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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters February 5, 2016

7/11/2014 5:50:00 AM
Letter: Bad judgment by Cottonwood police


Thursday, July 3, Walmart was packed with folks shopping for the holiday as well as seniors who just received their Social Security checks.

My partner, a military veteran, donates his time to two organizations who serve seniors. He was asked to pick up a handicapped woman who needed to go to Walmart at 1 p.m. He drove her around the parking lot; there were no spaces, and he knew he could not leave her way over by Carl's Jr., walk to get her an electric cart, then get her into the store without compromising her health in the 102- degree heat.

That left no choice but to park in the 20- to 30-feet of slash lines Walmart uses in front of the store before the handicapped parking starts. He used her handicapped plaque hanging from the mirror.

When they returned to the car, he had a $118 parking ticket.

One wonders why the Cottonwood Police chose that day to do their damage. Some folks have told us, "No good deed goes unpunished" -- and that may be one reason why there are so few volunteers.

I spoke with the Walmart assistant manager who said they were sorry but they had been asking the city for more spaces, etc. Customers tell Walmart all the time that there are not enough handicapped spaces and there is too much wasted space closest to the store with so many square feet of slash lines.

Sgt. Scott Silvernagle of the Cottonwood police said Walmart could make every space in the lot handicapped as long as they had the handicapped symbol painted on the space and signage stating it was for only handicapped people with plaques or licenses plates with the correct symbol. He also said if you can't find a handicapped spot, to go home and come back another time. This doesn't work particularly well if it is a 45-mile round trip from Sedona.

There are many seniors in our communities. The hospital built their huge new addition years ago in anticipation of the baby boomers needing medical services. The developers marketed to retirees and built 27,000 new homes in Sedona and the Verde Valley in the last 15 years.

We need more awareness and consideration brought to the fact that we have an aging community and that usually brings a lot of infirmities. And now we have our young disabled military returning from fighting -- following the heroism of their older family members.

One does not always have the choice of driving home to return at a later time.

A.R. Cunningham


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2014
Article comment by: @ Bernard Zucco

Let me get this straight. There is the Fire Lane in front of Wal-Mart that doesn't allow for handicap parking AND there is no parking zone's near the handicap for emergency vehicles. Is there really that many people in Wal-Mart having heart attacks, strokes, and being unconscious all at once that there is a need for so much room for emergency parking?

Also, there is a designated parking spot near the front that is for police vehicles only that could be used for a handicap spot since the times that I have seen a police vehicle there they have usually parked near the front in the area marked off for emergency vehicles. Since the police do not park there I wonder what kind of a fine would be imposed if a handicapped person was to park there?

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: Bernard Zucco

I am a retired police officer. Handicap placards are being abused. Almost anyone can get one with some type of disability or illness. I have seen people using a deceased relative's placard. They got cited. The no parking zones are primarily used for emergency vehicles police, fire, EMT. If someone inside the store is having a stroke, or heart attack, time is of the essence. We have 10 minutes to get to a person who has gone unconscious, and stopped breathing before they start sustaining brain damage. Also their chances of survival are greatly reduced beyond. that time. Please, stay out of those areas, you could be endangering other people

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: @ How about this

Not all serious medical conditions are immediately visible, and many are exacerbated by adverse weather conditions. Handicapped parking permits aren't usually given out for no reason.

That doesn't excuse parking in a no parking zone while doing your entire shopping trip, but it is something to consider the next time you see a seemingly able person use a handicapped spot.

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: Just another citizen who is not willing to Take Responsibility for their Actions

Suggestions to avoid this problem again. Don't park where it is clearly a no parking zone. Wait for a handicap spot to open up, even if it means circling the parking lot. Go to Walmart during their slower hours. Mornings and evenings are the best time to get a handicap spot. Go run another errand and come back.

Kudos to Cottonwood Police!

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: How About This

Lets stop giving perfectly abled people handicapped parking placards. Can't count the number of times I have seen these people park in handicap spaces and get out and walk with no visible reason why they should have one. It's like a special VIP parking pass for many. Get rid of these and there would be many spaces available.

