Saturday, April 28, 2007

Violating New Yorkers: Render Unto Caesar

A while ago we told the story of a parking ticket we had received after parking in a spot under a sign that clearly indicated that the spot was legal. We also indicated that around fifty yards west of the sign, there was another one that indicated that the area in question was temporarily off limits because of construction. Well, the verdict is now in and, surprise boys and girls, but your truly has been adjudicated Guilty!

The decision rendered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, no sorry, one David Caesar (all hail Caesar!) says the following: "one authorized sign anywhere on a block, which is the area of sidewalk between one intersection and the next, shall be sufficient notice of the restriction(s) in effect on that block." Nothing is said here about the existence of a completely contradictory sign that clearly permits parking.

The great Caesar than goes on to note that the photo submitted "does not show the block at the time issuer wrote the summons ( and the issuer indicated that there was a temporary sign posted). Guilty" Aside from the fact that no one could possibly take a picture at the time the issuer wrote it, unless they were actually present at the time, the moron judge fails to indicate that the sign I was parked under clearly indicated that there was no parking from 6am until 6pm-and the ticket indicated that the violation occurred at some time after 7pm.

So now, according to the head kangaroo, parking under a sign and following its posted restrictions to the letter, is not enough to exculpate you if...well if you are just any poor shlub who is the object of the built-in bias and unfairness that runs through the city's entire system of fines and violations.

This is precisely why we have been arguing for the better part of two decades that increasing the authority of the DCA over the city's small businesses is simply a license to abuse hard working store owners. The judge and jury status that exemplifies the adjudication of parking violations is hardly the model of fairness that anyone should want to have applied to store owners.

Business owners and residents are basically hapless siting ducks when it comes to all of these procedures, and we're hopeful that the next mayor will look to overhaul the entire system. It's an issue that will surely resonate with the voters.