PROBE: Nov. 9, 2001

November 09, 2001

For the past four or five months, I have noticed something disturbing. If you drive by Driscoll's Sports, you will see a big Ford truck or an Excursion SUV parked in the handicapped parking space.

I use the drive-thru lane at the donut shop for a caffeine fix at all hours of the day. The handicapped slot is always in use by the truck or SUV with the Driscoll's logo on the windows. What is their excuse? — Advocate for Disabled, El Centro

Owner Brett Driscoll said he parks in a handicapped space because he can't find a parking spot in his 30-space parking lot. His use of the slot doesn't put the disabled out in the street, he said, because there are two handicapped spaces in the lot. The spaces are seldom filled, he said.

"When the city required 30 spaces, I thought that was unreasonable, but now I have a real shortage of parking spaces. I am trying to buy some land for more parking but I don't know how that's going to work out," he said.


FORWARD TO VOICE MAIL — If you have ever wondered why it's hard to get through to El Centro City Hall to get anything done, this e-mail memo from Phil Carr, city director of administrative services, might shed a little light on the problem. I don't think he meant to send it to everyone on the staff but he did. — Got Mine, El Centro

When we tried to call Carr, we got his voice mail and thought, "Uh-oh, he knows it's us and he used his call forwarding trick to avoid our call."

But we followed his voice mail suggestion to dial "03" to leave a message with his secretary. She said he was in a meeting but he would call us when he got out. It was 4:30 p.m.

It was after 6 p.m. when he returned our call.

"I called sooner but I got your voice mail," he said. Touché. In some circles they call that phone tag.

Carr said he intended to send his "phone tip of the day" e-mail to El Centro administration staff. Carr's memo told staffers how to not answer calls and send the calls immediately to voice mail.

"Sometimes, you need to concentrate when you are meeting with somebody," he said.

Today most calls bypass switchboards and secretaries to ring directly at the boss' desk. It's impossible to concentrate on a discussion with numerous phone interruptions, Carr said.

Has anything figured out how much money it costs to "save money." Did they forget why they hired receptionists and secretaries in the first place? Instead of low-paid clerks and receptionists answering phones, high-paid executives get stuck with the job.

In the meantime, important clients and contacts fume when a rude recorder insists "your call is important to us" while the clock ticks and long distance phone charges mount.

I lived in Imperial County 57 years and now I am living with my daughter. I read your paper online. Why can't I get PROBE online?

I saw Sam Mosher died. Was this the Sam Mosher of Brunner's Restaurant? — Expatriate, Cyberspace

That was Sam of Brunner's and El Centro. We miss him.

We've been told by several online readers that they can't open PROBE. We know it can be done because we're getting so many out-of-town questions from former residents who are reading the column online.

Here's how you do it. Find the IVP online home page, then "local news," scroll to the bottom and you'll find PROBE. Oh, well, when you're that far down, the only way to go is up.

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