A recent alert from the Denver Disability Parking Enforcement Program announces that the city is recruiting citizens interested in ticketing those able-bodied but ass-lazy drivers who park in handicapped zones. Yes, you heard right. Denver uses volunteers to try to keep those parking spaces free for those who need them. The volunteers take eighteen hours of classes and operate in pairs for safety.
The program has been around for fifteen years, and it seems like a better idea now than ever. After all, the most notorious bit of parking enforcement in town in recent memory occurred when a rather feisty, unofficial volunteer decided to confront a federal judge about his hoggish habits.
In 2007, attorney Jeanne Elliott found all the disabled spots taken at a Walgreen's on East Colfax when she went to shop there. Elliott, who was paralyzed in a 1986 courtroom shooting by an Aurora cop involved in an ugly divorce, had to park on the street. She positioned her wheelchair behind an SUV in one of the spots that had no disabled permit displayed and waited for the driver.
The culprit turned out to be then-U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham -- aka "Judge Naughty" -- and the ensuing confrontation was a turning point in Nottingham's downward spiral that led to his recent resignation from the bench, amid bad press about strip-club visits and alleged partying with hookers. According to Elliott, Nottingham told her he was in a hurry and threatened to have her arrested for blocking his exit. He ended up getting a $100 ticket for parking in a space reserved for the disabled.
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For more about the volunteer program, call 720-913-8480 or go here. --Alan Prendergast