Geek Scores A Hat Trick Against The City
My plan for yesterday was simply to fight another of the seemingly endless stream of parking tickets my ’83 Impala seems to attract.
I had planned my day so I could take an hour off after lunch time to hit a hearing facility, but per usual my plans took a left turn.
Beer Drinking In The Park
A colleague’s niece stormed into the office waving one of the city’s blue colored ordinance violation tickets in my face asking me if I could help her with her ticket. I was a bit hesitant at first as my expertise lies with the orange tinted tickets–not the blue.
The niece was on her way to pay the ticket, but her aunt told her to swing by so I could at least look it over. So I promised to at least take a look at it, just to be polite.
It turns out, my colleague’s niece was tipping a few adult beverages in one of our fair city’s parks and somehow didn’t realize it was illegal to do so. A cop saw her alleged imbibing in said park and wrote her up.
But perhaps it was the police officer who had been drinking as he forgot to sign the violation.
Of course, if the violation isn’t signed, it’s not a properly issued ticket and legally must be dismissed. So I wrote some crib notes for the niece and sent her on her way as her court date was just an hour away.
Boot Hearing Blues
Finally, I ventured out to fight my ticket.
When I got to the Addison Street hearing facility, there weren’t a lot of drivers contesting tickets, but the guy I was behind was having a really bad day. He was having a boot hearing.
His pickup truck got booted and he couldn’t figure out why. He had no outstanding tickets. In fact, it was a new truck with fresh plates so none of this was making sense.
But the hearing officer read the municipal code which allows the city to immediately immobilize any type of semi-trailer truck, commercial vehicle or pickup truck over 4,500 pounds that is not involved in making a delivery or picking something up. The point of the law is to keep big, commercial trucks from parking on residential streets.
The Hispanic gentleman was obviously struggling with English and was bewildered by the entire process.
To his credit the hearing officer was trying to give the driver every opportunity to put up a defense that might lead to the boot being removed. But, since legal language goes over the head of English speakers, reading the municipal code to a person who barely understands English is like reading Shakespeare to a four year old.
So the hearing officer passed the case to allow the gentleman to see if he could get the VIN# for the car to see if that info would give them some insight into whether the vehicle should have been immobilized or not.
I was next in line and was able to dispose of my ticket in a matter of seconds.
Beating The Boot?
On my way out, the booted man was on his cellphone in the hallway. Being the busy body I am, it was necessary to see if I could help him out.
First, I asked him what type of pickup he had. I got my office on the phone and we looked up the make and model and determined it weighed 3,400 pounds–over a thousand pounds less than the 4,500 pounds necessary to allow it to be booted for parking on a street.
Obviously, some A-hole and/or idiot boot van driver is going around immobilizing regular sized pick up trucks they think are over 4,500 pounds when they are actually perfectly within their rights to park on the street.
Since my two years of high school Spanish had essentially evaporated from my pea brain, I got a Spanish speaking colleague on the phone and told her what to tell this man to best fight his booting.
I told him to first ask for a Spanish language translator. If a driver cannot effectively speak English to get a fair hearing, the city will provide a translator for them. This man needed help in this department.
The argument I outlined for him was pretty simple. Just testify that his truck was not a semi-trailer truck, not a commercial vehicle, had no signs or decals on the side and, according to Edmunds.com, the vehicle’s weight is over a thousand pounds under the 4,500 pounds indicated in the municipal code. His VIN # and registration should back up all these facts.
After my colleague ran it down for him in Spanish over the phone, I gave him our office number to call to tell us what happened, wished him luck and headed back to work.
When I got back to the office, I had a piece of good news waiting. The beer drinking niece beat her ticket. According to her aunt, when the lawyers for the city saw the unsigned ticket, they threw it out immediately.
A few minutes later, the phone rang.
The booted man called to tell us his defense worked and a boot van was heading over to where his vehicle was located to release the bright yellow boot from his truck.
Ding, ding, ding!!! Three for three in one day. A ticket hat trick.