I’m a member of a writers club. Once a month, I meet with fellow writers, and we all share our writings. The critiques those individuals give the works of many in my group have helped me become a better writer.

This past Sunday, the meeting was held at the home of a member who lives in Hyde Park. There wasn’t any parking on his street, so I went to park around the corner on 53rd Street.

After finding a spot, I read the meter box: Monday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., with a two-hour time limit. The city, via the villains who own LAZ Parking, wants people to pay to park. LAZ Parking is the entity that underpaid for the right to all the revenue in the city parking deal. Every time I see that name, I wonder why they left off the “Y” because the deal is so lopsidedly in their favor, they can now just sit back and be “lazy” and let the revenue stream roll in.

Admittedly, Hyde Park isn’t my side of town. But there is something sinister and evil when the Mayor and his band of 50 aldermen want people to pay to park on a Sunday. City Hall isn’t open. City services are basically nil, but revenue collection to further line the pockets of those who own LAZ Parking is what we Chicagoans must face, seven days a week.

Knowing my meetings can last as long as six hours, and I refuse to have to “feed” a meter, I searched until I found a spot on a street where I didn’t have to pay. But my anger continues at a very basic level. Why should anyone have to pay to park on a city street on a Sunday? This is the same city that turns a blind eye to double parking on some major streets where major churches are located. This is the same city that can find money to do anything so long as it meets the needs of the Mayor’s whims while the rest of us suffer the consequences.

Several years ago at a budget hearing meeting, I asked Mayor Daley when was the last time he had driven a car in Chicago. He couldn’t even recall. The mayor is driven everywhere he goes by members of his security force. He never has to worry about where to park or how much it will cost. Be it his summer home in Michigan or his everyday home downtown, parking is never a concern on his agenda. But for the rest of us, parking plays an important consideration in everything we do. If I can’t park, I won’t go. That is my simple solution. I’ve turned down a number of events simply because they were held downtown and I refuse to deal with the hassle of trying to park.

Today is the last chance for people in the city to attend the budget hearing and give the Mayor a piece of their minds on parking and anything else they feel the need to speak up on. The meeting will be held at Falconer School, 3020 N. Lamon, beginning at 6 p.m. Testimonies begin at 7 p.m. Or if you’re like me and have already attended a budget hearing, tonight at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren, there will be a forum with candidates for Cook County Board President. In either case, pay attention, Chicago. These folks will affect everything you do for the next four years, and ignoring them won’t make things go better.