So, I’m standing on my front porch today watching a City vehicle stop in front of my house. Someone gets out and begins rummaging around in the back of truck, eventually producing a large orange boot and I think “wow, bummer - glad that isn’t me!” But it turns out, it IS!
But how can this be? I pay my tickets when I get them - I’m no fool. I know if I don’t they will find me eventually and the penalty will be high. In speaking with the admittedly very helpful officer, I discover that my violations amount to tickets supposedly incurred in 2002 and 2004. Not only do I not recall getting ANY of these tickets, we never EVER received any notification about them in the mail telling us they were past due, that we must pay them or else or any other opportunity to either pay or contest these supposed violations. The public utilities can do it, why can’t the City of Albuquerque? I also found out that these two tickets were written by officers who, mysteriously, are no longer on the force.
So, what’s going on here? Many years ago in Philadelphia, my father was similarly nailed for supposedly outstanding parking tickets - three of them inside of a week when my father was out of the country and the vehicle was housed in a parking garage in an entirely different part of town. Turns out officers eager to meet quota had kept the information of prior ticketed vehicles and began filling falsified records. Is that what happened here? Is that why those officers are not still on the force?
But it gets better. These officers I spoke to today were operating under orders to “blitz” my area (and presumably others as well). Regardless of whether I am eventually exonerated for the violations, I will still have to pay $50 to have the boot removed. That’s right - even if it was not my fault, I owe the City $50 for my inconvenience (not to mention my image in the neighborhood). Can you say extortion?
I recognize that the City is short on revenue, but is this really the way to go about it? Could they not have, in the past 8 YEARS, sent me a notice telling me that I owed this money and that I better pay it or go to court to contest it? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to send me a letter than to pay for the officers’ time to go out and place and later remove the boots? This just doesn’t make sense. But it does smell of a desperate attempt to generate needed revenue for the City. Heck, I would rather just pay the City $50 as a donation to the budget woes than go through this embarrassment and inconvenience.
If I do not schedule and then appear in court in the next 72 hours (between the convenient hours of 8-5), they will then tow my vehicle, impound it and charge me for the transport and storage fee. Too bad I have a job. I can only hope the court is efficient and that I don’t have to stay there half the day waiting to say my piece. But, of course, they did not even leave me a copy of the tickets I supposedly did not pay (I was just lucky enough to be there when they put the darn thing on and the, again very helpful officer allowed me to look at my records on his laptop.)
What’s up City of Albuquerque? Is this how desperate things have become?