With starting salaries of $28,000, Philadelphia Parking Authority officers endure constant abuse from people who park illegally, as documented in the A&E show
. On Sunday, an Inquirer editorial ("Not ready for a closeup") and a commentary by Buzz Bissinger ("The throwaway") criticized the show for being too honest in showing the officers' work and making Philadelphia look bad.
It's baffling that journalists would advocate hiding the truth. Most of the vehicles we tow are unregistered, uninsured, or operated by unlicensed drivers. These people usually scream the loudest and hurl the most abuse. But Philadelphia is a safer city because there are 221,829 fewer unregistered and uninsured vehicles on its streets.
It is also interesting that the only criticism of our enforcement officers is that they are too efficient and good at their jobs.
Philadelphia is often described as a tough city, but it's also a city with heart. We love underdogs and little people, including the Parking Authority personnel who do their jobs to the best of their ability, support their families, and make the city better. I'm proud of our diverse workforce, many of whom are single moms facing down the bullies to feed and clothe their children.
While Bissinger may not like the efficiency with which they do their jobs, it is contemptible that he used as insensitive a word as morons to ridicule them. What's the difference between yelling abuse from a street corner and doing it from the opinion pages?