Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Awful Ordinance Passed in Marana Tonight

I was saddened tonight as I stood in the chamber of the town of Marana and watched our town council pass a new ordinance that prohibits leaving a child, 10 years old or younger, in a vehicle without another person, 14 or over, being in the car with them. It also covers a child left with keys in the vehicle or one with the engine running. As this ordinance is written it applies from parking lots to driveways. Tucson passed a similar ordinance in September with an added clause stating that if it's your first offense, you can take a class without being charged the fine.

Say you drop off a movie in a drop box. Or you drop the library books in the drop box outside the library door and you leave the kids in the car. Say you buckle in your kids and then return your shopping cart to the closest cart return. Say you turn on the air conditioner to cool down the car, buckle in all your kids and walk around your car without a 14 year old inside. This offense, starting March 5th, is now a 1st class misdemeanor. Offenders will face a MANDATORY minimum fine of $1,000!

A dear friend and neighbor, Kati
, got there early enough to get a speaker card on the issue. They passed it without even giving her a chance to speak on the matter. She and I had to flag the mayor to bring to his attention that they had skipped her. They finally let her speak, but would not reopen the issue for further discussion by the council. To read Kati's words to the town council, click here!

So, dear friends, you who are parents of children under the age of 10, we are all now HANDICAPPED. We physically are forced to break this ordinance the way it is written every time we step out of the vehicle. If this is the case, the city of Tucson and town of Marana need to resend these ordinances as written or provide the physical amenities that every parent would need to comply to this law. This would include drive-up drop boxes at every major goverment and commercial establishment. Every school would need to have drop off and pickup area so parents would not be required to leave the vehicle. After all, they passed these ordinances. Now, they need to provide ways that every parent can physically abide by these ordinances.

We are starting a petition of register voters in Marana to resend the ordinance as it is written currently. If you are interested in signing this petition, please leave a comment with email address or call me at 407-6364.

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