"Dear Officer: As you can see I have tried to apply for a parking sticker. As you can also see, I have not yet received it, I would go down and get one today but I have an important meeting at work. I will get one tomorrow. Please do not ticket my car. I don't think I deserve a ticket. Do you?"
Apparently the officer agreed, because the car, parking on A Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets NE, an area affected by the Capitol Hill Commuter parking ban which went into effect yesterday, had not been ticketed.
Neither had the numerous other cars that had notes on them. Few were as elaborate but all the residents gave reasons for not having stickers, which cost $5 a year and entitle residents to park all day in their neighborhood.
Policemen on the street said they were not ticketing cars with notes yesterday and were unsure of when they would being doing so. Captain Alphonso Gibson, first district watch commander, said he was unaware of the fact that officers were not ticketing cars with notes on them.
"I really can't imagine why they wouldn't ticket the cars," he said, adding "They have discretionary powers in handing out tickets and apparently they have chosen to exercise that option."
There were far more notes than tickets on cars yesterday as the ban, which effects approximately 2,500 spaces in the Capitol Hill area, began. There were also many empty spaces in the area.
"We're just going to have to adjust but I don't know how we're going to do it," said Emily Preston, an Annandale resident who works in an optometrists offices on Pennsylvania Avenue. "I rode in with my husband today, but we can't do that every day. I'm really not sure what we're going to do just yet."
That was the general reaction around and on Capitol Hill - Resigned acceptance, mixed with annoyance at the added inconvenience or the added cost of taking the Metro or a bus.
"I don't get out of here until 9 or 10 at night and I sure can't take the Metro then," said Charles Solomon, who runs The Delly of Capitol Hill. "I parked by a meter today and I've been running out there all day. But I can't keep doing that."
Solomon's wife, Joan, who also works in the delicatessen, parked her car outside the zone and walked, something a number of people said they did. "But I can't do that in the winter," she said. "It's cold and it's dark when I get off work."
Employees in the Library of Congress were urged to park their cars at RFK Stadium and take the Metro in from there. "But that costs $1 a day and you know that's going to add up," said Gail Moorehouse, who lives in Oxon Hill and works in the personnel office.
"We have over 1,700 people who drive cars and we know we're going to have some problems," personnel director Glen Zimmerman said. "You can warn them and educate them up to a point, but you're still going to have problems."
Preston, whose office is across the street from the library said she had seen a number of people scurrying back and forth throughout the day to feed parking meters or, in some cases, move their cars as the two hours they were allowed to park in the marked areas expired.
Senate and Congressional offices appeared to be largely unaffected since many staff membeers have assigned parking spaces and many others live in the immediate area.
"It's going to cause some hassles but not that many," said Dayle Thompson, office manager for Rep. Les AuCoin (D-Oregon). "Some people in our office will have to park in a lot under the freeway which is way out in the boonies." She added that only men would be assigned those spots because many staff members would leave the office after dark in the winter.
The parking lot at RKF Stadium where many people were expected to park had 850 cars in it yesterday compared with an average of 711 last week according to John Brophy chief of the parking division of the District's Department of Transportation.
While commuters tried to figure out how to deal with their new problem, residents of the area rejoiced.
"I think it's just great," said Andy Jones, who lives at 14th Street SE just inside the boundary line. "If the Hill people are going to park here they ought to have to pay an exorbitant fee. Let the elitists ride the bus for a change."