Monthly Archives: May 2008
With the June 30th deadline for renewing your city of Chicago vehicle sticker looming, Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle has announced an easier online renewal process.
From a press release Friday, the clerk’s office says that on-line vehicle sticker sales will start 3 weeks earlier this year to “reduce lines and to provide residents with faster and easier service.”
In addition, residents living in residential zoned parking areas can also renew their residential parking permits and guest passes too.
All of the 135,000 Chicagoans who, in a pilot program last year to obtain their city stickers on-line will receive an e-mail with a link to take them through the renewal process, automatically loading the user’s pertinent info.
If you want to purchase or renew on-line, check out the new City of Chicago Vehicle Sticker site.
In addition, Del Valle has announced that residents who live in zoned parking areas will, instead of receiving two different renewal forms (one for city sticker and one for residential parking), will receive just one, consolidated form to mail back to the city.
If you want to purchase your city sticker the old fashioned way, you can opt to do it in person, but you will have to wait until June 2.
Fun City Sticker Facts!
*You must renew or purchase your city sticker by June 30th!
*Vehicle stickers cost $75, but an additional $40 if you don’t purchase by July 15th.
*Enforcement of the new city sticker won’t kick in until July 15th, so the city gives you a 15-day grace period to slap your sticker on the inside of your windshield. But there is NO grace period of residential parking permits. Bummer!
*In an effort to balance the city’s over-bloated budget, SUV’s get the honor of paying $120 for their sticker–$30 more than last year. Hooray!
*If you get caught without a valid Chicago city sticker, you get to pay a $120 fine.
*According to a Chicago-Sun Times article, the city sells 1.3 million stickers to generate $100 million to maintain Chicago city streets. Based on the number of potholes on the streets this year, one can see that all our vehicle sticker money is being put to excellent use! Keep up the great work guys!
Chicago police officer Sam Mungia has had a tough few years.
Got himself evicted from his home, has a cocaine addiction and then gets fired for writing nearly 300 tickets without ever giving them to the drivers he ticketed. DOH!
Here is the Chicago Tribune article.
By Angela Rozas
A Chicago police officer was fired last month after deputy sheriffs evicting him from his home in August 2005 found hundreds of foil packets with cocaine residue and almost 300 parking tickets he wrote up but never issued to drivers.
On top of a fireplace mantel, the deputies found several stacks of traffic tickets that had been filled out by the officer, Sal Mungia, between September 2003 and February 2005, records made public Tuesday show. The tickets had been turned into the department but never given to drivers. The deputies also saw what appeared to be burned tickets in a fireplace, according to a transcript of their testimony before the Chicago Police Board.
Mungia, 35, a patrol officer who had been on the force since 2000, was fired by the board on April 17, the records show. The department stripped him of police powers in October and recommended to the board that he be fired. He has never been criminally charged with any wrongdoing.
While Mungia and his family were being evicted from their home in the 10400 block of South Sacramento Avenue as part of a mortgage foreclosure, Mungia identified himself as a Chicago police officer. As the deputies retrieved his identification, they found hundreds of the tinfoil packets and plastic bags littering his master bedroom, according to testimony in the Police Board hearing in February.
Mungia couldn’t explain the presence of the tinfoil packets but denied using drugs, authorities said. His wife told police that they contained cocaine residue, the deputies testified.
In testimony before the Police Board, Mungia said he kept the parking tickets after motorists drove away or were being verbally abusive to him. He said he believed that the drivers would receive notices in the mail from the Department of Revenue.
Mungia testified the 291 parking tickets found at his home represented a fraction of the approximately 7,000 he issued a year.
“I didn’t know what to do with them,” he told the Police Board. “I didn’t know if we were supposed to destroy them or hold on to them for a year or what.”
But by keeping and possibly destroying them, he may have left hundreds of people unaware that they had been given citations, said Anna D’Ascenzo, assistant corporation counsel.
Some of the tickets Mungia issued have been dropped, some have been paid and others are under review, said Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the department.
Look Ms. Bond…ALL those tickets should be thrown out!!!! “Under review.”? Are you dense?!? You have a drug addict cop who wrote nearly 300 tickets, but didn’t issue the drivers these tickets when the violation occurred. Now he has been terminated. How can anyone attest to the veracity of these alleged violations? These tickets could have been faked by the cop.
