Thursday, March 5, 2009

There Is A God...

I was given a $65 parking ticket in NYC on 12/24/08. I submitted the following written statement as to why the ticket should be dismissed. I received a ruling on my plea today and have posted it below as well...

Submission Date: 12/27/2008 07:24 AM

Your hearing request was for the following item(s):

Agency Item
------------------------------ -----------------------------------
PVO 7894519133

Your statement why the ticket should be dismissed:

I am a respectful and modest user of public parking in NYC and of the Muni Meters which I consistently pay for with a credit card. On 12/24/08 I had a medical appointment at 25th street and 5th avenue. I pulled into an available space in front of 213 7th avenue and got out of the car to use the muni meter. I think it's somewhat relevant, for reasons you will see soon, that it was not only cold but, raining.

I do not usually have enough quarters with me to pay cash for the muni meter which is why I use my credit card. I went to the muni meter nearest the car and attempted to use the aforementioned credit card which was accepted but after attempting to contact the bank the machine indicated via its LCD display that there was a "communication errror". Ok, its raining and I am getting wet but I try again - same deal, no dice.

So now I am running a little late and getting pretty wet but I want to pay so I go to the next block to use the muni meter there and - you guessed it - same deal - "failure to communicate". I try twice.

Now I am unhappy, wet and longing for the good old days of old fashioned parking meters and even though you needed coins for them at least I could go to a bank and keep a roll of quarters and if the meter was broken then usually no ticket was issued because anyone can see the meter is broken and you could put up a sign that says "broken meter" and out of politeness and fairness no ticket was issued and sure enough the next day the city had already fixed the meter.

With the muni meter their is no way to tell it's broken but let me tell you they break all the time and the idea of standing in the cold rain, fiddling with a machine and a credit card and an LCD display and getting wetter and colder and later for the appointment and frustrated and its Christmas Eve...

Well after trying twice again at the second meter I stormed off to my appointment and I mean give me a break, I went to two muni meters in the rain and the system was down and going to yet another block in the cold rain until I found a working muni meter receipt dispenser struck me as semi, if not completely, crazy.

So in the name justice I ask you to see past the technicalities and agree that I am NOT GUILTY (which is true when this incident is viewed through a human lens and not just from the glow of a muni meter LCD display) and I feel so strongly about this that if you do find me guilty I ask that instead of a fine you sentence me to whatever you deem the appropriate amount of jail time because I say "ENOUGH".

Enough cowering to the unthinking and unyielding technology that everyday diminishes our humanity...

Enough of muni meters that seem to laugh at us as we fumble in the rain with our credit cards while it takes its time, makes us wait and then taunts us with its dim LCD response, "communication error"...

Enough with a system that demands individual responsibility and accountability but accepts none for its own broken, uncaring, one size fits all parking rules and regulations.

For all those reasons I ask you to dismiss the ticket or send me to jail where I will do my time and in so doing wash away the guilt that I acknowledge - GUILTY AS CHARGED...

Guilty of being a human being...

Guilty of caring...

Guilty of wanting my children to stand up tall and proud knowing that the world is in fact not a one way street with no parking unless you ask permission, rather it is a four lane highway crossing the vastness of our lives through a landscape where men of honor are in the driver's seat. No more "system down - communication error" humiliations. I would rather go to jail and suffer a few days or a weekend or whatever the jail time is than simply pay this un-just ticket and suffer more for my tacit agreement that I deserve this ticket (which I do not for the reasons I have already explained).

Thank you for your consideration.

In today's mail I received the following DECISION AND ORDER, CITY OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, dated 2/18/09:

"Respondent claims that the meter was broken at the time the summons was issued. This is an affirmative claim wherein the burden of proof rests with the respondent. Respondent's claim is supported by persuasive testimony.

Total Amount Due: $0.00

Retain this record of your hearing for 8 years and 3 months."


  1. <<....Retain this record of your hearing for 8 years and 3 months.">>

    Does this mean that you are actually on parole for 8.25 years?

  2. I have set my calendar for 8.25 years. Like you I found the time frame baffling - why not 8 years even? Why not 3 years? Why do I have to save this at all - are the government files that poor that they fear losing the record of dismissal of the ticket? My headache inducing guess is that no one has any idea why that is the time frame. It exists for some reason that is lost in history and is simply followed for no reason other than that not following it is harder (and questioning even more so).

  3. Many times when I've tried to pay at a Muni Meter with a credit card and the display reads "Processing Error" and then "Transaction Finished." Turns out that the Muni Meter wireless network has a chronic recurring problem with authorizing credit cards, and DOT is aware of this and has said so in emails to me.

    So when a Muni Meter failed, I called NYC's info number (311) on my cell phone. I filed a complaint and submitted a service request, and got a confirmation number each time. I placed a hand-written note on the dashboard that read "Muni Meter #xxx-xxxx Broken mm/dd/yy. Complaint Filed #c1-1-xxxxxxxxxx. On most of these occasions, I didn't get a ticket. But on two occasions, I did get tickets. The charge was the same both times: failure to display a Muni Meter receipt.

    The first time, I pleaded Not Guilty online, describing my call to 311 and the service request number. I received a letter that said "Respondent's claim is supported by persuasive testimony." The ticket was dismissed.

    But on the other occasion, the ALJ declared that I AM guilty, because a check of the Muni Meter (at a later date) showed it to be in good working order. WTF?

    I am currently appealing this decision.

  4. I have also called 311 when a meter was not working and have been told to go to another meter.



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