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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    San Diego
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Selective Parking Enforcement in San Diego

    Folks, I know that it isn't usually good etiquette to post back-to-back in the same thread. But there has been breaking news (so to speak). I got a curious letter today from the Parking Administration, that I have a few questions about. Please note the dates. The letter reads...

    Notice Date: 4/21/2010 [...]

    ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING DECISION- LIABLE
    At the Administrative Hearing conducted 05/11/2010, the Hearing Officer reviewed the information you submitted and has found you liable for the citation. The following details the findings of the hearing:

    The information/evidence provided is not sufficient to support a finding that the citation is invalid or was not properly issued. [...]

    If you do wish to further contest the citation, you may appeal this decision to the San Diego County Superior Court. Your request must be postmarked within 30 days form the date on this notice [...]

    My questions are...

    1. Does the public really have have no chance at these hearings? (LOL)
    2. Do I tie (get my $65 back) on a technicality?
    3. If not, do I still have the same deadline, 2010-5-11 at 2pm?
    4. Do I need to do something so my Superior Court option does not expire in 30 days, on 2010-5-21?

    I got a pretty good idea what happened also... considering the fine advice we received ITT we decided to mail in a nominal response for our review instead of having me appearing in person. I emailed the nice folks at the Parking Admin and asked if that was OK. The answer was "yes", but the same day this "form letter" response was generated. Like I said, very curious.

    And to clear up couple of things about these "zones" in general. We call them "zones", which is short for Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones. We don't know if there is an "official name" used by the city workers. The phrase we have heard most over the years is that these areas are "not patrolled".

    And the enabling city department is not the Police Department. The enabling department is the Engineering Department. As I have tried to explain, Northern Division (patrol) is not involved. Back in the mid 1980s, at the same time *almost* all the alleys were red-lined, Traffic Division (parking enforcement) subtly and incorrectly changed their instructions for alleys only in the Mission Beach area. The result is that here, Parking Enforcement enforces "the paint", everywhere else in the city they enforce "the law".

    These "secret letters" effectively instruct the Engineering Department to do what it takes, by making intentional errors and omissions in the red-lines to actively create these "zones". While this long forgotten and subtlety incorrect policy change made by PD Traffic a generation ago ensures that these "zones" remain "no enforcement" areas. There is no reason to believe anyone in the PD *today* is actively involved in any malfeasance.

    Rank&File Transportation Department (Streets Division) and Engineering Department workers tell us that these honoring these letters is a "political decision" above their bosses heads. We know that setting up this peculiar "zone" system was a political decision at the time.

    The creation myth for these "zones" is that Rank&File police officers were so mad at being effectively "put in the middle" by this situation that PORAC got involved, and that the "not patrolled" status of these "zones" was the result. Back in the day, we heard this story going around. I was told this story by my best friend, and his roommate, who claimed they heard it from there Representative. They were in a different bargaining unit however (Sheriff). It seems much more likely that PD command was, at the time, mad about being "put in the middle" but were forced, as city employees, to go along with this political decision anyway.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
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    20,594

    Default Re: Selective Parking Enforcement in San Diego

    Quote Quoting Unk Diego
    View Post
    1. Does the public really have have no chance at these hearings? (LOL)
    If you are in violation of the section, no, not really. As I recall, you were not contesting the fact that you were in violation, only that the enforcement was not equal. If that is so, then the hearing panel or officer have no choice but to find you liable (i.e. guilty).

    2. Do I tie (get my $65 back) on a technicality?
    Huh?? There is no tie.

    3. If not, do I still have the same deadline, 2010-5-11 at 2pm?
    4. Do I need to do something so my Superior Court option does not expire in 30 days, on 2010-5-21?
    Your note indicated that a hearing was held on 5/11/2010 ... that date has not yet come. Is THAT the "technicality" of which you wrote?

    I would appeal the decision as it says - postmarked within 30 days of the date of the notice which appears to be 4/21/10.

    I emailed the nice folks at the Parking Admin and asked if that was OK. The answer was "yes", but the same day this "form letter" response was generated. Like I said, very curious.
    Or, perhaps, very efficient.

