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"Gridlock" Sam Schwartz

God Said, “Let There Be Parking Placards.” And It Was So.

park_east.jpg

Only three days remain until 20 percent of government parking placards must be surrendered, but as Gridlock Sam wrote here last month, that should be just the beginning of placard reform. Case in point: Uncivil Servants featured a story last week of an Upper East Side synagogue that manufactures its own bogus placards while the 19th Precinct turns a blind eye and infamous Community Board 8 lends a hand. Uncivil Servants reports that employees of the Park East Synagogue on East 68th Street have been getting away with the printing of homemade placards since the attacks of September 11, 2001:

The original baloney excuse for their parking was terrorism following911 but the truth is they have used the tragedy of 911 as an excuse toget a free parking perk at the expense of the community. The signage bythe way is either NO STANDING or NO PARKING 7AM - 7 PM. The location of this abuse is East 68th Street between Lexington andThird Avenues on both the South and North side of the street wheretypically you will find 8 to 10 of Park East employees' personalvehicles parked all day using bogus xeroxed placards.

Post columnist David Seifman picked up the story on Sunday, writing that the synagogue has agreed to gradually reduce -- but not eliminate -- its use of false permits, in a scheme brokered by Community Board 8:

"After a very lengthy and detailed discussion, [Park East] agreed to the recommendation that they reduce the number of placards to eight by the end of June 2008, then decrease by four by June 2009, and two the following year, until the number of placards in use is reduced to two by June 2010," said the e-mail from Assistant District Manager Latha Thompson.

City Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) told The Post the community board was way out of bounds. "It's unacceptable for individuals to be generating their own parking placards," he said.

Seifman also reports that Park East director Joel Baum offered an alternative explanation for the placards. Baum says they are used by teachers at the synagogue who are following the example set by the city's public school teachers. More proof that once one group claims a special privilege, the circle of entitlement tends to widen.

Photo: Dick Tracy / Uncivil Servants

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