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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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jesusmartinez March 08 2014 at 10:46 AM

If a meter parking that is about to expire, gets money to stay on for two more hours, it is legal por two more hours, regardless of who put in the money in the meter.

Anyone has the right to put money in a meter. it is public domain.

good job robin h....

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1 reply
Ministry Man jesusmartinez March 08 2014 at 11:07 AM

I see your point but businesses rely on customers coming and going. If one car parks in a spot all day and serveral people feed the meter, true, the city still receives its parking fees but the local businesses can and do suffere hardships. And "public domain" means "the state of belonging or being available to the public as a whole". Using your words, well then, a person should move his car so others can use the spot for they need to "be available to the public as a whole" and not just one individual.

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imaginemydesign March 08 2014 at 10:22 AM

Always wondered how paying someone to drive around and ticket parking violations could be so profitable to a municipality but for some it must be.......always greatful to that kind sole that put that extra quarter in the meter for me.......

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envoyltd March 08 2014 at 10:22 AM

This is what the NYPD has taught the world how to ticket everyone.

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wlh1923 March 08 2014 at 4:09 PM

I live near a smaller suburban town near Philadelphia - West Chester, PA. This place literally has two platoons of ticketeers. They've got so many of them you'll see them waiting at vehicles and writing out the tickets before the meters expire (common occurrence). The town now tickets on Saturdays. The ticketing revenue is a serious part of the Borough budget. For a place like Keene, New Hampshire that is actually opposed to the Robin Hooders all I can say is when your town gets as bad as it is here in West Chester, PA you'll wish you had some help from those Robin Hoods.

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1 reply
big dogg wlh1923 March 08 2014 at 4:38 PM

Absolutely true! I Live in Philadelphia and have experienced their wrath, I'm talking about walking up just as she's starting to write the ticket, and being told, and I quote, " I have to keep writing because I already put the date in"! So if you guys really want to help, come to Philly!

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1 reply
runswthscisors40 big dogg March 08 2014 at 8:21 PM

Walking up before, or after the meter is already expired?.....tell the truth, now.....because if it's before it expires, i'd be taking pictures of the meter for court...............If you're walking up after it's already expired......tough............

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wlh1923 March 08 2014 at 4:12 PM

The angst and pressure the parking meter ticketing goons feel from the Robin Hooders is but a very small fraction of angst and pressure the ticketing goons inflict upon the public at large. A very very small fraction folks.

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Earl March 08 2014 at 10:20 AM

Much ado about nothing.

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NINO March 08 2014 at 4:17 PM

The Pastor needs to tend to his flock instead of getting involved with a City government issue. If someone wants to supplement a meter at their own expense that is their right

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1 reply
mrscrutty NINO March 08 2014 at 4:52 PM

Let me ask you a question...do you think the minister is calling them knuckleheads for feeding the meters or harassing g workers?

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1 reply
Blessed One X 20 mrscrutty March 08 2014 at 7:36 PM

Pretty bad when we need to point that out, isn't it? Thanks for having sense!

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Jace March 08 2014 at 4:19 PM

Bullying the meter maids in one thing, but why has there been so much animosity towards people who put more time on other people's meters? So long as they legitimately paid, it shouldn't be a problem, but I guess they really just want to fine people.

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Wes Etheridge March 08 2014 at 10:16 AM

Anyone who has been around local government knows that all traffic laws are meant to be revenue enhancement items. Cities and towns write traffic ordinances that mirror state laws so that their officers can write tickets on those ordinances. That way, the money involved goes mostly to the city or town, not the state. Traffic courts have always been a large source of revenue for local governments. To me there is no way that feeding meters should be viewed as anything other than a friendly gesture to another driver. If the locale depends on violation fines to keep themselves afloat financially, then get rid of the meters and just impose a hefty "rent" to park. See how long it takes the local merchants to scream about that. This whole issue is an example of how we, as a nation, have created laws that turn regular citizens into violators and sometimes criminals for no reason other than revenue enhancement or personal belief. In another locale or another era these Robin Hooders would be considered good samaritans. But, guys, leave the cameras at home and leave the enforcement people alone and just feed the meters.

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Lisa March 08 2014 at 10:15 AM

I see no problem with putting money in an expired meter but what gives them the right to harass people just doing their jobs? They're no different than the paparazzi that follow celebrities and even they are being cracked down on. This would be a non-issue if they had just stuck to putting money in the meters and they give no reasoning for videotaping. If it was me I would feel like I was being stalked and get a restraining order.

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