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Oakland parking problem: Rebecca Kalplan should explain this one

The Oakland Parking problem of high ticketing rates, high parking ticket prices, and aggressive parking enforcement practices in low income areas continues. This blogger just received an email from Nick Mitchell, a PhD. candidate at UC Santa Cruz, that he asked me to print in full. Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who's defended Oakland's parking practices very loudly in the recent past, should read and explain this one.

I also have a somewhat nightmarish story about Oakland parking drama. I live in West Oakland, and I love my neighborhood, but the parking ticket situation is starting to get absurd. Last year, my registration sticker got stolen. I didn't notice this until I received a ticket for not displaying it. Never mind the fact that my registration was fully up to date. Having one's sticker stolen, I guess, is a ticketable offense, and one that resulted in my receiving $70 tickets on two different weeks.

The thing is that the CA DMV is slow and I work every day. I simply don't have the time to stand in line and get the sticker replaced if I want to work enough to make rent. This means that I wasn't able to get a replacement sticker within the meager and arbitrary-seeming 3-week period in which one can contest these tickets (why only three weeks?). I filed a police report so that I would have official documentation that my registration was stolen, which I included in a letter to the City of Oakland. But when I applied to the DMV by mail for a replacement sticker, I never received one at all! Eventually, I had to reluctantly use one of my holidays and go to the DMV myself to get a sticker replacement. By that time, when I applied to have the parking tickets cancelled, I was told that I had contested them too late, and that now my fines had increased to nearly $200 for each of them. They now amount to something like $249 each.

This is absurd.

Effectively, what is happening here is that the City of Oakland is punishing me not only having been robbed, but also punishing me again for the sheer inefficiency of the state bureaucracy! I'm a graduate student and don't have the nearly $500 that these tickets now amount to. This essentially means that the DMV is now preventing me from registering my car! Notwithstanding the irony of this all, if I start receiving tickets for not displaying my 2010 registration sticker next month, the snake will truly have bitten its Kafkaesque tail. Oakland needs to find a better way to solve its financial crisis than punishing people who have done nothing wrong.

From what's recalled in this space, Councilmember Kaplan thinks parking problems like this are just part of the process. It's OK, as long as the City's budget receives parking revenue.

Raising the sales tax is a better and more efficient way to go than this practice. Moreover, another source reports that the City of Oakland's actually losing money when compairing parking enforcement costs versus revenue collection.

Councilmember Kaplan, what say you on that?

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