Sunday, March 22, 2009

No parking ticket? much is it worth to you?

My friend Yoni had an interesting encounter with a PEA (parking enforcement aide) in West Rogers Park last week:

Here is great story. I went to the bakery to buy bread [on Touhy or Devon Avenue]. When I came out there was a traffic cop writing a ticket for not paying the meter. I went over and apologized. She said to me that if I pay her $20, she wouldn't write me the ticket. I told her I didn't have cash. So she said I could write her a check, but I should sit in the car to do this. Then she gave me her name on a piece of paper to to write the check out to her. I was naive and stupid, so I did it. I came home told my father. He immediately drove me to the police station where we filed a claim and canceled the check. Once I got home, a detective called me up and said he is going to pull me out of school next week so I could identify this lady in a lineup. I am really excited, but I am still not sure what she did that was so wrong. She didn't have to give me a ticket?


I replied to Yoni in an email message and told him that agreeing to the bribe and writing a check was not stupid. Actually it was quite clever because now Yoni has a written record of the transaction. I added that if he had taken the ticket to parking court and told the administrative hearing officer the bribe story, (1) he had no proof; and (2) it didn't change the fact that he had not paid the meter. So he would still be out $50. Instead, the $50 is in his pocket, and the crooked PEA will likely be fired.

In terms of the parking ticket itself, PEA's are expected to write a certain number of tickets per hour/per shift. It is not illegal for her to ignore a parking violation (although once she starts a ticket, she must finish it). I explained that it is illegal for her to solicit and/or accept a bribe to ignore a violation.

While living in Rogers Park, I did park legally, for the most part. The neighborhood doesn't seem to be a hotbed of parking enforcement activity except for street cleaning. Violating a street cleaning parking ban, especially in the morning shortly after the ban begins, means an automatic ticket. I hope this PEA's behavior is an aberration and not standard operating procedure.

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