Keene City Gang Retaliates Against Downtown Business Owner for Speaking Against Parking Kiosks

As a business owner, few things are worse than having the attention of the people calling themselves “government”. Dorrie Masten, a local entrepreneur and property owner, knows this as well as anyone. As the owner of multiple properties and businesses including Keene Apartments and Pedraza’s Mexican Restaurant, Masten is no stranger to Keene’s ridiculous regulations. Unlike most business owners, she isn’t afraid to speak out publicly about how the Keene government gang has made her, her employees, and her customers’ lives more difficult.

The reason most business owners don’t speak out like Masten, is likely because they are understandably afraid they’ll be targeted for retaliation by the government people. According to a video posted to her facebook page yesterday, that’s exactly what’s happened to Masten since she publicly spoke against the parking kiosk that has been installed in front of her Mexican restaurant, Pedraza’s for about 18 months. Here’s Masten’s video, cropped to widescreen with boosted audio:

For newer readers unfamiliar with the history of the parking kiosks, the city gang installed a couple as a test in 2012 and then appeared to listened to the negative feedback from frustrated motorists and actually removed the kiosks they’d installed! Then-police chief Ken Meola explained to the city council at the time that despite paying former Keene police officer Fred Parsells to stand at a kiosk for eight hours a day to help people learn how to use it, the chief had found the following:

– Numerous mechanical difficulties have arisen with the machines and they continue to present.
– The public is finding the technology difficult to operate.
– The technology is not conducive to customers of the downtown businesses.
– Downtown merchants have reported constant complaints about the new kiosks and have reported down-turns in business as a result.
Although a 90 day trial period was requested, it appears that the trial period already undertaken is sufficient to indicate this technology will not work at this time within the City of Keene and that it will not produce the benefits originally believed.

Consequently, we will be suspending the trial period, removing the pay-by-space machines, and re-installing the coin operated parking meters.

After pulling them in 2012, five years later they put them back. Now downtown businesses like Pedraza’s are hurting and customers are frustrated. Masten this year requested the council consider removing the kiosk and for a moment it looked promising as the committee that heard her request voted 4-1 to remove it, though likely replacing it with coin-operated meters. However, rather than have that proposal voted on by the full council, mayor Kendall Lane reportedly somehow sent the proposal to a different committee, who returned with a 4-1 vote to instead continue and possibly expand kiosk use in Central Square! This decision in spite of a petition signed by dozens of downtown business owners opposing the kiosks, presented by Masten and business consultant Jared Goodell.

That’s not all. In Keene, the city gang demands local business owners beg for permission and pay tribute to the gang in order to allow them to put tables outdoors on the sidewalk area. Each year, Masten dutifully pays the bribe and jumps through the paperwork hoops. However this year she was informed by email that her application for the sidewalk permit is “pending”. As a result, she’s unable to acquire her outdoor liquor permit from the state liquor criminals.

Robin Hood Chalk Art

Chalk art celebrating the heroic Robin Hooders who saved thousands in Keene from parking tickets.

Plus, according to a video streamed live on Masten’s facebook yesterday, one of the Keene parking enforcers, Jane Vigneau took to facebook while on-the-clock to attack Masten. Vigneau was supposedly admonished by her superiors in the city gang, but hasn’t likely suffered any real consequence. Vigneau, for newer readers of the blog, is one of the parking enforcers who lied to support the city’s failed lawsuit against the “Robin Hooders” who were saving thousands of motorists from parking tickets in downtown Keene back in 2012 and 2013.

More to come as the full city council is expected to meet this week, but as of the time of this writing hasn’t published an agenda. The best course of action, which surely business owners and customers alike would support yet no one has likely proposed, is to remove the parking meters and kiosks entirely from Central Square and the rest of downtown. The worn-out excuses the city parking gang gives for their meters are that they encourage turnover and claim that businesses want that service. However, the city’s own actions prove their argument is false. First, they don’t enforce the meters on the week before Christmas – the biggest shopping week of the year! If there were anytime when “turnover” is important, it’s that week. On the contrary, the week prior to Christmas is great without the parking enforcers prowling the streets. People can shop without worrying if their meter is about to expire. If only we could have the other 51 weeks per year be like that. Also, to further prove it’s really all about generating revenue, the city gang enforces the meters during the slow hours too, when plenty of spaces are available on-street.

