By all means, enforce parking, but it’s not a licence to write fiction

Today was a good reminder why we cannot trust a foreign company to look after our parking, and why things need to be brought back under council control.
   Parking enforcement is not about profit. Karen was unduly issued with a parking ticket in a P5 space after hours. And I received one today. You can figure out what the allegation was in my response to the WCC’s Parking Enforcement department.

Wellington, October 7, 2010

Parking Enforcement
Wellington City Council
PO Box 24-344
Manners Street
New Zealand

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Re. Infringement notice 84836907 for registration FJJ336, BMW 330d, issued the 7th inst. at 2.33 p.m.

I refer to the above infringement notice, which alleges I was parked at Kelburn Parade from 10.19 a.m. to 2.33 p.m. today.
   This is a great work of fiction.
   I enclose an excerpt of my email outbox, marked (1). Our office works on GMT, which is 13 hours behind New Zealand daylight time. This shows that I was still in my office in Rongotai at 10.30 a.m.
   I also enclose a screen shot of my Twitter account, marked (2). These Tweets were sent from my office, and shows that I was still at my office ‘4 hours ago’. This screen shot was taken at 3 p.m., i.e. I was still in Rongotai at 11 a.m. Indeed, one of the Tweets refers to my arriving at Victoria University at 11.40 a.m.
   In fact, I did not arrive at Victoria University till noon, after which I sent another message which appears on my Facebook (‘3 hours ago’). A screen shot of that is also attached, marked (3).
   I have one witness at Scots College who can confirm that I was at their reception at 11.40 a.m. I could not possibly have arrived in Kelburn till 11.55 a.m. at the earliest.
   I have two witnesses who can confirm that at 1.45 p.m. I left them to move my car as my two-hour slot was approaching an end.
   From 12 to 1.45 p.m. today I was parked at the last (bottom) car park on the eastern side of Kelburn Parade. A woman in a dark grey 1990 BMW 5-series vacated that spot.
   From 1.45 p.m., I drove around Kelburn Parade looking for a new parking.
   From 1.50 to 2.40 p.m. I was parked at the position referred to in your notice, at around 12 m north of one P120 sign, after a motorist in a white 1985 Honda Civic hatchback vacated that spot.
   In fact, your enforcement officer (I presume the same one, no. 188, who issued this notice) saw me just after 1.50 p.m. I walked past him as he was issuing a notice to a car (it may have been a brown 1992 Nissan Sentra five-door—I did not intentionally register this) parked in a P5 space outside Victoria University. Your own records will confirm this and his whereabouts. I made a comment to him about how lucky I was to have moved my car in time …
   I believe, therefore, that the ticket has been issued due to an innocent error …

   The last paragraph is my being nice. Remember, the officer is innocent till proved guilty, and that judgement is not for me to make.
   But to outright lie on a ticket to say I had been there when I could not possibly have been—that’s one problem we have with parking in Wellington today.
   It undermines the actual good work done by many wardens who are there to honestly and fairly enforce the law.
   Maybe the culture of Dennis Kozlowski still remains with some Tyco employees.
   What if I never Tweeted? Or had no witnesses? Or never saw the parking warden? Or could provide circumstantial evidence? It’d be my word against his. And that’s not a good deal for the ratepayer.
   If you can’t deal with the city’s debt, then rob from the people. Not the most creative way—but again, a reactive way.

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