Monday, April 02, 2007

Parking Nazis: 3, Me: -110

It was perfectly free to park on my street since before the automobile was invented until sometime in January of this year. That was when -- apparently thanks to the yuppie tower with inadequate parking being built on the corner -- a two-hour limit was instituted and roving gaggles of parking Nazis began patrolling the block looking for dangerous vehicular criminals like yours truly. So now:

Cost for me to park in front of my house, August 2005 - January 2007: $0

Cost for me to park in front of my house, January - March 19, 2007: $110

The city quietly put up signs announcing the time limits back in December, I think, then just as quietly began enforcing them a few weeks later. So on a snowy day in January, rather than risk death driving my pickup to work, I rode in with a friend. When I came home, I had not one, but two tickets for violating the spiffy new time limit. Cost: $50.

Because one can purchase a residential permit to become exempt from the time limit, I plunked down $40 for one, figuring I would then be safe from being shaken down again, at least until the end of the year when the permit expires.

Wrong. Two weeks ago, I came outside to go to work and found another one of those obnoxious slips of paper on my windshield. The crime: "blocking the driveway." Leaving aside the fact that it's, like, my driveway, Matt, the downstairs tenant, had no trouble getting out and going to work before me.* Some blockage.

I decided to argue this one, so today I went to see the "parking referee." He was pleasant enough, but in true bureaucratic fashion refused to budge on the issue because I was technically in violation of the Immutable Word of God city code that states one must park four feet from the edge of a driveway -- the same code of whose existence I was completely unaware prior to March 19. (He even admitted it was a not exactly well known rule, but also in true bureaucratic fashion, did not allow this reasonable excuse to interfere with the business of extorting my money.)

Blah blah city right of way blah blah not really my driveway blah blah theoretical police and emergency vehicles need theoretical access blah blah -- end result, $5 knocked off the fine "as a gesture of goodwill." Cost: $20.

When I expressed frustration that other people had been parking in crazier fashion in that area for as long as I can remember and I'm the one ticketed, he informed me, in that same endearing bureaucratic way, that it is a towable offense, at the discretion of the individual ticket-issuing Nazi. Translation: We could be even more obnoxious and unreasonable than we already are.

Goodwill, indeed.


* I had a nice photo of the dastardly violation to illustrate how silly this ticket was, but the piece of shit software I have to use to transfer photos from my camera to the computer somehow deleted it in the process. So here's a picture of an outrageously beautiful woman instead:

Denise Milani
The outrageously beautiful Denise Milani: Better than a picture of my truck.