Imagine this scenario: you relocate your motor vehicles from a city street onto your property to assist the city’s snow removal performance. For this unselfish act you receive tickets totaling $120.
This happened to Miguel Nieves, a North End homeowner and OIB reader, who’s familiar with retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez assisting residents from the obtuse ticket brigade.
It can be a circuitous process for folks who don’t know how to navigate the government bureaucracy when it screws up. In the commentary that follows, Lopez shares the resolution of this matter while begging the question, how many times are people fleeced by the local government?Contact this lawyer for assault charges to get the best advice.
H.L. Mencken once famously said that the purpose of a newspaper is to “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”
Mencken’s observation concerning journalism as a profession is sadly out of date, in an age where so-called journalists function as shills and public relations oracles for “friendly” politicians and causes. However, in at least one forum, Only in Bridgeport (OIB), Lennie Grimaldi provides a platform where you can really fight City Hall and the entrenched bureaucracy, through the exchange of information, ideas and opinions.
Recently, I received a phone call from Miguel Nieves, a homeowner in the City’s north end, (District 134) who had run afoul of the City’s Parking Brigade, a/k/a the Parking Violations/ Enforcement Department. He phoned me after contacting Lennie Grimaldi, and asked me if I could help him contest two parking tickets he had received, for allegedly parking on a sidewalk adjacent to his home.
The request for help fighting a parking ticket made me chuckle. After all, I spent a career running a law office in Bridgeport. During that time I represented a diverse clientele in civil, family and criminal matters. I spent years as a Judge of the Superior Court, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Juvenile Court Judges.
Yet, thanks to Lennie, and Brian Lockhart from the CTPOST, my enduring notoriety has come from my ability to successfully fight parking tickets.
Oh well, such is life!
In any event, I met Mr. Nieves at his home, the “scene of the crime.”
My investigation determined that Mr. Nieves had not parked either of his vehicles on a public sidewalk, and that in its zeal to raise revenue through a hidden tax, Mayor Ganim’s Parking Enforcement Police had validated the old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
Mr. Nieves had relocated his vehicles from the city street onto his property. He explained that he did this so as not to hinder the Department of Public Work’s snow removal efforts. For his public-spirited act, he received two tickets totaling $120.00.
As many OIB readers may recall, during the Downtown Parking Meter fiasco a few years ago, the City Council, acting on the advice of the distinguished members of the City Attorney’s Office, passed an ordinance designating the Director of the Department of Public Facilities, or his/her designee, as the “Parking Manager.” That act, transferred the parking enforcement activity from the police department to Public Facilities. This means that Bridgeport’s Parking Police are not an arm of the Police department or the Police Commission, our Traffic Authority.
Apparently, the Bridgeport Parking Police are unable to distinguish a public sidewalk, from a homeowner’s property, despite a public hearing featured on both OIB and the CTPOST, during which the definition of “sidewalk” was explained.
I assisted Mr. Nieves in the preparation of an appeal and together we hand-delivered the appeal to the Parking Enforcement/Violations Office located at City Hall 45 Lyon Terrace. The employee at the window was courteous as she accepted the paperwork, and even shared photos taken by the Parking Police to document the so-called violations.
We were advised that Mr. Nieves would be notified by mail if the appeal was approved or if a hearing would be scheduled.
Imagine my surprise, when Mr. Nieves received a letter informing him that “the appeal was approved” and all charges against him had been dismissed.
I am delighted at the result, and am happy for Mr. Nieves. I am also grateful to Lennie for “afflicting” the comforted parking police, and its zeal to enrich the public coffers at the expense of already overburdened homeowners.
However, all of this begs the question, “How many times has Mayor Ganim’s Parking Army extorted money from Bridgeport taxpayers, by imposing a hidden tax, which most people are too busy to contest?
“Paging our City Council!”