Daily Podcast: I Wouldn't Do That Job for a Million Bucks

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

So the D.C. DMV reckons the best way to cut lines is to remove the human element from the parking ticket adjudication process. In other words, as of December '08, D.C. drivers who want to bitch that they were busted unfairly can forget the whole "Here come da Judge!" routine. They've got to argue their case via letter or email. If I were a member of the PC police, I'd immediately point out that the move from oral to literary parking ticket protests puts minorities who can't read or write English at an immediate and dramatic disadvantage. If I were a nativist, I would point out that this policy will give non-literate minorities an immediate and dramatic advantage, as the government will no doubt provide an exemption from the WBO (written bitching only) ordinance or provide a savvy translator to craft the protest. In any case, as someone who tutored Freshman English at Tufts, I can tell you that D.C. is making a BIG mistake. The vast majority of the letters and emails flowing into the parking office will be illegible and incoherent. The ones that aren't will be pompous, long-winded and riddled with spurious arguments and outright deceit. They might as well just get a big ass rubber stamp (and electronic equivalent) that says "APPEAL DENIED" and stamp 599 out of 600 letters/emails with it. (You know, to be fair.) And mark my words, that's exactly what they'll do. And you know what? People will write back asking why their appeal was denied– even though there'll be text telling them not to– which they can't read, won't see or will ignore. How great is that?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
4 of 6 comments
  • Nopanegain Nopanegain on Nov 13, 2007

    Berkowitz: As someone who has probably obtained a parking ticket in the NYC area, how absolutely phenominal is it that we can petition our tickets via the mail? Anything that keeps me working and away from a traffic court at an ungodly hour is a godsend.

  • Nonce Nonce on Nov 13, 2007
    I can tell you that D.C. is making a BIG mistake. The vast majority of the letters and emails flowing into the parking office will be illegible and incoherent. I don't see the downside. They can just have a $9/hour intern stamp them "REJECTED" after taking 4 seconds to read it. And do the same for the follow-up complaints, too. I'm amazed I'm the first to reference the episode of The Simpsons where Homer goes to New York and appeals his parking ticket by calling an automated phone number. "Your appeal has been denied."
  • Taxman100 Taxman100 on Nov 13, 2007

    I've been to traffic court when the officer transposed a license plate number on an illegally parked car, and I had to explain the facts. It is quite entertaining the be part of the cattle call. Besides the shock of how people dress in sloppy, dirty clothes, and their horrible manners, it was kind of fun to listen to their moronic ramblings in front of the magistrate. Just fess up and pay the fine if you owe it. For some reason, I thought a court of law was important, so I wore a suit. That meant I, the magistrate, and a couple of attorney's were the only ones wearing such attire.

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Nov 13, 2007

    Take it from the guy who tried 15", 16" and 17" wheels (same circumference via change in aspect ratio) on the same car: that extra inch of tire adds significant ride comfort and kills handling. Turn-in turns mushy, grip goes down...but the ride sure gets nice! Its gonna make people think twice before speeding in a car/truck that can't handle it. And you don't have to pay for a pricey electronic nanny on a entry-level truck.