    The phrase we have heard most over the years is that these areas are "not patrolled".
    I used to hear that, but that did not mean they could not be patrolled, only that they were not regularly patrolled. However, there really wasn't any place that I recall that WAS "regularly" patrolled except by parking enforcement.

    And the enabling city department is not the Police Department. The enabling department is the Engineering Department. As I have tried to explain, Northern Division (patrol) is not involved. Back in the mid 1980s, at the same time *almost* all the alleys were red-lined, Traffic Division (parking enforcement) subtly and incorrectly changed their instructions for alleys only in the Mission Beach area. The result is that here, Parking Enforcement enforces "the paint", everywhere else in the city they enforce "the law".
    Unfortunately for you, enforcement is a political decision and to change the policy or practice will require a political solution. Any violations that occur are still valid.

    Most rank and file officers are not in the business of issuing parking cites unless told to by their supervisors or in response to radio calls. They also wouldn't care a whole lot what some politician or parking enforcement guy said about enforcement zones. If the officer wanted to cite for the violation, he would ... if he did not want to cite, he wouldn't. How it was in the 80s, I couldn't say ... that was before my time.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Selective Parking Enforcement in San Diego

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    Huh?? There is no tie.
    Well actually, there is no win. A win would be the PA paying me $65. A tie or "push" is me getting my own money back. And a loss is what is going to happen.

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    Your note indicated that a hearing was held on 5/11/2010 ... that date has not yet come. Is THAT the "technicality" of which you wrote?
    Yes, I thought it was pretty funny. This is obviously an innocent mistake. I just copied the emailed I sent to the PA as indented part of my last post, except for the additional note "Once again, thank you for your fine service! Seriously, the ladies I have talked to on the phone, and yourself via email, have all been quick, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful." I am 100% confident that the PA staff will fix anything that needs fixing. If the Superior Court really wants to hold us to this innocent mistake by the PA that's OK too... we don't waste $25.

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    Unfortunately for you, enforcement is a political decision
    .

    Sigh. You are correct, of course. What we are doing is going through the channels and the departments, basically doing our due diligence. And we have had some success. Without explanation, some of the intentionally and improperly missing red-line appeared one day. (We think Streets, who just like the PD are "put in the middle", just went ahead and did it. But that is 100% speculation). The idea is to very nice, very patient, never pester, and just keep "escalating" to the political level.

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    Most rank and file officers are not in the business of issuing parking cites unless told to by their supervisors or in response to radio calls. They also wouldn't care a whole lot what some politician or parking enforcement guy said about enforcement zones. If the officer wanted to cite for the violation, he would ... if he did not want to cite, he wouldn't. How it was in the 80s, I couldn't say ... that was before my time.
    Well, it was true in the 1980s, it was true when you served here, and it is true today. I was chatting with a Northern Division command officer a few days ago and he said the same thing. And we agree. We don't want our patrol officers being distracted by parking. He said they were or might lose almost 300 patrol positions due to budget cuts. We all know that Patrol officers are budgeted and staffed for other duties, some of which, rarely, are life and death duties.

    Once again, sir, thank you for taking the time to respond and help us out!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Selective Parking Enforcement in San Diego

    For all of you out there wondering how the Lawless Chaotic Parking Zones of Mission Beach Saga is doing... We decided to turn in a written response for the Administrative Hearing level of appeal. The reason is mainly because we want to wait for as long as possible before deciding to spend the extra $25 to go to court. An in person hearing would have been a good chance to practice my public speaking skills regarding this problem. But we don't want an immediate summary judgment right now, which we could easily get.

    A draft of my response is below. Any suggestions are welcome! Remember, we are just submitting this as a "placeholder" to keep our option of going to court, and getting some possible discovery powers, open. We don't expect to win this appeal (although I personally hope we do, I could use my $65 back!).

    May 10, 2010

    City of San Diego
    Parking Administration
    1255 Fifth Ave
    San Diego, CA
    Re: Citation [redacted]

    Sirs,

    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 and http://www.sandiego.gov/parking/citations/appeal.shtml respectively...

