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I can believe that rampant parking-meter vandalism is an indicator of urban decay (“When Meters Expire,” 7/4). Rather than hiring a private meter company, I imagine the ultimate solution requires solving the serious problem of the disenfranchised humans living here. A worthy, and long-term, goal.

In the short term, as a businessman who has clients all around the metropolitan area, I quietly cheer each headless meter I encounter. Not only does it save me a few bucks but temporarily mollifies my disgust with the local parking situation. The District is, of course, famous for being patently unfriendly to business, commuters, and tourists with its stingy parking rules, obscure regulations, and highly zealous enforcement. However, I recently received a $25 ticket for an expired meter in Bethesda, in a garage with numerous empty spaces. This outrage actually gives D.C. some competition, and yet I

was in the public garage because private lots have become too greedy for my pocketbook.

Admittedly, we have a parking problem: too many cars with too much activity in too little space. Such is the dilemma of the East Coast, but this situation cannot continue as it stands. Perhaps local governments need to give less thought to collecting revenue through parking enforcement and more thought to the tax dollars and investment they are driving away.

Silver Spring, Md.

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