All these tickets should be thrown out. Anyone that has paid a fine for one of these tickets should have their money refunded. That would be the RIGHT thing to do. But I don’t think the city will do the right thing in this case. But who would be surprised at that.
Perhaps the city should look into ALL the tickets this cocaine addict police officer issued over the past few years.
I came out of my apt. today in Bucktown where there is new construction/demolition occurring, thereby throwing the WHOLE street out of whack. I actually moved my car last night so that the stupid cardboard warnings on one side wouldn’t get me a ticket, but it happened to be street cleaning on the other side (that I moved my car to) when I got out of the house this AM. However, the street cleaning is 9am-3pm, and ALL the tickets on that side of the street were given BEFORE 9am. My ticket says 9:11 but it was 8:50 when I walked out the door and all the tickets were there. To make matters worse the side that I switched my car from DIDN’T get tickets. This really sucks — I couldn’t possibly think of a way to prove such a thing save for my own testimony. What do you think?
Beat up in Bucktown
Dear Beat Up,
Sometimes this city really pisses me off.
As much as I get peeved on my own behalf or on behalf of others who are legitimately ticketed for street cleaning, the idea that a city worker would falsify the time intentionally to nail people, probably to make their ticket quota, is just plain evil. It makes me angry.
But, Beat Up, you should be able to beat this.
Here is your strategy.
First, request a hearing.
Then, photograph the chaos of the construction going on, and photograph the street in the morning showing there that NO street cleaning signs were posted. Normally, I would not officially advocate being “creative” with organizing “evidence.” But in this particular case, since the city has no problem altering the time on a ticket to nail you, why shouldn’t you fudge the truth a little to make sure they don’t screw you.
During the hearing, explain how you came out at 8:50 AM to see all these tickets on cars with a time of 9:11 AM. Bring anyone else along to testify to this fact (a girlfriend, roommate, etc.). This extra testimony will really strengthen your case.
Explain that there were no signs warning of street cleaning (wink, wink) and show the hearing officer the photos.
Explain how there were MANY cars with tickets. Tell them how many you saw. The hearing officer should be able to see the sequence of ticket numbers (before and after your ticket number) and see that a ton of tickets were issued in the area of your ticket. If they do not offer to check the ticket sequence, ask them to.
If the hearing officer sees a disproportionate amount of tickets at around the address of your ticket, it will prove your case that signs were not posted and/or a parking enforcement officer was writing tickets in advance of the 9 AM time. This tact has worked for me and I’ve seen it work for others.
If you decide to contest by mail, which is ok, but not as effective as an in-person hearing, write your story in a concise and logical way and make sure you send all your photos with explanatory captions.
Very truly yours,
The Parking Ticket Geek
If you have a question for The Parking Ticket Geek, please e-mail the Geek at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If we publish your question, you get an Expired Meter T-shirt–FREE!
Below is the horror story of a parking experience by a reader who had recently went shopping at Village Discount Outlet in the Roscoe Village Neighborhood.
According to our reader, she parked in the store’s lot, shopped in the store and that store only and came back to her car to find it booted. But I will let her tell the story…
Last week my car was booted by a private company, Global Parking Management, at a thrift store parking lot in Roscoe Village. Posters at the lot and inside and outside the store warned me sternly not to enter any other establishment, and to “walk directly back to my car” after making my purchases, “no exceptions.” I did not mess around. Holding my baby daughter by the hand, I marched from my car to the store and directly back again – to find a boot on my tire and a uniformed tough guy demanding $115 to release it! The man wore a half-dozen laminated tags around his neck; covered in fine print, they looked like licenses. He started a tape recorder as I approached, and informed me that I had entered another store, though he could not say which one.”You have one hour to pay,” he said, clicked a stopwatch, and walked away.
I called the police, who declined to intervene in this “civil matter.” They did say mine was one of three calls for help that day from the same lot. I grabbed my daughter and ran back into the store and pleaded with the management for help, but they gave none.
