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This Just In: November 18 - 25

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Meter Made

Summary: Where are you most likely to get a parking ticket? Reporter: Rick Earle, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 2 minute, 30 seconds on Nov. 12 Highlights: * When Earle proclaims, "Parking meters are a big business! Now, we obtained parking-ticket data for suburban communities in our area, and tonight, we've come up with the exclusive list of where you're most likely to get a parking ticket if you don't feed the meter in time." * When Earle points us to a woman he says may be "one of the most despised people in Sewickley" and calls her "the meter maid." * When Earle counts down the top suburban communities for ticketing: "At number five on our list: Homestead, where [who cares without comparative, per capita data?] were handed out last year. Next, Wilkinsburg with [insert scary number here]. Number three -- Bridgeville, with [another meaningless number]. Next, Sewickley, at [why don't you just guess?], where some business owners say the aggressive enforcement is bad for business." * When a business owner says, "[T]hey have to make money. [But] we can't pay our rent ... if people are always worried about the meter." * When Earle reports, "[I]n Sewickley, parking tickets and meters generated more than $300,000 last year. ... But Sewickley is not the top spot for parking tickets." * When Earle reveals that the No. 1 slot belongs to Mount Lebanon, where -- OK, I'll give you this one -- 21,983 parking tickets were issued last year. * When we meet an outspoken man flailing his arms in indignation: "I gotta go to my car now and throw some quarters in 'cause I'm worried about the parking mafia coming after me. ... Without us coming to have meals, this whole area shuts down. So, it doesn't really make sense." * When Rich Sahar, the executive director of Mount Lebanon's parking authority, jokes, "There's only one [parking enforcement officer] out there. We don't have five of them sitting in the bush waiting for people." He then says the only thing that makes sense in this story: "It actually does help the businesses in that we don't have people parking all day in front of the store. So customers can get in and out." What We Learned: That if you don't pay for parking, you may actually get a ticket. Unanswered Question: "Parking mafia"? How long before these government officials end up on Glenn Beck's chalkboard? News Value: Expired. I wish I could give Earle a citation for this story. I know they made him do this for sweeps, but showing us a bunch of numbers in a BIG POINT SIZE really doesn't tell us much

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