Jury duty in Miami-Dade is the worst. You have to get there at nine am. and sit in a crowded room while being subjected to an endless display of nothing but Sandra Bullock movies, then, if you're picked for a jury pool, you're shepherded around the courthouse all day like cattle.
But before all of that, you have to pay $5 just for the privilege of parking your car. Well, County Commissioner Lynda Bell is finally working to put an end to that by drafting legislation to give jurors free parking at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building.
"We are going to push this. We are going to push this hard," Bell told Local 10. "How can we do this to the people who are going out of their way to serve, and this is another level of government service -- you are serving the people."
Of course, it took a story by Miami's ABC affiliate to even bring the issue to the attention of local leaders. Apparently no one had realized before how ridiculous it is to basically charge people five bucks in a city with heavy car use just to park so they could complete the most unpleasant of civic duties.
Bell's bill is in the works, and would grant free parking to all jurors at county-owned lots. Jurors who take public transportation would also be comped with a free Metrorail park.
Though, the practice as it stands now is profitable for the county. Local 10 found that the county racked in $106,490 between October 2011 and September 2012 from juror parking fees.
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In another sign that the practice could end soon, county mayor Carlos Gimenez has also asked his staff to look into the issue.
Hopefully this trend of making it easier for citizens to complete their civic duties continues. If only we could do something about that whole voting mess.
[Previously: Ten Things You Learn Serving Miami-Dade Jury Duty]