Baghdad by the Bay award goes to…


Baghdad by the Bay award goes to…

The City of San Francisco is the first current recipient of the latent Bagdad by the Bay award for parking foolishness. The Citation is based on this:

The City allows scofflaws to “work off” their parking fees and fines at a rate of $6 an hour for public works. I’m not sure about this, but what the hell, it is San Francisco. However the city is being sued by one of the participants in the program because the minimum wage in SF is, are you ready, $11.03 for persons working under a city contract.

So the litigants want credit for the addition five and change, and of course want to go back to everyone ever in the program and give them the bucks, too. This is just normal infantile San Francisco hoo haa.

What the story pointed out is this. The two participants they interviewed had a between $600 and $900 in fines a year. One gets about 10 parking tickets a month and the other had accrued $1800 in tickets over a two year period. What’s with that?

If regular folks in SF so broadly ignore the parking laws (or are too dumb to figure out how to get around them), (one is a writer and a publicist and the other works as a counselor for a local university) there must be many MANY others who pay a lot of fines, too.

In fact, if you read closer in the story, nearly 3700 people used the program in FY2007 to pay their fines. This assumes that they had substantial fines, and were not working off a $50 billet doux.

What’s wrong in San Francisco, or is this true everywhere. Perhaps we should have public flogging, or stocks, or make them wash cars in the central square. Obviously $50 for a parking ticket isn’t enough to alter their behavior.

Perhaps we should become very aggressive and “boot” every vehicle from the second ticket on. Charge an arm and a leg to get the boot off. Perhaps then people would think twice before they overstay a meter or park in a red zone.

A zero tolerance approach might be what the parking doctor ordered. Whatcha think?


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

3 Responses

  1. Why isn’t there a points system, where after you accumulate a certain number of points, your privilege of parking on city streets is revoked? That is, after you get one more parking ticket, your car is towed. A couple of tows and your car is summarily crushed into a cube.

  2. JVH
    The other salary should have been negotiated in advance. The individuals rack up tickets, agree to a game plan to pay
    them off and later want to renegotiate NOT

  3. Certainly people like these who rack up tons of tickets are ridiculous, however, there are those of us who feel abused by the already too vicious system. I recently got an $100 ticket for parking in my own driveway while I ran upstairs to get something. Written appeals, even those submitted with photo evidence, are ignored, and in person appeals are not heard until you put down a “deposit” of the fine amount. Perhaps if the whole parking system didn’t seem like a mob scam to get innocent people caught while they were not looking, those who actually violated the system would feel more compelled to pay.

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