7.22.2008

Mom-101 vs Brooklyn Heights Parking Violations Department: I've got you now.

This morning, Nate headed out at 7:50 to move our car. I think of it as the alternate side of the street parking dance: In NYC, there are generally 1-2 days a week that require you to get your car to the other side of the street or risk a tow. We once learned the hard way, when we arrived at 8:05 to a missing car, that our precinct is notoriously ticket-happy and quick to call the tow trucks. We're currently contesting a tow from a perfectly legal space three months ago. Do you know how hard it is to prove your car was not blocking the pedestrian ramp besides, "trust me, I'm not a moron"?

For several years I've suspected that there is a pattern of crossing the legal line in order to keep ticketing high in Brooklyn Heights. Now I am sure of it.

This morning, Nate arrived well before 8am, and returned back home at 8:03, wide-eyed, panting. "Our car is gone."

At 8:05 we called the police. The tow pound. The marshalls. No sign of our car. I phoned our insurance company and reported it stolen around 8:30. I twittered it around 9.

Somewhere in between, I sobbed furiously, wondering how the hell we'll be able to head down to North Carolina to see Nate's family in two days, with money insanely tight, and an insurance policy that doesn't cover us for rentals. Let alone the two car seats in the back that are worth more than the $200 of personal goods you're entitled to claim. What's that, like a few CDs? Oh wait, those aren't covered either.

Not a great morning.

At 10:00 Nate tried the tow pound one more time, just to be sure. Indeed, they had the car.

He raced to the pound (taxi: $10), retrieved the ticket, paid $185 for the tow.

The time on the ticket?

8:20 AM

The time on Nate's phone documenting his first call to the police? 8:05 AM.

NY Times: Expect a phone call. Officer Ford, consider yourself on notice.


50 Comments:

Blogger Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

So sorry to hear about your troubles. Hope you get justice soon! Makes me glad that I live in Wisconsin...

7/22/08, 12:48 PM  
Blogger Mom24 said...

UNBELIEVABLE! Keep us updated. That is really horrendous. I hope you get satisfaction and resolution.

7/22/08, 12:58 PM  
OpenID kitten22481 said...

This makes me so glad I live in the middle of nowhere

7/22/08, 1:00 PM  
Blogger canape said...

Good evidence is so rewarding.

7/22/08, 1:00 PM  
Blogger Aubrey said...

Boy, if that guy's 15 minutes off, there's probably a whole bunch of people on your street in your shoes, too.

7/22/08, 1:17 PM  
Blogger ALI said...

well you most definately will win, but here's the thing, will you be compensated in any way for the stress of finding your car gone, the time spent tracking it down and the cost of paying just to get the car back?

7/22/08, 1:26 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

One more reason to keep an eye on the fuzz. Where is Serpico when you need him? Stick it to the man Mom-101, stick it good.

7/22/08, 1:32 PM  
Blogger Astrogirl426 said...

Yay, evidence! I'm unexplainably giddy for you right now.

They didn't know who they were messing with, did they? Big mistake, Brooklyn Heights Parking Violations Department. Big mistake.

7/22/08, 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Mandy said...

We Vancouverites struggle similarly with parking meters, parking gods and the tow truck demons.

Best of luck in your fight!

7/22/08, 1:37 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

That is outrageous. I'm passing this post on to my husband at Fox 5.

Out-FREAKIN-Rageous.

7/22/08, 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Motherhood Uncensored said...

Dear Officer Krupke:

New York is on Eastern Time. Not Central.

What a bunch of asshats.

7/22/08, 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

okay, that's just too much drama in the morning after an insanely estrogen-filled weekend.

DAMMIT. Sorry it happened but so glad it didn't get stolen. :-(

7/22/08, 2:19 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Those SOBs! See, that's why people don't like cops. They're always trying to mess with people who haven't done anything wrong, but *never* seem to bother the people who deserve it.

http://notesfromthesleepdeprived.blogspot.com

7/22/08, 2:28 PM  
Blogger Lora said...

Jerks. Get 'em.

Brooklyn parking stories are the only ones that make me feel good about my current South Philadelphia parking situation.

My current South Philadelphia parking situation = suckass.

So, um, thank you?