After two hours, with my daughter crying in the street and another hungry baby waiting for me at home, I had no choice but to pay up to retrieve my car. Before removing the boot, the lot attendant took my credit card, gave me a printed “Bill of Rights” with a false address and a non-working phone number for Global Parking Management, and made me sign a receipt that said, “I was not forced to sign this paper.”
Since then I’ve found that obtaining a refund from Global is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible. My only option, I am told by city representatives at 311, is to call the Better Business Bureau (which has already registered 54 complaints against Global Parking in the last 36 months) and to hope to be granted an administrative hearing with the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
Something fundamental is wrong here. Global Parking makes a great show of appearing professional – all those tags with fine print, the big warning posters, the tape recorder – but it’s a sham. They are ripping off innocent Chicagoans. How can a recorded conversation between the lot attendant and a returning driver, however loud and angry it is, prove that the driver had broken the posted rules and entered another store? Those tapes are not “evidence” at all. As Global Parking knows, the recorded conversations inevitably cast the driver in a bad light: return to find your car unfairly booted and a stranger demanding $115 to release it, and you’re sure to sound outraged on tape. Video footage would offer real proof of where a driver really walked when she left her car. It should strike everyone as suspicious that Global Parking refuses to install surveillance cameras at all of its lots.
Private booting (in effect, booting for profit) was banned in Chicago in 1999. I understand there were lots of complaints and police were constantly being dragged into disputes at private lots. Alderman Eugene Schulter (Ward 47) initiated the re-legalization of private booting in Chicago soon after, however, on the condition that the booting firms be closely monitored. Just how bad does Global Parking’s record have to be before their city license to boot is put in jeopardy? Why has the company been allowed to distribute a false business address to the public for at least two years, as well as an out-of-service phone number? Do their lot attendants work on commission?
Global Parking Management is apparently owned by Michael Denigris and Roseanne Parone-Denigris, who also run a FruitFlowers franchise at 2148 N. Damen. That’s the address given for Global Parking on the Global Parking website, though not on their parking lot signs. The Denigris family seems to have owned Guardian Parking Management several years ago, which was hit by a class action lawsuit in Evanston in 2000 for similar booting abuses and shut down.
In my view, Global Parking will continue to practice extortionist antics as long as private booting is allowed in the city of Chicago, or as long as the city refuses to monitor the conduct of the booting firms – which are not the same as towing firms — more assiduously. Businesses, too, need to demand better conduct from the security firms they employ. For now, even if you follow all of the rules, be warned: some day soon you might return to your car after shopping or grabbing coffee and suddenly find you owe a thug with a tape machine $115, payable immediately by cash or credit card.
I am hoping that our contributor, C.N. pursues a refund from Global and will keep us abreast of the situation.
Then today, driving around the city, I saw some poor driver getting booted in one of these parking lots and it really bummed me out. So I knew it was God, fate, coincidence or whatever, telling me to post this today.
Obviously, The Expired Meter is about parking issues and fighting parking tickets in the city of Chicago.
This generally means dealing with the city of Chicago itself.
But there is an interesting area of parking in Chicago that defies this norm and that is the issue of private booting.
As defined by Chicago municipal law 4-233, this private booting is allowed in just a few wards in the city, specifically the 1st Ward, 25th Ward, 27th Ward, 30th Ward, 32nd Ward, 33rd Ward, 40th Ward, 43rd Ward, 44th Ward, or 49th Ward. Here’s a Chicago ward map if you are interested.
This is mainly consists of neighborhoods either bordering downtown or on the northside (Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Roscoe Village, etc.).
This law allows parking lot owners to legally boot your vehicle if you are “trespassing,” on their property.
This law was originally developed to help parking lot owners in particularly congested areas of the city from people who would park their cars in their lot, then leave to shop elsewhere. The threat of towing, which is obviously still utilized, is seemingly not enough to deter people from trying to take advantage of the prime parking spot in the Dunkin’ Donuts at Belmont & Clark.
Here’s how it’s supposed to work. If you, let’s say, pull into the aforementioned Dunkin’ Donuts (perhaps the most notoriously famous of these private boot lots) and go into the restaurant and buy a cruller and a coffee and then come back to your car and go home, there is no problem.
If you park in the Dunkin’ Donuts lot and go to one of the approved stores on the big ass warning sign (The Alley, etc.), and then return to your vehicle and go home, no problem.
