The Editor's Back Fence

Permit Parking Tickets Suspended until October 1? Don't Count on It.

Tuesday August 03, 2010 - 03:43:00 PM

No tickets are supposed to be given for expired residential parking permits in Berkeley until October 1, according to a notice on the city of Berkeley’s web site. 


How do I know this? Because I got a ticket, of course, though my expired permit is prominently displayed on my car's bumper. 


Or more accurately, because I got a ticket on Monday despite being told by a staffer at the city’s Finance Department last Thursday that since they were “running behind” no tickets were being issued until all orders could be filled. 


And why might they be running behind? It could have something to do with the fact that Friday was one of several furlough days for City of Berkeley staff, which I suspected, which is why I called to ask.  


So let’s get this straight. In order to save money, city offices are closed, but since they haven’t completed processing the residential parking permits, uncalculated amounts are being lost in undeposited permit fees and uncollected ticket fines. 


Except, of course, that all parking control officers don’t seem to have gotten the memo, so some of them are ticketing anyway. 


Which is why I got a ticket anyway. And many people who get these tickets won’t be aware that tickets are not supposed to be given, so they’ll just mail the fine to the third party collection agency, which undoubtedly will not inform them that they don’t have to pay up. 


What’s my remedy, I asked the lady at the Finance Department? If I take the $41 ticket down to some obscure office on Folger Street someone might cancel it. That’s about an hour of work…I guess my time is worth $41 an hour. 


Thanks a lot, City of Berkeley—you’re doing a heckuva job.