Fine with fines

I don’t know what’s crazier: municipalities forcing people to pay for messed up parking tickets, or people spending huge amounts of time and energy to fight a messed up parking ticket, most especially when the ticket was only for $65.

Here’s how it went: A woman parks on a New York City street to pick up her husband from the hospital. She misses all the signs that say she needs to pay to park, including the signs and the meters themselves. She helps her husband, who’s suffering from cancer, to the car and finds two tickets on her windshield. Both tickets are for parking illegally, but one is for parking illegally on a street she isn’t actually parked on. She is more than willing to pay the fine for parking illegally, but only wants to pay the fine for parking illegally on the street where she parked illegally. She doesn’t think it’s right that she’s asked to pay a fine for parking illegally on a street where she didn’t park.

She appeals the ticket and even goes so far as to ask the hospital for video footage showing she was in the hospital collecting her husband during the time she was fined for parking illegally nowhere near the hospital. Her appeal is denied. She contacts nj.com’s Bamboozled columnist and asks for help. Bamboozled is unable to contact anyone at the city offices who can address the problem. The woman then gives up and pays the fine so she can drive in to New York without the threat of a warrant for her arrest.

Though we can all understand the principle of the thing, I think there’s something to be said for considering the cost of living within the system and leaving it at that. Mistakes will be made and sometimes they will not be made in our favor. There’s not much intelligence in a system that allows for this much error, but there is intelligence in weighing the cost against your time and your peace of mind.

Read the article here.

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