7/22/08, 2:37 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Arrrrrrrrrrrrggggg. I hate that crap. Fight it all the way I say!

7/22/08, 2:39 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Wendy, just to be clear, I don't have a problem at all with cops as a whole. Just the traffic cops in this particular precinct.

7/22/08, 2:43 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

We only have to do the parking dance once per month. It's invariably on a day when one of us has to stay home with a sick child. We'll be sitting there in our jammies with snot trails from said child all over when we hear the street cleaner round the corner. If we're lucky. If we're not lucky, we look out the window to see the ticket being written. But at least we are in violation when we are ticketed.

Good luck - I'm sure all the people of Brooklyn Heights appreciate your moxie.

7/22/08, 3:04 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

Reminds me of when my landlord tried fining me a $50 late fee because my rent was late. Only I had this little thing called ONLINE BANKING and they had cashed it three days before they said they got it. Pffft.

7/22/08, 3:19 PM  
Blogger pixie sticks said...

that, my friend, is called a righteous rage. Totally entitled.

7/22/08, 3:23 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Misterpie has had the same issue here in Toronto with a ticket issued with the time marked as a good ten minutes after he had gone down to move the car (we have the same alternate side thing going on). Now he mutters about S. Wong under his breath every time her sees a parking guy. And likewise, how do you prove that you were out there when you were? Still, at least it was just a ticket, not a nearly $200 expense and good chunk of time. I would SO be calling about that one!

7/22/08, 4:14 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Oh dear! As someone who has paid half her lifetime earnings on parking tickets, I can't wait to hear about how this unfolds.

7/22/08, 4:26 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I sure hope it all works out! Hard to fight the big guys sometimes but it's well worth it!!!

7/22/08, 4:31 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I guess I did sound a little like a criminal "just trying to get away with it all" in my previous comment. Totally not intended. I didn't mean all the great guys and gals out there protecting us. I mean traffic cops in general in this area. In a small town like I'm in they always seem to ticket a person over for doing 5 miles over the limit or forgetting your blinker when you're the only car on the road. But they're never there when some drunk almost runs you and your kids off the road.

I've never had to deal with the kind of cops preventing crime, except on the level that I live a safe area because of them. Hope I didn't offend anyone.

7/22/08, 5:15 PM  
OpenID madgetastic said...

Stick it to 'em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7/22/08, 5:21 PM  
Blogger Kathy from NJ said...

You need to send this post to Taffy Phillips (not real sure of her name) at 7 on your side.

7/22/08, 5:21 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

Outrageous.

Just outrageous.

7/22/08, 5:59 PM  
Blogger prescott said...

Chicago parking enforcement is just as bad -- they're especially boot & tow happy. I once got a ticket because my license plate tags had expired the day before (didn't even know that was something you could be ticketed for on a parked car), and the cop came back AN HOUR LATER and gave me another ticket for the same violation.

You deserve a lime popsicle.

7/22/08, 6:46 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh Prescott, that happened to me too. We went away for one night and came back to two tickets. Aweeeeeesome.

7/22/08, 7:02 PM  
Blogger Alleah said...

I would be livid!
I totally believe it though since something similar happened to my brother and myself while he was at UCLA where you pretty much have to deal with all kinds of parking issues as well. However, in my case I was there to catch the parking ticketer in the act! Ha!
This ticketer person had been targeted my bro for awhile and writing him tickets all the time for his scooter. Well I happened to be waiting for Little Brother outside his place as he ran up to get something, while his scooter was only just parked in front in the 20 min parking.
Mr. parking guy comes up and starts to write the ticket for being over the 20 minutes. I ran right up to him and said, "that has only been there for 5 minutes! you need to just put your little pen and ticket pad down right now jackass" (don't think I actually said it exactly that way but wish I would have).
I think this was before cell phones and so it was a staredown until bro came down from his dorm between the guy and me. Luckily bro came down in time. It was sweet justice.

7/22/08, 7:50 PM  
Blogger TONYA said...

Wow. That makes me so mad

Great piece of evidence. Go get 'em.

7/22/08, 8:29 PM  
Anonymous tali said...

Gosh, that really sucks. Good luck.

To add to the story-fest: I once got a ticket on my car on my college campus for having an expired permit. The date of the ticket? June 27. My permit? Said "expires June 30" right on it! I took pictures, complained, and didn't have to pay =)

I hope yours works out too.

