants to deal with this crap,

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kcarthey March 08 2014 at 11:11 AM

When I was a kid, my mother used to this fairly often when she saw a meter that had just expired. I still do it from time to time. If you can't take a few seconds and a quarter to do someone a favor each day, you're missing part of life. And one of the interesting things is that many of those who have had this favor done will never realize it.

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MARTHA & PERRY March 08 2014 at 7:14 PM

have the city build a parking garage in the downtown area and charge by the hour. if your appointment goes past what you expected, no harm, no foul.

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nagy22 March 08 2014 at 11:10 AM

This is very nice! I am always running to the meter, when I have to wait in the bank for long, but the police has no mercy! But, I feel sorry for this police officer. They should not follow him he is just doing his job.

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