Fandango’s Friday Flashback — January 31

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 31st) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on January 31, 2012 in my old blog.

San Francisco Scofflaw

scoff·law [skawf-law, skof-] noun: a person who flouts the law, especially one who fails to pay fines owed.

I am a law abiding citizen. I’ve never been arrested and have, only a few times over the course of my nearly fifty years of driving, been caught going over the speed limit, the operative word being “caught.” Okay, I admit that I have a tendency to exceed the posted limit, but hell, I’m just trying to keep pace with everyone else.

I also have to go on record that, having spent close to half my time in San Francisco over the past two years, I rarely drive when in that city. I mostly walk and use public transportation to get around, only infrequently pulling my car out of the garage.

So I was quite surprised the other day to receive a very official looking letter from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). I opened it up to see large, bold lettering that read “Notice of Delinquent Parking Violation.” Yikes!

My first thought was parking violation…what parking violation? Then I looked closely at the delinquency notice, at the date and time of the violation, and realized that this alleged parking violation took place on the same morning I drove my wife to the dentist after she chipped a tooth. I dropped her off and was sitting in my car, in the driver’s seat, in a parking space on the street in front of her dentist’s office patiently waiting for her return.

8217BA78-75CD-4AC6-A82B-F08F0F4CB350After about 10 minutes, a San Francisco meter-maid pulled up next to me in one of those weird little traffic carts, like the one pictured above. She motioned for me to move my car. I was a little puzzled by why she was gesturing for me to move; I was parked at a legitimate parking space.

However, being the law abiding citizen that I am, I immediately complied. I drove the car about a half a block away to an alley between the dentist’s office and a motel parking lot, where I waited another 15 or so minutes until my wife’s appointment was over.

I gave this brush with the law no further thought until this aforementioned notice was delivered to my home back east. My alleged violation, the notice indicated, was that it was a designated street cleaning morning, meaning that parking on that particular side of the street on that particular morning was not permitted.

96871F18-E890-465E-8F9F-3CF1B6012C6AOkay, that explains why the meter-maid motioned for me to move, but since I promptly obeyed, it doesn’t explain why a ticket was supposedly issued, or why I was never presented with said ticket.

The letter said, “Our records show that you have failed to respond to the parking ticket listed herein.” Yeah, I failed to respond because no one ever gave me a friggin’ parking ticket! How was I supposed to respond to something I never received?

The only way to clear up this matter, the notice advised, would be for me to immediately remit a check for $95 — $55 for the parking violation plus a $40 “collection fee” for being “delinquent.” Seriously?

NFW, I said to myself. Without delay I sat down at my computer and composed a scathing letter in which I stated all of the relevant facts and put the SFMTA on notice that I would be vigorously appealing its invalid violation and outrageous fine.

Another Fine Mess

Speaking about outrageous fines, I am also contesting a $480 ticket…seriously, $480…I received in the mail for being caught on a traffic-cam in Millbrae, CA turning right on red without coming to a full stop. My wife and I were driving our daughter to the San Francisco airport and I somehow missed the airport exit. I got off at the next exit, ultimately made my way back to the freeway, and headed back to the airport…in time for our daughter to catch her flight.

Yes, I suppose I was a bit flustered, having missed the airport exit and not wanting my error to cause our daughter to miss her red-eye flight back to Boston. And yes, I did sort of roll through the red light as I made my right turn.

But the evidence will show, your honor, that I did slow down and I did look both ways before sort of cruising…slowly, of course…into the turn. And as Rayman (the Rain Man) Babbitt would say, “I’m an excellent driver.”

And so, as I did with the SFMTA, I put the Superior Court of California on notice that I would be vigorously appealing its violation and the even more outrageous fine.

The next notice I receive, being the scofflaw that I apparently am, will probably be a warrant for my arrest.

January 31, 2020 postscript. The Superior Court of California ultimate did waive the $480 fine for rolling through the red light, but the SFMTA did not waive the $55 parking ticket, although they did, at least, waive the $40 “delinquent collection fee.”