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: Cheryl Raab

It sounds to me like this woma may have had some sort of dementia problem, thus not being able to leave her alone. thus needing to leave the car so she did not wonder off. I could be wrong, but this is the way i'm reading this for this gentleman not being able to leave her alone.

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: The One and only

There is no doubt that handicapped parking spaces are necessary at any retail location. On the other hand, if I had a dollar for every time I've seen an obese but otherwise ambulatory person pull into a handicapped spot and waddle into walmart, get on a motorized block-the-aisle scooter and proceed to get in everybody's way I could afford a week's groceries at Fry's.
Some of these "handicapped" people are just working the system. Go for a walk for pete's sake.

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: D. Alan McKnight

Speaking as a handicapped driver myself, I also live with 2 other handicapped people that cannot drive. It frustrates me that there isn't more handicapped parking at Walmart & it really irritates me to see people parking in the "No Parking" zones, but that is a problem for Walmart to address. The CPD officer was doing his job. Bravo! When I go to Walmart with one of my Wheelchair bound housemates & there is no Handicapped parking, I Park close to the front of the store, turn on my Hazard Lights, retrieve a Power Cart, assist them into the Cart and I then go look for parking. How hard is that?

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: Matthew Holmes

Wow, just reading this makes me want to move back out into the wilderness again, as far away from the insanity of human civilization as I can get. With all of the important things going on in the world, and we are going to ticket ourselves into extinction with ignorance and stupidity.

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Article comment by: Whoa thereHoss

The passenger could have been off loaded in front, placed in the cart and taken just inside to wait in the cooler air, while your partner went to park and return.

Thank your partner for serving and all that, but I don't care WHO YOU ARE, even St. Peter would be in the wrong to park in a no parking area. Pay the freakin' fine and LEARN from the experience.

Oh, and stop using veteran status, thinking you can get by

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014
Article comment by: uncommon sense uncommon sence

The city do'es regulate the number of parking
spots a business is allowed.
Park wherever you want it's your right to pay $118 to pay the Judge.

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014
Article comment by: Doug barney

Just curious. Is Walmart parking area private property or public. If private Property how is it that Police can issue parking fines? just asking.

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014
Article comment by: About Time

It is about time that something is done to those who park illegally at Wal-Mart. I don't know why people think that just because they have a placard or plate that it gives them special privilege to park in a no parking zone. I have to agree with what is being said that there were different options that could have been taken. Example: to leave the car running, parking in the area beside the building (not in front of the doors), getting a cart and helping the person inside the doors. Then go park somewhere else. There does need to be more parking availability and I have no idea why there is so much space there. All the other Wal-Mart's that I have been to do not have that much space blocked off.

@ Good Job Cottonwood
The driver can be healthy and park in a handicap spot as long as the person who owns the placard is in the vehicle at the time of usage or is in the store shopping and will be using/riding in the vehicle afterwards.

Don't get me wrong I think that the volunteers do a wonderful job. Maybe he can fight the ticket and show that he was just helping the lady but it might have only worked if he was just in and out. Not shopping the whole time with the lady. He took the risk and got caught.

You know what they say. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time".

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014
Article comment by: Brian Boudreau

While what the volunteer did was wrong, lets look at a bigger problem. There may very well be enough handicapped parking spots. If those people who abuse there handicapped plaque would turn them in, and quit abusing them, there would be plenty of spaces. How many times do you see someone get out of there car and walk better than you do, go into the store. Not sure why they would need to park closer to the store, if they can walk all around the store without difficulty. Total abuse. At least limp into the store or something!

Quit abusing handicapped parking!

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014
Article comment by: Jus' Sayin'

Uh...well, don't park in no parking areas. DUH!!! Also what difference does it make that your partner is a veteran? We, they/vets, can't just park willy-nilly without consequences. Sounds to like it's kudos to Cottonwood PD. Well done. IMO

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