It's Saturday mid-afternoon. The sun beams warmth in downtown New Bedford. Folks are browsing, window shopping, yapping on their phones and sampling local fare at a couple of the busier restaurants.

No need to worry about the meters. As I told one out of town couple. The meter maids don't work on Saturdays. Ah, the winds of change is blowing.

Beginning on Saturday June 4, and for each Saturday in the foreseeable future, New Bedford tax dollars will be financing the meter Gestapo to don their uniforms and jack shoes to catch the real crooks. Who are they going after? We, the fine citizens that are helping New Bedford businesses pay their lease, pay their employees, put kids through school, bring in more tourists, supply food stamps for those that need them, etc. That's who the City's meter Gestapo will be after.  As the letter from the City's Traffic Commission reads, "we begin to enforce the parking regulations for downtown meters on Saturday." That's a fine how do ya do.

Saturday, the one day we can overflow Portobello, lounge in Custom House Square, hibernate at Hibernia, even view the bones at the Whaling Museum. It's bad enough that workers must scramble to toss in quarters or swipe their debit card, Monday-Friday. Now Saturdays too? Utter non-sense! The Commission's letter further states the meters are good for two hours.  For longer visits consider parking at one of the two downtown area garages. Read: stay longer, pay more! Sounds like we can't re-feed the meter.

I must admit. The top of the parking meters do read that the meters operate Monday-Saturday. Those of us in the know, understand there's no current enforcement on Saturday, and only the unsuspecting pay. Now, the city is looking for more of your money. We can all question why, but Saturday meter enforcement is going to happen. Now, it's your choice. Pay to stay, or say nay. Ready to fight against this legal injustice?

1) Explore and patronize historic downtown Fairhaven, Padanaram and Westport. There are quaint, small, family run businesses in these towns. All offer many of the things found along the cobblestones, without Riff, Raff and Saturday meter worries.

2) Park on the perimeter of downtown New Bedford and ride SRTA. That's a tit-for-tat. The bus will run you $3.00 for two trips. I love the bus riding characters, but some are sketchy.

3) Gets some exercise. Park your car along Purchase Street, north of downtown and take a healthy, leisurely stroll into downtown. If you buy too many things, take the #2 or #4 bus back to your car.

Just a few ideas for those who don't want to pay-to-play. I'll be discussing the impact of Saturday meter enforcement on you and local businesses, on "On Your Mind, Monday," a by-product of the Brian's Beat talk show. Bring forth your thoughts on this matter anytime between 10:00 AM-Noon.

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