Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Marana Plays The Anti-Family Advocate

I've had a night to think and sleep on this. I'm pretty upset by the wording of this ordinance that passed last night. Marana prides itself for being an "attractive community dedicated to maintaining a friendly environment where people can work, shop, live and play". I have been a long time supporter of the town of Marana, its' mayor, and most of its' council. This is a breaking straw. The things that drew us to Marana were its' family friendly activities, communities, and schools.

I consider myself a law abiding citizen. I drive the speed limit. I pay my taxes. I try to contribute to my neighborhood and community. As worded, I personally could have been in violation of this ordinance 8 times yesterday.

First violation, I shuffled my kids to get in the car to go to school. I had to run back into the house to encourage the last child who hadn't made it out the door. The other 3 kids (all under the age of 10) were buckled in their seats. But I left them in a car without a person 14 years or older.

Second, I drove down the street to get pick up a neighbor's child to take to school. The kids were "freezing", so I left the car running in her driveway to get the heat going as I ran to the door to get the child. I was out of the car for a maximum of 2 minutes with the car in sight. Yet as written, I technically would have been in violation of this ordinance.

After driving home, I parked in my driveway, opened my garage door, jumped out of the car to grab the stroller to load my 2 year old for my morning walk. I was within sight of the vehicle at all times, but technically I would be breaking the law. Knowing my 2 year old who DARTS and DASHES, I knew she was safer being buckled in her seat while I grabbed the stroller. Technically, this would have been my 3rd violation.

Our church was having a clothing exchange/ clothing drive. I buckled my 2 year old in the car and loaded the 2 large bags from my garage into the van. I didn't have a 14 year old in the car at the time. This technically would have been violation #4!

I volunteered to take a friend's clothes to the church for her, so she wouldn't have to load all 5 young children that she had at her home that day into her car to do this herself. I pulled up to her home, opened the back of my van and loaded the bags she had placed in her driveway, and knocked on the door to let her know that I had gotten it loaded. The windows of my car were open and I did have the keys in my hand and not in the car, but there still was not a 14 year old in the car, so technically this would have been another violation.

I get to the church and park close to the door. I decide that Emma is safer buckled into her car seat watching a cartoon while I unload the car than running wild in the parking lot. So, I unload all the bags by making trips back and forth from the van just dropping the bags inside the churches glass doors. She is in my sight at all times. And even though my car is not running, I am on my 6th violation because I left the keys in the passenger compartment. As soon as the last bag was unloaded, I unbuckled Emma and took her inside with me to transport all the bags where they were needed.

As I was going to leave, I buckled Emma in the car. Someone we knew drove into the parking lot. Her door was open and she was in my sight the entire time. We visited for a few minutes in the parking lot. This would have been my 7th violation because there was not a 14 year old in the car at the same time. I personally feel she was safer buckled in her seat than running around the parking lot or into the street where she could have been hit by a moving vehicle. Guess what? Starting March 5th, we will be required to have all of our children under age 14 technically outside the car vehicle if we are talking to other parents in the school parking lot. Remember it's a 1st class misdemeanor and carries a MANDATORY minimum $1000 fine!
Marana, the friendly community, becomes the instant cold community because none of us can afford to do this anymore.

I drive into my blink and you miss it driveway. I grab my mail from the mail box, and then proceed to remove Emma from the car. Had I unloaded her first, she would have dashed into the road while I grabbed the mail. I know her. I am her mother. My two year old has this fixation with dashing into the road or parking lot. I can not put her down without it endangering her safety. But according to the Town Council of Marana, this would have been my 8th violation. I'm just grateful that I didn't have library books that needed dropped off in the drop box by the library door. That could have been a 9th violation!

I need to write a note on my defense that had it been hot outside I would have taken her inside the house or church first. Any decent mother would have done that, but because there is no temperature clause or distance clause I still would be violating this ordinance.

This new ordinance makes my physically sick. I may not be the best mother on the planet, but my children's safety is always of up most concern to me. If this ordinance is not repealed, I worry about parents who will become more negligent with their children as a result. It would be tempting to just leave all 4 of my children at home by themselves to drive the 2 miles to drop off the library books than to chance the $1000 MANDATORY FINE and the 1st CLASS Misdemeanor that accompanies having the kids in the car. Maybe I'll just have my special needs 5 year old return all the books. For those of you who know my 5 year old, this could be scary!

My other concern is that a child will be killed or ran over in a parking lot at a school or business because moms who are trying to abide by all the laws and ordinances of this great land are required by law now to put their children's lives in jeopardy. I pray that a life is not lost before we can resend this new ordinance.

Please email the media and members of the Marana Town Council with your personal views on this new ordinance. They may not listen to the one, but if they get 100 emails on this issue, they will have to stop and take notice.

Here are all the addresses to copy and paste into your email. These are all the email addresses for each member of the council including the mayor and for every news agency in Tucson., HERB@KAIFARMS.COM,,,,,,, "Jenny Anchondo" , "Ronquillo, Karla" ,,,,,,


Nicole said...

I hadnt heard about this and I am pretty paranoid when it comes to leaving my kids in the car. But am I reading it right when it says that the car has to be running or the keys in it to be fined? If that is the case, then turn the car off and take the keys out. Of course when it is hot outside we all understand that our kids cant be in the car. Who decides if the childs saftey is in danger?

Moxymama said...

I agree that this is absolutely ludicrous. Technically returning a library book through the slot or a movie would be in violation. I have lived in Tucson almost my entire life and Marana's lawmen have always been a joke. They make up rules and laws that are founded in very little common sense. Hopefully this can be repealed or overturned.

Nicole said...

I know we all want to keep our kids safe- and I guess it is just a difference of opinion but I dont feel that kids should ever be left in running cars. It just takes that once - 30 sec- and someone can jump in and drive away.

Moxymama said...

Let me clarify. I NEVER leave my kids in a running car....regardless of how short a time period. In fact I am ultra paranoid about leaving them in the car even when I return a shopping cart (I lock the car doors and turn the alarm on and still keep my eyes on the car the entire time). I agree with Nicole that all it takes it seconds for something to happen. Even to return a library book or a movie I turn the car off and lock the door. So is that illegal now or is it if it is simply a running car????