May 10, 2010
City of San Diego
1255 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA
Re: Citation [redacted]
This is my written Administrative Hearing submission for citation #[redacted] placed on my car, CA-[redacted], on 2009-8-17 and due by 2010-5-11 at 2pm. I am appealing this citation on the grounds that it is unfair. I would like to point out that unfairness is a perfectly valid reason to overturn a parking citation. The following quotes are from the city's official website, retrieved from http://www.sandiego.gov/parking/cita...inreview.shtml
The administrative investigation and review of contested citations [...] with a response that is fair, timely and that recognizes that some parking situations are unavoidable given a particular set of circumstances and are not true violations of the spirit of the law.
The issuing agency may also feel that extenuating circumstances make dismissal of the citation appropriate in the interest of justice.
I'm sure the vast majority of people who appeal a parking citation are trying to get their money back. This one is different. Our primary goal is to draw attention to a serious parking enforcement problem in the alley behind our homes. We, meaning most of the residents on our alley, agreed that the next person who inadvertently got a parking citation would go through the motions and appeal. This is part of our overall effort to try to solve this problem. I drew the "short straw", so to speak, and had to pay the price. Don't get me wrong, $65 is a lot of money to me, and I would like that money back also.
The first reason this citation is unfair is because it is so borderline. My car was the object of a prank police call about parking violations from an infamous dirty "problem" resident down the alley. Two SDPD patrol officers, [redacted] #[redacted and partner, responded to incident #[redacted] on 2009-8-15. The officers declined to cite my car. My car was not moved until after I received this citation two days later. I realize there is no such thing as "double jeopardy" in this situation. I submit, however, that this alleged transgression was so borderline and trivial that even a majority of SDPD officers did not feel it warranted a citation.
The other reason this citation is unfair, and this is the heart of our block's concern, is that we have suffered from an, extraordinarily unfair and extra-legal parking enforcement situation in the alley behind our homes. There are thirteen buildings on our block. Three of these building's landlords enjoy complete immunity from parking laws as a gift from the city of San Diego. They park cars entirely in violation 24/365. They routinely block us into our own alley. They are never cited, even when we call in complaints to PD Dispatch, as we have tried hundreds of times over the years. The rest of us, just feet away, suffer under a regime of strict and absolute zero-tolerance for even the most trivial transgressions 24/365. This is unfair.
We assume that there is a some "Work Quality Feedback Channel" between the Parking Administration and the Police Department. For example, what if a significant amount of citations were being issued in error at a certain location, and these were all being overturned on appeal? We assume the Parking Administration has a way of working with the Police Department to correct these kinds of problems. What we hope to accomplish here is to tap into this feedback channel regarding the terribly unfair and extra-legal parking enforcement situation behind our homes. We assume, and this is important, that this feedback channel may be used by the Parking Authority even if my citation is upheld.
The story of how these landlords got their complete immunity from parking laws is old, mysterious, and arcane. It all started in the 1980s, about ten years before the Parking Administration was established. Before that time the alleys in the Mission Beach area were just like all the other alleyways in the city. The alleyways were not red-lined, they were correctly signed with "No Parking in Alley" signs, and the no parking in alley law (SDMC 86.10.3), along with the no blocking garage law (CVC 22500e) were enforced fairly, vigorously and correctly.
This all changed one day, known in local lore as the Red Line Riot. An army of city workers descended on the neighborhood and painted all the alleyways with red-lines. The correct "No Parking in Alley" signs were all removed and sent to the landfill, and were replaced with the misleading "No Parking in Red-Zone" signs.
And this was when things went terribly wrong. About a dozen extremely wealthy and extremely well politically connected landlords were given "Secret Letters" granting them complete immunity from parking laws. Special areas, known to us locals as the Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones, were established for their use. And a special and highly improper non-enforcement protocol was established for their convenience. Now, a generation later, a lot of these properties have changed hands, but the problems created by these "Secret Letters" remain.
To those who are not native San Diegans this all probably sounds far-fetched. To me it is business as usual in my home town. Regardless, we understand that I the accused (so to speak), bear the burden of proof when contesting this citation. It would be easier to do so if we had subpoena powers, but I think we can do a pretty good job anyway. The existence of these Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones can be verified...
1) By examining the pavement. These Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones are created by the Traffic Division of the Engineering Department. They do this by making intentional errors and omissions in the red-lines.
In addition to our alley (the one south of [redacted]), these Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones presently exist at the east end of the alleys south of Portsmouth Ct, Queenstown Ct, Tangiers Ct, Toulon Ct, Verona Ct, Whiting Ct, the west end of the alleys south of Pismo Ct, Redondo Ct, Salem Ct, Sunset Ct, San Rafeal Place, Venice Ct, Whiting Ct, Zanzabar Ct, and all ends of both alleys south of Yarmouth Ct. These alleys were rebuilt in the 1990s. In every case, the cement correctly shows the city owned alley right-of-way, and the red-lines are incorrect and/or missing.
2) By examining the cars parked there. Every single car parked in these locations is in violation of the no parking in alleys law (SDMC 86.10.3). Most are also in violation of the blocking garage law (CVC 22500e). In our alley, every single satellite image found on the entire Internet, including those from historicalaerials.com going back to the 1980s, shows cars parked in violation here. I have attached examples from google.com, yahoo.com, nationalgeographic.com, and a couple I took myself, on 2009-8-17 (the same day and time, and in plain sight a few feet from where my car was cited) and 2009-8-22.
Please note, we are not trying to make the point that I got a ticket that one particular day, and these other cars parked just feet away didn't. We understand that this is not a valid excuse. We are trying to make the point that these Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones are never subject to any parking enforcement whatsoever, and haven't been for over two decades. While the rest of us, just feet away, are always subjected to strict and absolute zero-tolerance for even the most trivial of transgressions. This is not generally fair.
3) By asking the City's Engineering Department staff who are burdened with maintaining these areas. [redacted], [redacted], and [redacted] are all well aware of these Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones.
4) By asking the police who are frustrated because they are not allowed to do their job correctly. In fact, they tell us that their "hands are tied" in these Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones. SDPD Northern Division patrol officers [redacted] #[redacted] and [redacted] #[redacted] are both well aware of this problem.
5) By asking one of the "Secret Letter" holder's real estate agent. One of our "Secret Letter" landlords we have been cursed with is attempting to sell his building. He is openly advertising for all the world to see, via the Internet, that this house comes with "extra-legal" parking. He implicates both "the city" in general and the SDPD in particular in this scam. I have attached a copy of one of his ads.
6) By asking the "Secret Letter" holders themselves. A few of them are not at all shy in boasting about their special status. The landlords of 705 Salem Ct and [redacted], in particular, will surely corroborate that these Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones do exist.
Hopefully that should be enough to demonstrate our problem here. I would also like to add a note about the service I have received from the Parking Administration staff. The service, both over the phone and by email has been truly excellent. No kidding, I just wish my bank(s) would be even half as knowledgeable, polite and useful as these good people have been!