APRIL 4, 2010 --
Motorists who park on the streets of New York City are sybject to the stress of parking tickets and tows -- that might result in fines and fees of several hundred dollars, a pittance for the mayor, perhaps, but not an an inconsiderable sum for many New Yorkers.
In recent months, New York City has replaced parking meters with parking receipt dispensers known as "muni meters." Instead of placing coins into a stanchion with remaining time displayed at the top, the coins go into a box from whence emerges a receipt showing expiration time that is to be placed on the dashboard, in front of the steering wheel.
And so, we have a new basis for unfair fines.
One day, last autumn, LPR got a parking receipt, placed it on the dashboard, and went into a Broadway copy shop. Moments later, LPR returned to the LPRmobile to see a traffic agent issuing a summons. LPR showed the agent the receipt and the agent continued with his summons-issuing work, explaining that the receipt was upside down, and thus, could not be read -- but that I should just explain to PVB and the summons will be dismissed.
And so, LPR answered the summons by mail and months passed.
March 12, LPR was hospitalized for four days. The diagnosis was hypertension, reflected by blood pressure levels exceeding 200/100 that cause severe head pain. LPR returned home the evening of March 15 and opened a March 8 letter from PVB, ruling that LPR must pay a $65 fine because of lack of persuasive evidence that payment had been made at the muni meter.
Presently, in view of LPR's finances, payment of a fine in this amount will require avoidance of all food for one week or more. BUT this truly bizarre matter is not without its revelatory aspects: obviously, PVB is a health warning to all who dare to park their cars on the mayor's streets, those initials representing a dire, possibly imminent malady:
Pounding Vicious Blood-pressure.
People of New York City, New York State, the United States, North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the polar regions, outer space -- behold: $65 in Mayor Bloomberg's NYC for an overturned muni meter receipt. Big Apple? Heck, no. The Hypertensioned Apple.
But there is more. PVB also has apparent authority to rewrite summonses already issued.
Another ticket served on LPR last fall, as he stood by, proved to declare the following: "receipt expair." LPR responded to this summons by mail, suggesting that the charge is not to be found in the list of parking offenses in NYC. This argument, too, was not persuasive. PVB edited "receipt expair" to "receipt expired."
Is this a small thing? Not for LPR. No manner of oppression, of disregard of norms, of fairness, is a small thing. Republican, conservatives, tea-baggers are outraged by alleged disregard of procedure in gaining congressional approval of legislation on health care and/or coverage? Where are the Republicans, conservatives, tea-baggers when the "managerialists" flex their controlling muscles at the local level?