Wednesday, October 21, 2009

unnecessary bureaucracy

I've gotten two (blatantly, heinously invalid) motorcycle parking tickets here in Berkeley, despite the fact I almost always park in the free university motorcycle parking areas. The system is broken and the city exploits the grey area because it leads to lots of extra revenue when, after months of trying to fight it, the infuriated citizenry just gives up and pays.

1) The EZ Park system DOES NOT WORK for motorcycles. There is nowhere to put the parking receipt, and even when I have tape with me or stick it in some non-obvious strap somewhere, half the time it blows away, and is easily stolen in any case. That's why car drivers put them on their dashboards and not under windshield wipers. I can park hardly anywhere in downtown Berkeley as a result.

2) If a motorcycle parks between two occupied spaces, and one of those cars leaves and lets their meter expire, parking enforcement zealously decides to assign blame to the motorcycle, even if the motorcycle is parked directly in front of a DIFFERENT parking meter.

Please tell me who it is in elected office that can officially instate free parking in these situations until the city comes up with a sane, enforceable, consistent way to charge for motorcycle parking?

And these are motorcycle-specific problems. Then there's the infuriating city bureaucracy I'm sure you're all familiar with already... in particular, first-round appeals are automatically denied and the 2nd time you have to include a deposit for the full amount owed. Obviously they have no motivation to listen to you once they have your money...

Again, please tell me who is accountable?

It's insane that the biggest bureaucratic pain in my neck in life is a city system that is supposed to make everyone's lives easier by enforcing reasonable parking restrictions. And it's sick that that system has morphed, with no accountability, into a revenue maximizing program.

[It's afternoons like yesterday, involving four hours of bureaucratic hassle and running around begging for answers that will likely never get me off the hook for lots of money I don't owe, that make me suspicious of any government bureaucracy... How government has come to connote a nice harmless paternal safety net is beyond me.]