New Bedford’s red herring is not an ocean cash crop our fishermen hall into the canning factories. Instead, it is a red blemish, a scarring reminder of red communism that haunts the city.

In my role as Brian The Cab Driver, New Bedford’s red herring is a glaring red sleeve or hoodie. Most of them hang in downtown New Bedford. I counted three on Sunday. One hangs outside the main entrance to City Hall. The other two are around the corner on Pleasant Street.

I get it. The city needs to gather additional revenue in the least intrusive manner possible. No need to raise taxes. Parking meters do the trick. It’s a user fee levied on us motorists desiring to park downtown to shop, go out to eat, pay a bill at City Hall, use the Post office or banks. Yes, we gotta pay to play.

Let’s not single out NB. Boston, Fall River, sleepy Natick, many cities and towns employ parking meters for revenue enhancement. And, we all fear the Gestapo-like Meter-Maid or Man, armed with the handy hand-held to zip out a ticket the moment the meter clock strikes 00:00.

Here’s what I don’t get. Why, why, why must the city, presumably the Traffic Department, throw a red hood over the top of broken parking meters? In large print letters, these hoodies read “No Parking.” To reinforce matters, underneath “No Parking” “Tow Away Zone.” Welcome to the progressive city of New Bedford. Now find a worse place to park. This makes no sense. And leads to less cents!

Why are we forced to park somewhere else for a meter we didn’t break? Why does the city practice fear tactics to keep the money spending public from adding to the vibrancy of this waterfront mecca? Can you imagine out-of-towners, tourists venturing to New Bedford for a trip to the casino. They decide to first browse the shops in downtown. [What an interesting concept.] Then the tires screech as the potential patron bolts for Cannon Street, after cruising past the third “No Parking, Tow Away Zone” red hoodie.

So I'm downtown on Sunday March 29. There’s an Inspectional Services vehicle parked directly in front of one of these red herring meters. Is that assumed city employee (assumed because I did not speak to him) saying I can do it, but you can’t? Or, is he the Sunday substitute for the Meter cop? Does it really matter?

Bottom line: Let the good citizen park for free until these meters are either fixed or replaced. In fact, a little free parking may be what the doctor ordered for city officials to quickly remedy the problem. Mayah Mitchell, tear down the red herring motorists have come to fear. Make downtown New Bedford truly a more inviting place for drivers to legally park before they embark.

by BRIANS BEAT on the Street


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