JEFFERSON PARK — In this winter's escalating "dibs" war, one side may have resorted to deceptive tactics.
Last week, Salomon Lino shoveled out a parking space in front of his disabled neighbor's home in the 5400 block of West Giddings Street and claimed it for her with a plastic chair, only to later find it tagged with a ticket from the city.
If Lino didn't move the chair, he was facing a potential $500 fine — if the ticket were real.
The city's Department of Streets and Sanitation "does not issue citations of any kind for 'dibs,'" according to spokeswoman Anne Sheehan.
After seeing a photo of Lino's ticket, a city official confirmed that it was a fake, city seal and all.
"It did seem a little odd," Lino said of the ticket. "I mean, if the city started handing out these $500 fines, they could make more on this than [they do from] the speed cameras."
While the city doesn't fine residents for "dibs," workers are empowered to toss out any obstructions in the public way, according to city law. That's exactly what they did in February 2015, after snow began to melt.
And aldermen and other city officials have forcefully discouraged the practice, calling it a nuisance.
"We're already getting calls from people about all sorts of junk being left in the middle of the street, and it didn't even snow that much," said Owen Brugh, chief of staff to 45th Ward Ald. John Arena. "We would just urge everyone to do the neighborly thing and get together and shovel each other out."
That was exactly the response Lino got when he went to Arena's office to ask about the ticket, he said. But as long as other people are calling dibs, he refuses to stop.
"A lot of people on our block do it when there's heavy snow," Lino said. "When we dig out a spot and leave for an hour, you'd better believe we're going to try and protect it."
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