I am sitting down having lunch with my daughter when a squad car from the New Rochelle Police Department pulls up in the front of the café. I am thinking they are coming in to have some coffee. But they just sit there for 15 minutes.
Suddenly, the driver comes in the café and issues a ticket to the clerk for having chairs and table outside without a city permit.
The clerk gets the owner John Reverol on the phone to talk with the cop. Of course, I cannot hear the conversation but one thing was clear. My friend John asked for a warning, not a ticket. The officer responded: “Sorry, the chief does not allow us to give warnings.”
R Patisserie, the latest addition to entrepreneurial endeavors into New Rochelle, is an amazing effort on the part of John Reverol. It has robust coffee, fine blends of tea, desserts to die for, art to admire and jewelry to wear; all set in a very welcoming environ. But, like most businesses in downtown New Rochelle, it is not appreciated nor supported by the City Government.
Now it could be argued that John should have known that he needed a permit. He did ask, but clearly he got the wrong answer. And one could argue that the officer had no obligation to issue a verbal warning. But there is no argument that our current city government behaves like a crack addict. It will do anything to get your money. Anything!
One does not have to be here 16 years to figure out the game!
John told me that some of his customers got parking tickets after coming in to buy coffee. They were there less than 3 minutes and got a ticket. It turned out to be a $30.00 café macchiato!
They write parking tickets day and night, 24-7. Not even Sunday is missed. They issue fines to legitimate businesses who are trying to enhance the quality of life in the blighted downtown area. Yes, it is blighted in comparison to other towns in our County.
I feel this very strongly because I have seen too many tickets on my windshield in the past. And I have heard the horror stories of people who go to church on Sunday and find their car with a $40 ticket attached!
No other surrounding town -- that I know of -- behaves like this. So why New Rochelle?
It is simple. The city is in financial freefall after 10 years of wasteful spending and horrible development decisions. There is no more money. The sales revenues have decrease 10 percent. Hence, they push parking fees and ticket businesses to grab our money on a daily basis.
I know my words are a little strong. But it bothers me. And it should bother you too.
What can we do? Don’t get any more tickets. Yeah, right. But we certainly could carry more quarters. And merchants could have quarters too! Why not? That ticket could determine whether the customer you value will ever return to your business or the City of New Rochelle for that matter.
This article is also posted on blog at www.electkevinbarrett.com