Paul and Brandy to Toe to Toe and the “gotcha” moment.


Paul and Brandy to Toe to Toe and the “gotcha” moment.

In the post below, Paul talks about Boston and the fact that 5% of the tickets are voided administratively. The assumption being that the tickets were improperly written. Brandy points out that in many cases the driver hadn’t displayed a permit but had a valid one, and then the city, in being reasonable, voided the ticket.

I wrote a piece not too long ago similar to Paul’s about a parking app that helps people fight improperly written tickets. Its being beta tested in San Francisco.  I came down on the side of the app, noting that anything that brings some transparency to the system is a good thing.

In fairness, Brandy and the Parking Head in Boston, Gina Fiandaca, make good points in that it actually saves time and money to dismiss those citations that are prima facie  problems, like people who can prove they have handicapped permits, but for whatever reason didn’t hang them on their mirrors, etc.

In the end, however, it’s my position that the more citations that are brought to the attention of the parking offices with errors the better. Sunlight is the best antiseptic. Of course officers make errors, they are human.  I’m sure its the goal of all well run enforcement operations like Brandy’s and Gina’s to ensure that citations are properly written.

People hate to get parking tickets, but really hate to get tickets that just aren’t right.

I received a ticket the other day because I put the money in the wrong meter. (Angle Parking, put money in the meter for the next space).  The enforcement officer watched me do it, waited until I walked away, and then wrote the ticket. I know he watched me do it as I caught his eye and we smiled at each other. I checked on this and the ticket was written one minute after I put my credit card in the wrong meter.  Of course I was ticked off. Mostly at me, a parking pro of sorts, doing a boneheaded thing like that, but I was also ticked off at the officer, who could have pointed out my error and then allowed me to put money in the right meter, saving beaucoup bucks and making a good PR move for LA Parking Enforcement.

The message he sent was “I’m in the gotcha business, and I gotcha, sucker.”  His little action made me suspicious of all tickets it get.  He needs some basic PR skill training. My guess is that had I wanted to fight it, I could have gotten the ticket reversed.  My error was unintentional, and I did pay for the parking. But who has time to do all that.

Then you wonder, if 5% are dismissed out of a million plus, what is the real number of errors.

Well, you get the point.


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John Van Horn

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