Temporary no parking rules are bad policy

Dear Editor:
I will add my voice to the cries of those who have been taken by the Hoboken temporary no parking regulations. I went to court, but I am convinced you cannot get justice for this in Municipal Court. However, I do have freedom of speech, so I can rant about it in the Hoboken Reporter and urge the City Council to take a look at the temporary no parking regulations.
It is bad policy. It gives anyone who gives the city 10 bucks the authority to execute parking laws and to have other people’s cars towed with no accountability, no way to assure that the laws are being executed fairly. The word of the person who pays 10 bucks is automatically taken over anyone contesting it.
I knew I was right and I had photographs to show that the signs were not posted according to the law. But the prosecutor assured me that I wouldn’t get my $80 towing charge back anyway. If I didn’t plead guilty, I would probably have to pay even more than the $40 fine and $20 court costs and still give up ever retrieving the $80 towing fee. First, I would have to set another court date. And in the extremely unlikely event that I was able to win my case, I would have to file with the state to get the towing charge back. So I threw in the towel, pleaded guilty and took the plea bargain. I had to lie to the judge and say I was guilty of doing something I didn’t do.
Here’s how it happened. I walked out to get my car one morning and it was gone. It had been parked near the front of my apartment and I had walked by it maybe 20 times in the previous 72 hours, the amount of time the signs are supposed to be posted before the regulation goes into effect. It’s very hard for me to believe I had missed seeing the signs for three days. But even if I had, they were not posted according to the regulation.
The signs were in front of both 925 and 927 Willow. I live at 929. The two signs are supposed to be for one building, each marking about 18 feet. In this case the signs were posted in front of two buildings, far more than 18 feet apart. My car was parked between 923 and 925, but the summons specified 927.
The towing company should have known better than to let two signs count for two and a half buildings. But they make money off that error, so there isn’t much motivation to stick to the letter of the law. And there is virtually no recourse for the victims, no accountability for anyone, so what’s to prevent an abuse? Every once in a while if you live in Hoboken you get hit and you get beat. That’s just part of living here.

David Cogswell

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group