38 thoughts on “Fandango’s Friday Flashback — January 31

  1. Sadje January 31, 2020 / 4:25 am

    Speeding is fine as long as you don’t get caught.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. blindzanygirl January 31, 2020 / 5:19 am

    Sorry, I messed up! Can’t see!

    Liked by 1 person

      • blindzanygirl January 31, 2020 / 11:06 am

        Thanks. Goid! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. newepicauthor January 31, 2020 / 7:14 am

    I contested a red light traffic fine and I wrote out this three page letter about tyranny and red it in court. The judge seemed impressed, but in the end he directed me to pay the fine. I went across the hall to pay it and they told me it had not been processed yet and that I would get something in the mail, which I never got.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oneletterup January 31, 2020 / 7:32 am

    Those street cleaning days can be expensive as well as confusing. Glad you got at least some of your fine waived. My son’s Uhaul moving truck got towed in Boston last year on a street cleaning day even though he had a prominently displayed permit giving him permission to park. Breakable stuff in the truck slid around inside…and broke. Plus he had to pay to get the truck back. And stand guard while loading it while the tow truck lurked a block away waiting for him to leave. Or they would have towed it again!

    This flashback theme is quite an interesting trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. shail January 31, 2020 / 9:05 am

    Good that you could get one waived and part of the other one too. I had a similar experience when I was pulled up for parking in a …parking zone! Apparently there was a march happening in the main road and traffic was being re-routed, so I was supposed to go park elsewhere. I was supposed to divine that all by myself without any notice to the effect!

    Here’s mine from 2014:

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Marleen January 31, 2020 / 9:44 am

    I’m glad that all worked out okay enough for you.

    I have one annoying story about getting a ticket. I should’ve contested it and shown how wrong the officer who gave it to me was. I was too busy to think about the process of contesting a ticket at the time; I was a young mother of five. There had been a cop car parked at a stop sign. Sure, THEY get to do it. (I’ve always wanted to park at a traffic sign. Haven’t you?) I stopped behind the official car (completely). Then I carefully pulled around it, turning right, encountering no close calls with other vehicles or inconveniences with other people or anything like that.

    Well… that was wrong in his eyes. This was the first day of school, and that was the only intersection leading to the elementary school. I’d headed on to the one pathway into the school parking lot. Whoever that car was matched to had chosen the busiest possible time to indulge his or her craving to park at a four-way.* (I don’t know if the car belonged to the same guy who came at me. There were a number of cars around. Oh, by the way, he wanted me to stop in that one pathway into the school [and block everyone] for the duration of him giving me the ticket. I didn’t do it, of course. I made him wait a few seconds until I parked in the parking lot. Ruined his day… he didn’t get the full cop experience. You know? He actually scolded me for not stopping in the lane.) {Yeah, I’m glad I moved away from there. The officers where I am now are great. I had lived there happily for years, moved in when I was surrounded by ranches. I suppose they’d had to hire a lot people quickly to handle the growth of many new houses.}

    *It might’ve been a three-way; I don’t remember, for sure, if there was a stop on the way back out of the school area.

    [Note for those who may remember that I was a home educator: this was the first late-August after my last child had been born. I thought I’d see if it was helpful to send a few.]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen January 31, 2020 / 11:21 am

      Quote: There were a number of cars around.

      I mean that there were a few police cars clogging the whole situation. There were many ordinary cars (and plain-old mini-vans and so forth).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 31, 2020 / 11:31 am

      Sometimes those cops seem to lack human compassion.


  7. rugby843 January 31, 2020 / 10:49 am

    My husband was caught trying to keep up with every semi, saying, they’re not going to pull us over if we just stay with traffic….travelling across east TX, I would advise against that strategy. $$$

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Clever Girl January 31, 2020 / 11:46 am

    I remember parking in SF. Meter maids eat their young

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 31, 2020 / 9:41 pm

      😂 Yes, they take their jobs very seriously!


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