But if you park in the lot and then go to Nationwide Video to rent the latest porn movie… BAM! A heavily tattooed, unshaven and unkempt young man, who looks like he has just been released from 26th & California, will slap a boot on your car and will hold your car hostage until you pay up.
If you park in the lot, go to Dunkin’ Donuts and/or one of the approved stores and then go somewhere else before returning to your vehicle, again BAM! the boot goes on.
The fee to have the boot removed is $115. OUCH!
Over the next few days and weeks, we will be exploring the pain and bane which is private booting. Tomorrow or the next day, we will post a story of one person’s terrible experience with private booting. Stay tuned.
Wow! What a surprise huh? Can you believe it? Another person gets screwed by the city. I’m shocked!!! I’ll let local blogger El Rider, from his Flying Debris blog, tell the story himself.
This is an example of a city government run amok and not working for the citizens, it is a very minor example, yet it is illustrative of how city employees often work here in the Democratic utopia known as Chicago. I live near one of the offices for the City Revenue Department and their employees park on the street on my block, no big deal except for the guy who sometimes changes into his work clothes while blasting music at 5:30 AM. Well yesterday morning I happened to be out front at about 4:00 AM (I left a sprinkler running, doh!) and my truck that is always parked out front was fine and there was not a vehicle parked in front of it. When I left my house (around 7:15) there was a Lexus RS (a small SUV) parked in front of my truck and my front license plate and holder had been knocked off, they were lying on the street. Other than that the truck was fine. Not wanting to lose my front plate or get a ticket for not having one I went back inside, got the truck keys and put the plate in front window.
Now I find that situation to be an annoyance, if all you lose in a traffic or parking altercation is a few screws and plastic pieces then you got of easy. I didn’t consider it a very big deal even considering that it was very likely that the person who whacked my car is a city employee whose job it is give out parking tickets. My problem started when I received a ticket today for not having a front license plate, the ticket was placed on the windshield over the front license plate (pictured above). That in a small way is how Chicago works, first they run into your car and then they ticket your car for having been run into. Welcome to Barack Obama’s Democratic Chicago.
I am sorry to hear about your problems, but again, not surprised that the city has claimed another victim of parking ticket injustice.
The good news is, you should be able to beat these tickets.
Start by requesting a hearing or write a letter explaining the situation. Bring in the photo you took. Also explain how you fixed the situation promptly.
According to the law, if something happens to your vehicle that causes your vehicle to lose it’s front plate, you cannot be held responsible for the violation.
For example, if your front (or rear) plate is stolen, or just falls off, or you are involved in an accident and it falls off, are all legitimate reasons why you don’t have a front license plate affixed to the front of your car.
This is called a compliance violation. As long as you fix the problem in a timely fashion, you should not have any problem shoving this ticket back down their throats.
You may also want to go to the nearest police station and fill out an accident report, just to document this. I know there wasn’t really any damage. But presenting official documentation in your hearing or contest letter, will just give you more ammo to beat this piece of crap ticket.
Fight it! You should win.
According to El Rider, he says he is going to fight it and has promised to keep The Expired Meter updated during the entire process. Thanks dude and good luck!
Dear Parking Ticket Geek,
I received a “Notice of Final Determination” for a “Red Light Violation” but never received any notices prior to that “final” one. Even more strange, I received that “Notice of Final Determination” one month AFTER the “pay by date”.
It seems that I have no recourse but to pay but I’m very bothered by this. I have not had a moving violation in almost 25 years. Considering that fact and also considering the peculiarity in the timing and manner of how they notified, do I have any ability to contest this ticket at such a late stage?
I had a few questions for John, and he followed up with this note.
Parking Ticket Geek-
There’s one piece that I left out. I did not receive this “notice of final determination” via regular mail.
It was left on the ground in front of my apt. door. It seems that it may have been delivered to the building next door by mistake. I sure wish they would have dropped one of the earlier ones here!
There is some confusion about my residential address. There are two buildings that have the same address except that one is noted as “east” Strangely, my address is on North Sheridan Road but also has “east” mentioned in the address. This address didn’t exist until the 1960′s. When my condo building was built, it originally had a completely different address. (the east/west street, which is XXXXXXXX Street.)