When I spoke with her today, Masten was dismayed with the city government gang ignoring the pleas of the business owners. The reality of the situation is the city is a criminal organization that does whatever benefits “the City”, meaning the people in the gang – not the people subjected to their rule. We’ve seen example after example of how it works, with the BEARCAT situation being one of the most flagrant.

Will any signficant changes be made to the Keene city council in this year’s upcoming municipal election? Don’t get your hopes up, but stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

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15 Comments

  1. I’m a bit surprised that nobody has taken out the parking meters. A bat might help.

  2. which parking meter maid person gave her crap of Facebook.. . if someone said to the parking meter lady be nicer or something that would be a first. .i recall some parking meter ladies being horrible on Facebook and the city rooted them on… i think it was jane

  3. yes just saw it was Jane.. what a shocker. . she is horrible. .. but the city rewards horrible. .that’s why Keene sucks

  4. Jane is the perfect example of how government doesn’t work shit people like her who do shit work and treat people poorly don’t get fired but get rewarded

  5. Another story written with biased statements and unproven facts. Kiosks are what’s coming. People who dislike change will not like the kiosks.at first but they will get the hang of it before long. but There maybe a few bugs to workout but other cities around the USA use them with no problems. It’s called progress and you can’t stop it.

    Of course shop owners have to get permission to place their items on the publicly owned sidewalks. What if someone put table and chairs on the sidewalk of your house.

    So who are all these business owners? How about upset customers? As usual you take an advantage of throwing your own biased opinions in the story without facts.

    Your ridiculous rants about the parking during the last week in Christmas makes no sense. Maybe the city doesn’t have enough people to staff the parking meters. Since kiosks have a positive track record, that will save the city money.

    Again, Ian, very biased and without substance.

  6. Say Jacks, remember when the City of Keene’s parking authorities were telling everyone how much we all needed them? That a thriving shopping experience for shoppers downtown wouldn’t even be possible without parking meters and ticket writers to enforce their use? Boy, I sure do!

    You know pookums, maybe it’s time to consider taking away management of the sidewalks and parking spaces from our dear government friends and giving them back to the businesses? After all, it’s pretty clear now that Keene’s parking syndicate has revised their mission statement and no longer has any real motivation to conceal their contempt for downtown shops and the shoppers who patron them.

  7. Think it’s time for a Robinhood 2.0

  8. Jacks: “It’s called progress and you can’t stop it.”

    That is the most retarded things I’ve heard from you yet. Technology isn’t always a step forward. There are negatives to progress and we even frequently go backward. Just because other cities do it doesn’t mean it’s the best course of action to take, nor is it inevitable.

    I once had a palm pilot and it was amazing. Today I’m back to pen and paper because nothing that has come since which has replaced the palm pilot has comparable features within the confines of what I’d consider acceptable. This is not to say I do not have any technology more advanced than a palm pilot, but rather smart phones do not make or have not made great organizational advancements over palm pilot’s tools. Sometimes ancient technology works better even when we’ve had more advanced technology (palm pilots) and that technology has been advanced by yet other less advanced ‘tech’.

    The reality here is we don’t need any of the technology because no system of collection is needed. Every system is less efficient than no system at all. Most of what is happening is the city is collecting money to fund its collection activity without any substantial gain relative to the costs thrusted on the people. We already know for a fact that the people rejected it and the city has continued to ignore the people’s opposition to the parking meters. Unfortunately this is a good demonstration of how democracy is not working to produce optimal results. This is not to say its not the best system we have thus seen, but it does mean that there is a long way to go if we perfection.

  9. “Your ridiculous rants about the parking during the last week in Christmas makes no sense.”

    Talk about serious reading issues or at least bias and/or issues with rational logical reasoning comprehension. His argument was sound jacks. The city suggests the purpose of the parking meters is to keep traffic flowing to ensure enough parking for everyone. Yet during the highest traffic time of the year they don’t enforce the parking meters? Why is it so hard for you to see this contradiction?

    “Maybe the city doesn’t have enough people to staff the parking meters.”

