This morning, Julie stepped outside to go to her massage appointment and found her car . . . gone! She looked up and down the street, and couldn’t see it. It must have been stolen, she thought. Just to be sure, she called Ken to check where he had parked it when he came home last night. As she thought, he had parked in front of the house. So, first Julie phoned to cancel her appointment, then she called the police to report the car stolen.
Residential Parking Restrictions
We live six blocks from the football stadium. This is too far for people to want to park in our street when they go to a game, but nevertheless it is within the city’s restricted parking zone. As such, we have to get stickers to put on our windshields to allow us to park in front of our own house.
When Julie called the police, she discovered, first of all, that her make of car is popular with thieves because it is easy to hot-wire. Then she was told that her car was not, in fact, stolen. It had been seized and towed. That’s when she went beyond being dismayed and got upset. Angrily, understandably, upset. You see, there had been a football game the previous night.
We’ve Been Through This
Apparently, her residential parking permit had expired. That being the case, one would have thought that a parking fine would be a reasonable response, but to have the car towed? That seems more like over-reach and a cash-grab by the city than a justifiable consequence of a by-law violation.
This is not the first time we have come across this situation. A few years ago, when I was visiting here, I was ticketed for parking in the restricted zone. I was very annoyed about this because I did not know about the restriction (it is not well sign-posted) and even if I had, I was completely oblivious to the dates when there were events at the stadium. I challenged the ticket and had my fine payment refunded. Even so, it still rankles.
As upsetting as that was, it was not nearly so egregious as having the car towed and impounded for the same offence. When Julie called the impound lot, she was advised that they had, in fact, towed seventy vehicles last night. Seventy! Clearly, this is not about parking violations. It is a tax on working people who have to park in the street because they don’t have driveways or garages and who don’t follow football.
It’s Not Stealing If The City Does It
When we went to pick up the car, we paid the $216 towing and storage fee, and then Julie went to get her car. As she did that, a woman stepped up to the counter and said loudly, “I’m here to pick up my stolen car.” I responded “That’s exactly how we feel!” I thought the woman was being sarcastic, but it turned out that she had, actually, had her car stolen. Oh, well.
Before driving the car out of the lot, Julie had to stop to remove a parking violation fine notice from under the windshield wiper. In addition to paying for towing and storage she also has to pay a $75 city fine. Try to imagine her degree of offpissment at this. Yes, if you imagined an exploding head, you got it right.
We should probably wait until the anger subsides, but I think a protest is in order. Does anyone know how to fight city hall?