The issue is parking extortion

Councilwoman Jean Quan at "Love Yo Mama&q...
Image by TheBlackHour.com via Flickr

Oakland Mayor-elect Jean Quan got her car booted after $1,000 in unpaid parking citations. Sounds like a lot of money and parking citations but it is not. Most fines are $50 and over and if you do not pay within a very few days, the fee easily goes to $85 and more. Oakland parking extortion law says that if you have 5 or more unpaid citations you can be booted.  Apparently, she had 10 or more tickets. Some people say she forgot about the citations because of being extremely busy with the mayoral campaign.

Luckily for her, she was able to pay immediately. According to Sanjiv, a news junkie and City Hall rebel who very often tells the truth but sometime exaggerates, “Quan used a pay-by-phone system to pay off more than $1,000 in parking fines and late fees, receiving a code that enabled her to remove the boot at once.”

Call me conspiracy theory junkie but as soon as I heard the news I thought, “someone is after her. Maybe someone mad at the election results.” Putting that aside, the issue here is that hundreds in Oakland get too many parking tickets because of current unjust and unnecessary parking regulations.

Like Quan, many Oaklanders and Oakland visitors have more important things to do. Or should they make it a priority to have enough quarters, a handy credit card, and alarm clocks? The hell with your meetings, doctor’s appointments, church service and the like, please put on top of your list “Must fulfill Parking expectations.”

Unlike Quan, many people lack the means to immediately pay the imposed fees and so if and when their car gets booted, their lives are seriously affected.

I hope the car I am driving does not get booted but if it does, I will immediately think that someone is after me. Someone mad at the fact that I am criticizing the extortion.

Putting that aside, the issue here is the way municipalities are handling parking regulations and citations; it is an extortion.