up untill this year we always paid something for parking. depending on where and when, it ranged from 5 a day to as low as 2 a day. having said that, and in light of this article:
Stealing The Collection Plate
Jehovah’s witnesses Take Tacoma to the Cleaners
By Brian Winchell
Excommunications, end of the world prophecies, strict orders that mandate members shall not make friends outside of the organization; this is what the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society commonly known as Jehovah's Witnesses is all about. When they flock to the Tacoma Dome this weekend for the fourth in a series of conventions, the Watchtower Society will run away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in parking fees that, if they abide by their contract with the Dome, should stay here in Tacoma. The situation has caused a crisis of conscience for 51 year old, Bruce Baker, a lifelong Jehovah's Witness, For the past several years, Baker served on the Watchtower Convention Commit tee (WCC) which oversees the functions of the Watchtower Convention at the Tacoma Dome. In early June, Baker was excommunicated for raising concerns about the organization's financial practices and several of its beliefs, particularly the one that defines the Watchtower Society as the only conduit to God's true message. As a result of the excommunication, Bakers oldest daughter and son-in-law can no longer speak to him and he has lost touch with his19 month old granddaughter. Many of his friends are likewise no longer speaking with him, for fear of being excommunicated themselves. "This is a big boat to rock," Baker said. "I've discovered a tot or things about the organization on the Internet and from being one of the higher ups in the area." Just what did Baker find out that resulted in his excommunication? Last January, at a pre-convention meeting, he was told by Mark Lahfdany, another leader of the WCC, that the contract with the Dome specifically states that the Watchtower Society cannot charge for parking. Yet at assembly halls, Baker says Jehovah's Witnesses are frequently told that to not pay the parking "contribution" would be a sin. A February letter from the Watchtower Society in New York to the Tacoma chapter refers to a "per-day suggested parking contribution" yet goes on to refer to a ticket that can be acquired in advance for all three days. Does a contribution require a ticket? Perhaps most telling about what the Society really expects from its members is this line from the letter: "Parking Department attendants should be on hand in full force when the lots open each morning. Otherwise delegates park and do not contribute, which is unfair to those who come later and make a contribution.” If the parking "contribution" is not a requirement, as the contract with the Dome states it must not be then why do attendants need to be out In "full force" to ensure that everyone contributes? With over 10.000 attendees at the three-day convention, the Watchtower Society collects over $120,000 from the parking "donations" of one convention, money that usually goes into the pockets of the Tacoma Dome. Last Friday, Baker sent information to Mayor Brian Ebersole, city Manager Ray Corpur and City Council member Kevin Phelps urging them to take action against the organization. None could be reached for comment. What may stop them from raising the issue, however, is the fact that the Watchtower Society fills the Dome for a month straight during the down season, thereby contributing money to the local economy. And, as Baker points out in his letter to the three politicians, the New York headquarters for the organization has “strongly intimated that if the Dome tries to flex with pricing at all they wilt pull out and go somewhere else." Which leads to the question: Would we really miss them?
It seems the good ole boyz in krooklyn got caught with their hands in the till.