    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!

    Thank you,

    [redacted]

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,948

    Exclamation Re: Selective Parking Enforcement in San Diego

    Please don't address letters to "Sirs". If you don't know that name of the official in charge then address the letter to "Sir or Madam", or "To Whom it may Concern".
    You also switch back and forth between I and we, and our and my - and that makes you sound a little schizophrenic.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Selective Parking Enforcement in San Diego

    Quote Quoting 525601minutes
    View Post
    Please don't address letters to "Sirs". If you don't know that name of the official in charge then address the letter to "Sir or Madam", or "To Whom it may Concern".
    You also switch back and forth between I and we, and our and my - and that makes you sound a little schizophrenic.
    Thank you sir for your kind suggestions. I corrected the "Sirs", and got it down to one "I". I also shortened things considerably, and put the verification details into an attachment. I'll be back around Halloween, after I lose this review, to say I lost this review.

    Again, thanks folks for the good suggestions and information!

    [...]
    Sir or Madam,

    I'm appealing this citation on the grounds that the parking enforcement situation in this alley is so completely improper and so outrageously unfair that none of the citations issued here have any legitimacy. Everyone on our block sincerely hopes that the Parking Authority will exercise it's prerogative to investigate this situation, and then work with the Engineering and Police Departments to correct it.

    To explain why this situation is completely improper, a little history is necessary. Back in the 1980s the following happened in the Mission Beach area only...

    * All the alleys and Bayside Lane were red-lined.
    * A very few special landlords were given secret letters, instructing the Engineering Department to make intentional errors and omissions in the red-lines adjacent to their properties.
    * The instructions for our Parking Enforcement officers were changed from enforcing the law, to "Enforce the Paint". The unpainted areas are now simply ignored. No parking laws have been enforced in these areas for decades.

    Three of the landlords on our block hold these secret letters. They park anywhere they want, including cars completely in the alley 24/365. At their whim they block the entire alley. They tamper with the red-lines. We have called in complaints to SDPD dispatch several hundred times over the decades. We never get any response. When someone else legally parks in what they shamelessly call "their spaces" all hell breaks loose. The secret letter holders will threaten, harass, stalk, vandalize, and unlawfully tow anyone who even questions "their spaces". They sometimes have continued to harass the neighborhood for months.

    We see cars just a handful of feet away, parked in flagrant violation 24/365, and they literally cannot get a citation. They harass us and block our alley, and there is nothing we can do. And they don't even need "their spaces". They rent them out to tourists and line their pockets with the cash. This situation is so outrageously unfair because the rest of us are subjected to strict zero-tolerance 24/365 and are nit-picked about the most trivial of transgressions.

    This story about the secret letter holders probably sounds far-fetched. However, we know of six ways that this story can be easily verified. If you would care to investigate please see the attachment. Thank you for your consideration!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Selective Parking Enforcement in San Diego

    Well Halloween game early, and I got a summary "Liable" 2010-5-13 on my Administrative Hearing. So, I have the option of paying $25 more and going to Superior Court. There is zero chance of winning in court also, so the only purpose would be some cheap discovery and subpoenas. The deadline is 2010-6-12. So I have questions about these processes...

    This might be better asked in a different message forum. If so, any suggestions which one?

    I assume that it will actually cost more than $25, but I could be wrong. Would I have to pay additional court costs, or copy costs, to discover documentation? Would I have to pay additional court costs, the cost of service, or witness appearance fees to have people subpoenaed?

    What kind of documents and what people can I reasonably ask the court to have produced or appear?

    We are interested in the Engineering documents related to street painting in our alley and similar situated alleys. Citation and Impound Towing statistics in our alley and similar. SDPD Enforcement policy and instructions in our alley and similar alleys. SDPD Enforcement policy and instructions elsewhere in the city. Asking if there are relevant unwritten policy or instructions in the two departments. There is no one we would want to subpoena at this time.

    Assuming we don't have anyone we want to subpoena, we would just give up and cancel the Superior Court appearance after I received our documentation, so as not to waste everyone's time, including mine.

    Once again, thanks folks for your help!

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