Sunday, April 20, 2008
St. Paul Towing Horror Story: Ticketed Before Any Snow Emergency Was Declared
Flickr.com photo, "St. Paul In Winter"
This highly believable account of downright fraudulent practices in the City of St. Paul comes from Abraham Bobst, who was apparently reached through the Humphrey Institute listserv. "Honest" Abe Bobst says...
A few years ago I was a student in St. Paul and therefore parked on the street. A large storm was coming, forecast to dump between six to eight inches.
So, as I studied that night, I had the radio on and the computer set to the station and page that would inform me when a snow emergency is officially declared. Immediately outside my window I had an unobstructed view of my car.
Before any flakes began to fall, I noticed two teenagers riding in a golf-cart and writing down the license plates of all the cars parked on the street, including mine. Finding this curious beyond description, I walked outside and inquired of the children what they were doing.
They informed me my car was in violation of the snow emergency (not yet declared) and they had already written me a ticket. (They were not cops, though, but worked for a for-profit towing company)
When I asked how they could justify the clear violation of due process, they responded they had already tagged four other blocks as per their instructions.
[Just say it, Abe. They were "only following orders."]
Still shaking my head, I moved my car to avoid the tow, successfully, and called the next week to challenge the ticket...which was never issued. They only wrote down my license number.
I was informed by a clerk that the ticket was in force, it was of no consequence that no ticket was actually written because it "could have blown away" and if I were inclined to challenge the ticket it would be my word against two of St. Paul's finest. (Cops, not teenagers)
A few months later, I moved away from St. Paul and have never lived there since and never intend on doing so in the future. Why St. Paul doesn't adopt the odd-even scheme of Minneapolis can only be explained by their profit motive, not service to the residents of St. Paul.