Back in the 1960′s when this place was built those new residents decided to change that address to reflect “Sheridan” even though there was a building right next to us with the same address. At one point Sheridan Road was considered to be a fancy place to live and it was desirable to have Sheridan mentioned in the address. To supposedly remedy the problem, they added “East” to the N. Sheridan Rd. address. (basically, I have a “vanity” address)
Here’s how my address legally should read: XXXX E. N. Sheridan Rd.
Here’s how it reads on the city’s notice: XXXX N. Sheridan
Since that change, this building has had tons of delivery problems because many delivery systems and map services like Yahoo or Google don’t even recognize the address.
The confusion is that those two addresses are two condo buildings with about 200 units in them each.
This is a somewhat difficult situation.
You actually have two issues going on here.
The first is the Final Determination. The second issue is the red light violation.
In Final Determination, the only defense you have is that you did not receive notice from the city.
By now, you SHOULD have received the original Red Light Violation, perhaps another Notice of Violation and then, a Determination of Liability. This notice
you just got should have been your 3rd or 4th notice.
From what you are telling me, your vehicle is registered at your proper address, but the city is sending notices to a similar but INCORRECT address.
Even though there is a very minor difference between your legal address and the address the city is using, this city is NOT giving you proper notice.
Illinois and Chicago municipal law is very specific on this. If the city is not sending notices to the address on the vehicle registration, an address listed with the Illinois Secretary of State, the city is not giving you proper notice. Here is the law:
9-100-050 (f) The city traffic compliance administrator shall serve the notice of hearing, the second notice of violation, the administrative law officer’s determination, the notice of final determination of liability, the notice of impending vehicle immobilization and the notice of impending driver’s license suspension, where applicable, by first class mail, postage prepaid, to the address of the registered owner of the city vehicle as recorded with the Secretary of State of Illinois…
Go to one of the city of Chicago administrative hearing centers and try to have a hearing on this.
You will have to fill out a motion for the hearing.
Once you get in front of a hearing officer, you will then need to explain your story. Show him the copy of your vehicle registration and then show him or her the notice the city “attempted” to send you.
If you can, try to bring a business card or stationary from BOTH your building and the next door building with the similar address to further demonstrate the possibility of confusion.
Like I said before, when a violation is in Final Determination, it is normally too late to have a hearing, but because of the lack of notice from the city, because of this address issue, the hearing officer (at least one that knows the law and isn’t a moron) should grant you a hearing on your violation. Cite the law I quoted above to the hearing officer just to be sure.
If the hearing officer does not rule in your favor on this, they are ignorant of the law and this would be just plain wrong.
Once the hearing officer allows you a hearing on the ticket, your next hurdle is the red light violation.
Since you have not even seen the original red light violation, and have not had a chance to look at the photographic or video evidence the city has on the violation, you should ask for a continuance immediately.
The city should allow you time to review their evidence and allow you to formulate defense. A good hearing officer will allow you a continuance based on the notice
9-100-080 (f) The administrative law officer may, on a showing of good cause, grant one continuance to a date certain.
But, to be honest, red light violations are VERY hard to beat. Only about 3% of people that fight their red light tickets actually prevail. Those are some pretty poor odds.
But what the hell! I say go for it!!!
The good news is, if your hearing is granted, your violation is not in Final Determination any more, and the worst case scenario is that you owe $100 and not double that.
If you get the hearing and the continuance, I would LOVE to review the violation and the city’s evidence and see if there is a way to beat that red light ticket.
Keep me posted.
Very truly yours,
The Parking Ticket Geek
If you have a question for The Parking Ticket Geek, please e-mail the Geek at: email@example.com
If we publish your question, you get an Expired Meter T-shirt–FREE!
With all the hoopla over the $153 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation last week, a few key pieces of news got buried in the news coverage.
I’ve been sitting on this piece of news for a few days now. I’ve been trying to confirm it with city officials this past week, and get additional information, but I am assuming at this point, no response is tacit confirmation.
This important news is that Chicago parking meters will be privatized by year end.
