Hey! Wait a moment before my writing this item . . . gotta go out and feed the parking meter . . . . Okay, we avoided a $10 fine, and here is word that the D.C. government has proposed a fine of no less than $15 for any and all parking meter violations, whether for going a minute over on a 20-minute meter or an hour over on a three-hour meter. That would be a rise from the current $10 minimum.

Digressing for a moment, we find this marvelously shocking admission by the D.C. Department of Public Works in the Dec. 21 issue of the D.C. Register: "With approximately 13,000 meters in place in the District, it is not possible to provide enforcement for each meter on a daily basis." Working downtown, we knew the meters were checked daily, but gambled on a half-hourly or hourly basis (and too often lost). Lots of others have done the same, Metro Scene figures.

Whatever.

Anyhow, the Public Works people estimate that about 500,000 tickets were issued for parking meter violations during the past fiscal year, while there were 4 million violations. (An aside: how would we feel if there were only one arrest for every eight homicides? That's the estimated rate of meter tickets to violations.)

Several other increases in violation penalties are being proposed, which Metro Scene will detail in the next several days.

If you want to comment on -- and support or protest -- the higher meter fine, your letter (docket 84-128-PE) must be received by the Public Works Department's Bureau of Parking Services, 65 Massachusetts Ave. NW, by Feb. 4.