Yeah, that's the ticket.

Let's talk about parking tickets, shall we?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


A disturbing occurrence today. I was driving down the street looking for a car that had been marked (chalk on the tires) for a 72 hour complaint. I couldn't find it (the guy must have moved it) but I did find the guy who owns it. He was getting into his piece of junk small motor home (it's more like one of those house cars). He started the thing up, fouling the neighborhood with the stench of his engine fumes, when he spotted me. He rolled the smelly wreck up to where I was and starting berating me for marking only his cars and not all the other ones on the street. He said, "You only mark the Spanish ones." I was incensed. We don't do that kind of thing. We've been accused of this kind of prejudice before but we honestly don't care about the color of the owner, just the color of the vehicle. I got angry and told him that we don't operate that way and that it was an unfair accusation. He made noises of one kind and another about the other cars on the block. I told him if he had a complaint to call it in to the station. Then I drove off.

People who can't take responsibility sometimes resort to this tactic but it's lame. We really couldn't give a damn what a person is like on the outside. As long as they follow the rules and behave in a socially acceptable way (at least when it comes to parking), we are completely colorblind and neutral. I know some people have a victim mentality but this guy was just mad because he always leaves his few vehicles on the street for days at a time and never moves them. So we end up having to mark them again and again because he just doesn't get it. Some of his cars are eyesores and his neighbors complain about them. What can we do?

For him to pull the race card was simply a disgrace. That's not how we do things. We've all learned that knuckleheads come in all colors.


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Lemming Effect

Hi everyone,

Don't you remember when your mother told you this: "If your friend jumped off a building, would you do it too?" She was trying to warn you that following the crowd was sometimes not a wise thing to do. This morning I saw a perfect example of why this is true.

I was doing the 8AM to 10AM street sweeper route. I turned a corner onto a rather busy street in our little burg and to my astonishment the whole block was full of parked cars. Full!

Holy Smoke!, I exclaimed (okay, actually I exclaimed something different but hey, I never know who may be reading this). There were at least seven cars there in the sweeper zone. I got out and started writing tickets furiously. I'm sure if anyone had come out and seen me, they would have been furious too.

Now, the reason there were so many cars there was what I call The Lemming Effect. If one goes over the cliff, they all do. (I have since come to find out that lemmings don't really do this, but for my purposes I'll use it because I like it and it's my blog). When one car parks somewhere, even illegally, people just assume that because that person parked here it must be okay. HA! I'll say it again. HA! No need to actually read the sign, there are cars here. It must be okay. HA! What they didn't know was that one of those vehicles was disabled (it had a note saying it had a dead battery. A word about this: we don't always believe the notes but we are obliged to honor them because, who knows?, it may be true and we wouldn't want to cite a vehicle that actually can't move. Vehicles do stop working now and again. For proof you only have to look at my old car, if you can find it. I've stopped looking).

So, I wrote five tickets in that spot this morning. I didn't cite the disabled car and one guy came out and I let him go because he was just making a quick delivery to the medical center across the street. Wait, there was a medical center across the street? You didn't say that! Well, yes. This is also one reason why there were so many cars on that side of the street. The parking over there is abysmal. And the drivers don't want to pay the five to seven bucks for the parking structure. Instead, they park illegally and have to shell out forty bucks. Oh, Brother.

Lemmings may just have more intelligence than people after all.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two Beats

Hello Citizens,

I realized I never talked about what happens when we are assigned two (or sometimes more [gasp!]) beats to patrol. Let me tell you, it ain't pretty.

First, a beat consists of a specific area of our little hamlet. There are six beats overall here and that's enough. Really there are seven if you count our small downtown area. This has been carved into another beat because, well, lots of people park there. I pity the guy who must patrol this beat all the time because, while any of the beats can become downright boring after a month's time (we rotate after that), the downtown area can become simply unbearable after a week or two. There's just not that much there. Of course the shop owners and the regulars get to know the downtown beat person pretty well, and we get to know them. I think it's harder on us. The shop owners think they can park in front of their place of business all day. Of course they can't, but why would they want to? Don't they want their customers to have a convenient place to park to patronize their business? I don't get it. Unless they think that they work so hard that they are entitled to a little laziness. Costly laziness though.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Two beats. Usually when you have two beats, doing a lot of marking of tires is out of the question. Why? Well, usually when you respond to a request for service or a Desk Call, as we say, they are invariably in the other beat - not the one you are in at the time. Then, you can be sure that the next desk call will be all the way on the other side of the beat you just left. It really taxes your vehicle and your nerves. You just can't get anything else done! This morning for example, I had two beats. I had the other beat's eight o'clock sweeper zone to patrol, we had a roll call at nine-thirty back at the station which I would barely be in time for, then I had my regular ten o'clock sweeper route to do. So, what happens? The Desk gives me a call to do "after your eight o'clocks" all the way on the other side of town (Damn you, Murphy and your law anyway!). Now, there were three other PCOs out there in the field who had nothing to do in the morning. Do any of them "buy" the call for me? Of course not. Those lazy bastards. I called the supervisor and asked her if she would have one of the others do the call for me. She did and I was happy. Still pissed off, but happy (This is simply a taste of what's coming when I write fully about my colleagues. It's coming, I promise).

Having two beats is a royal pain. But, it beats having no beats. Anyway, I prefer beets.

And beers.