In fact, this big money grant is contingent upon the city privatizing its parking meters, according to a U.S. Dept. of Transportation press release. In fact, the DOT believes “a privatized system will lead to higher costs to park.”
“Higher street meter rates during the morning and evening rush periods will encourage commuters to take transit downtown instead of driving,” the press release continued.
Obviously, if you read this blog and are paying attention at least some of the time to local news, you are aware Chicago had put their parking meters up for sale in March (see Pimp My Parking Meter).
So, meter privatization is not news. However, the timing is. Basically, in less than 12 months, at least according to the DOT, this deal will be done.
The other piece of news, a piece of the puzzle somewhat ignored by Mayor Daley and city officials, is that parking meter rates WILL go up.
The main question now is, when, where and how much. The city, of course is mute on this subject. The few times price increases are even mentioned, the public has been reassured that any price increases will be inconsequential.
Don’t bet on this. Obviously, higher rates do not bode well for motorists.
Another curious concept proposed in this package is that parking meter rates will fluctuate depending on the time of the day or day or the week. This will apply to downtown meters where congestion is greatest and rates will rise during peak hours. What is called “congestion pricing,” is basically a way to apply the economic laws of supply and demand to downtown street parking to discourage all but the most motivated drivers to drive downtown looking for parking.
My guess is that, in order to achieve this goal, current downtown parking meters would have to be replaced with more technologically advanced meters that can adjust their rates during the course of the day or week.
Lastly, I was intrigued by the city’s proposal to establish special delivery loading zones downtown, where delivery trucks would pay on a sliding scale for how much time they spend unloading their packages.
As far as parking meter privatization, considering this will go down by December, 31, expect an announcement of the terms of this agreement and who won the bidding, sooner than later.
In the meantime, start saving up your quarters.
You’ll need more to park very soon.
I don’t know how I missed this, but back in March, the Chicago city council voted to expand the parameters of “hardship eligibility,” for parking ticket payment plans, to include anyone whose home is in foreclosure.
I’m impressed that the mayor and the city council recognize that the economy, and home mortgage problem has put some additional financial pressure on some of our fine citizens. But maybe they just realize they would perhaps NEVER get paid if someone loses their home and perhaps goes into bankruptcy.
I mean, isn’t the first thought that pops into someone’s mind, when one is losing their home, their entire world is spiraling into oblivion and the sheriff shows up with an eviction notice is, “I need to rush downtown and setup a payment plan for all my parking tickets! Gee, thanks for looking out for me Mayor Daley!!!”
Perhaps the mayor and the city council will recognize that all the increased taxes, and fees they voted for, are going to drive everyone in the city into bankruptcy. Maybe they will further expand hardship eligibility for idiots like myself who are just broke all the time. Or perhaps, for everyone in the city who is being taxed into bankruptcy by Todd Stroger and his Cook County cronies.
If you owe the city a lot of money for parking tickets and/or red light violations, you might want to look into parking ticket and red light ticket payment plans.
Here is the press release.
New Hardship Eligibility Assists Motorists Experiencing Home Foreclosure
The City Council today passed an ordinance proposed by Mayor Richard M. Daley to expand hardship eligibility for parking and red-light ticket payment plans. Eligibility for the hardship plan now includes motorists in home foreclosure. According to the Chicago Department of Housing, 14,250 foreclosures were initiated in the City for 2007 alone.In late 2007, hardship eligibility was expanded to include persons in active and reservist military duty and the term was lengthened for those unable to pay within one year.”The plans allow motorists to pay off debt over a longer period of time,” said Mayor Daley. “The hardship payment plan offers the most flexible payment terms to motorists with the greatest financial need. Homeowners experiencing home foreclosure are now eligible to benefit from this plan.”
Approximately 31 percent of all payment plans in 2007 were special or hardship plans, providing special terms and assistance to eligible motorists. The further expansion in eligibility will not only assist motorists in need, but also makes sense from a collections perspective. Since inception of the plans in 2004, 216,000 plans have helped to collect $123 million in parking and red-light ticket revenue.
Current hardship eligibility categories include seniors, age 65 and older, students, and persons receiving government issued unemployment benefits. For additional hardship eligibility categories and general information on ticket payment plans, visit cityofchicago.org/revenue or call 312.744.PARK (7275)