7/22/08, 8:30 PM  
Blogger blueschild said...

Holy crap! Ugggghhhh. That would make me so frustrated. At least you got it back in time to travel... and can hopefully dispute it successfully:)

7/22/08, 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Oooooh, I love that you have evidence. Even if it takes forever, it's so sweet when you're right, they're wrong and you can prove it.

Gosh, it only took us 6 months to prove to Enterprise that we hadn't kept a van for 10 extra days (rather than a weekend). Thank heavens it was on the same credit card we used at the layover, at the parking lot when we got home and at the Chinese restaurant where we ate that night (you know, about 2500 miles away). And there were the cell phone records too. I was going to fight that 'til I died. (We had dropped it at their early morning drop-off, since no one was staffing it at 5 am -- obviously they have a not too honest employee or two there).

7/22/08, 9:41 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Wow, they work fast! Either that, or someone forgot to change their watch for daylight savings. It does happen (hanging head in shame).

7/22/08, 10:24 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Evil bitch-whore ticket-demons must die.

7/23/08, 12:07 AM  
Anonymous dana said...

Oh...that is farcking bullshit. And even though Ethan, Zach and Emma's mom is glad she lives in Wisconsin, I'm here to say we have happy-assed ticketing officers where I live, too.

Every time I park in the public lot at the library, I make certain not to stay longer than the two hour time limit. One hour and a half, TOPS. Ticket every time. Suckage.

I hope you win this case. Can't wait to read what happens.

7/23/08, 12:22 AM  
Blogger Shay said...

You've got to be kidding!

For once I am actually happy I live in BFE and we don't have to pay for parking- even "downtown".

I hope you make 'em eat crow!

7/23/08, 12:26 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Go get 'em, woman. We've got your back.

Thinking about how long it takes to actually call a tow truck, and then hook up and tow away a car, I am wondering whether the officer wrote that ticket at 7:20.

7/23/08, 3:04 AM  
Blogger Mahlers On Safari said...

It was Officer Brown, in the Precient, with the tow truck...

7/23/08, 4:41 AM  
Blogger HeatherPride said...

What an enormous amount of CRAP! So sorry for your hassle! I hope the news picks your story up - I'm sure they could find plenty more people to rat the police out.

7/23/08, 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check it out, it will make you feel better about your tow and parking "violation"
http://www.aetv.com/parking-wars/

7/23/08, 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Rat bastards. I saw your tweets and when that first one came across, I got a little queasy myself. I can't imagine how you were feeling.

Go get 'em, Liz.

7/23/08, 1:22 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

That is classic, and I come from a place where a guy who had died in his car only had his body noticed after a few days worth of parking tickets has collected on his windshield. No joke, welcome to upstate NY!

7/24/08, 9:09 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Ack! Sounds like a tow truck scam ripe for investigative reporting.

7/25/08, 2:23 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

I feel your pain...got a $200 ticket last week in the parking lot at Starbucks...that's the most expensive latte I've ever purchased. Have fun down South! Best, Beth (surprise, I actually commented!!!)

7/25/08, 7:39 AM  
Blogger Amelia Sprout said...

Yeah, I believe it. I used to live in Cobble Hill and it was the reason my brother got a free car.

7/26/08, 12:01 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Have you considered parking in Cobble Hill this summer? Alt side is suspended while they put up new signs. It was HEAVEN for the 2 months it was suspended in Park Slope this summer.

7/28/08, 5:00 PM  
Blogger Nicole Feliciano said...

I too have been subject to the ruthlessness of "the man" good luck and I hope you have your day in court!

7/29/08, 10:35 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

This looks like the makings of a investigative piece on the nightly news! I'm glad you have the evidence to prove the tow truck scam.

7/29/08, 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

You go for them Girl. My Husband was ticketed for parking just after buying a new (to us) car. He had stopped to put his seat back after inadvertantly putting his knees right into the dash, so stopped not parked. Ticket took SIX months to arrive. He went all the way with it and won. So you know it can be done and got the parking enforcements changed. Good luck in getting your money back and proving the point. Alex - Manchester, UK

7/31/08, 2:20 PM  

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