By BILL APPPLEGATE, Vice President and General Manager of WOIO/WUAB

JUNE 5, 2003

Trying to attract people downtown, especially at night, isn't easy in any big city these days, and so in this following "tale of two cities," you tell me which one has the savvy.

In city No. 1 -- Cleveland -- city officials decide to enforce the parking meters until 10 p.m. on weeknights. Up until now, it was 75 cents an hour during the day, but free after 6 p.m. And the bizzaro reasoning for this bonehead move is that employees of downtown restaurants and businesses are hogging the meters, forcing customers into those high-priced parking lots. So, let's keep those meters humming all night -- that will solve the problem.

City No. 2 -- Akron -- has decreed that all city parking lots and street parking will be free after 6 p.m. not only on weeknights but weekends as well.

With both cities struggling to maintain a night life downtown, I ask you, which town wins the IQ test?

For heaven's sake, at a time when Downtown Cleveland is virtually dead at night, isn't there someone at City Hall who understands that part of the problem has to do with the parking?

Write and let me know what you think. Here's the address:

    1717 East 12th Street
    Cleveland, OH 44114