Public streets belong to us.
They do not belong to homeowners, or to the neighbors. And they definitely don’t belong to the bossy state appeals court judge down the street.
This tiny detail of law seems to have escaped Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Larry Meyers of Fort Worth, part of a slimy and selfish effort to seize and restrict parking along West Devitt Street, a side street in the Bluebonnet Hills neighborhood near TCU.
We all pay taxes for West Devitt Street.
We should all get to park there, as long as it’s in a safe and orderly manner.
Instead, Meyers and unnamed neighbors bought and put up copycat city signs on the city right-of-way saying “Resident Parking Only” and “No Parking Any Time — Tow-Away Zone.”
That’s against the law.
It’s a violation to put up a fake no-parking sign on a city street, or for that matter, limit parking with traffic cones.
Fake no-parking zones rob us of our free access to public streets. (Fort Worth law also prohibits almost any kind of sign on the city right-of-way.)
Meyers is a 27-year judge, sworn to uphold the law.
Not to break it.
For his part, Meyers said he and others in the neighborhood of $600,000-plus homes are frustrated because TCU students park there for now while a garage in the Worth Hills area across the street remains under construction.
When city workers took the signs down Tuesday, Meyers told KTVT/Channel 11 he thought Devitt Street was “our property.”
No. It’s our property.
“We were not trying to break the law,” he said, protesting that he was “just trying to give the TCU students notice to park where TCU’s supposed to park.”
The tension between TCU and neighbors over parking is long-standing. That’s why the university built one parking garage and is completing another at Worth Hills.
But at some point, the general public — including students and campus guests — must be allowed to park safely on public streets.
Unless the Bluebonnet Hills neighborhood is so overwhelmed that the integrity of the neighborhood is in danger, parking should be allowed on one side of a residential street. (I can see restricting a few blocks for resident-only parking right now, but not side streets, until the new garage opens.)
Meyers, 68, was elected in 1992 to the highest criminal court in the state as a Republican. He switched to the Democrats and has a Republican opponent, District Judge Mary Lou Keel of Houston.
Texas’ November elections are rarely close. But just in case, Keel sent a response Tuesday.
“The law applies to everyone,” she wrote.
“If judges refuse to follow it, how can others be faulted for doing the same? Judge Meyers’ pattern of behavior suggests a sense of entitlement that is unbecoming in a judge, especially one on our highest criminal court.”
This is no way to campaign for re-election.