    The city gets to dictate working hours and if it is not critical to make these hours a requirement for the job it demonstrates that we don’t really need the parking meters. Rather its a wealth redistribution program that takes money from one group (motorists) and puts it into another groups pockets (meter maids and the associated beurocracy).

    “Since kiosks have a positive track record, that will save the city money. ”

    There is no evidence of this jacks. All the evidence contradicts this. I’ve lived in a city larger than Keene and with less parking than Keene and there were no parking meters. Parking was in no way a significant problem. In fact the parking meters here have the opposite impact and reduce the amount of parking available rather than increase it because many of us won’t park as a result. By forcing people to walk it from further distances we don’t have any parking at all and are less likely to go shop down town. Thus hurting business. Before you say your the exception I’ll point out that I’m not only not the exception but part of the norm. The population distribution in Keene is getting older and more people of that age category have trouble walking.

  10. “Think it’s time for a Robinhood 2.0”

    Are you suggesting that it is time to use violence (in self defense of these people?) against those who are attempting to steal from us, kidnap people, and worse?

    While I feel the sentiment and agree it would be justified I do not think defending ourselves using violence is the appropriate and logical course of action here. There is no point to this until we have the numbers to make it work and it may not be necessary either once we have the numbers. A better course of action would probably be to damage our property (ie the parking meters). While this isn’t going to solve the problem it would make a clear political statement. However it does require someone to take on some bit of risk. Whether or not this is a good course of action is also up for debate. There may be other ways to make a statement without resorting to said destruction. Though now would be a good time to take aggressive destructive action against the physical parking meters if one were to take that route if the objective is to send a message that the people do NOT want these things and will NOT put up with them.

  11. kk – Again your rants and raves fall on deaf ears. Freekeeners are upset because they can’t control the kiosks like they once thought they could. In other words, the city progressively found a better option for parking and it makes “robbin hooders” history fall by the way side and out of the lime light, The city is going to do what it needs to. Get used to it.

  12. maybe the keyoxs will come back next week

  13. Kudos Jacks! You’ve made quite a name for yourself spouting Jacksisms in place of intelligent arguments here!

    But even you have to admit that this “better option for parking” you’re so excited about is quite unpopular with the natives, those downtown merchants and their employees in particular. Those same people, by the way, that the Keene parking authorities (and you) are so enthusiastic in forcing their unwanted services on.

    But then again, we both know that you really don’t care about any of this stuff anyway – you not being a NH resident and all. It’s all this disobedience and contempt towards authority that’s really grinding your gears, now isn’t it pookums?

    Still Jacks, maybe you’d like to take a gander at that petition Ian was talking about anyway – you know, to broaden your horizons? You can find it here under the subject “Petition – Requesting the Removal of the Kiosk – West Side of Central Square.” You’ll find it a fun read, Jacks. I promise.

  14. Jacks:

    “because they can’t control the kiosks like they once thought they could”

    Considering that many of us refuse to pay the parking meters and fines and they’ve given up fighting us in court on this after Chris won his parking trial on BOTH parking tickets within the last year that he had received it’s a bit hard to take you seriously. Now they are just dropping the charges when we fight the tickets. No trial needed. Kinda like they’d do for any other person who goes in and asks to fight a ticket in court. They have literally given up the fight and we won jacks!

    Now they are giving up the privacy invasive kiosks too! Jeese .. and lets not forget we also won at the NH Supreme Court against the city’s lawsuit.

    We keep winning jacks… before you know it there won’t even be ANY parking meters.

    “the city progressively found a better option for parking and it makes “robbin hooders” history”

    The robin hooders won jacks. If you think this sort of activism is going to go on indefinitely at the levels that it had your nuts. It didn’t need to. The city might have reacted to the robin hooders in this way- but the robin hooders had pretty much stopped before the kiosks even went in. And even now they couldn’t handle the severe reaction from the people of Keene because guess what. The people of Keene don’t like the parking meters either. The only reason we still have them is because people are use to them and put up what they know more easily than new bull shit.

    “The city is going to do what it needs to”

    They did, but failed, again and again and again. We may not own this town yet, but I can guarantee you that we will one day. Natives are fleeing NH and libertarians are moving in. Ohh right- you fled NH already didn’t you jacks? I guess you knew that was happening already. Is that why your so pissy about this? Cause your home is being taken over by people you don’t like?

Care to comment?