Wednesday, July 02, 2014

"Parking control officers," quotas, and parking tickets

The most expensive parking tickets in the country

From a story in today's SF Examiner (SF parking citation officer ‘going rogue’ with unwarranted tickets):

When the parking control officer saw them, [Gary]Malec said, she made a U-turn and "sped away on the street, reckless, and she didn't come around the Friday after that. She's, like, hiding or something." It was only when this parking control officer, badge No. 53, began inspecting the block that neighbors received unwarranted tickets, Gary Malec's brother said. "They have to meet a certain quota, I'm sure, and she's just going around slapping tickets," said Mark Malec, 23. "She's going rogue, because this has never been a problem"...But "no action is being taken against this employee based on that investigation," said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose, who added that the parking officer who issued the ticket, Andrea Bouie, has been with the agency since 2003 and has no other unwarranted parking citations under her name. As to whether employees in her position have quotas to meet, Rose said no.

Of course Rose has to deny that parking tickets have anything to do with raising money for the bureaucracy that he works for. It's supposedly all about "managing" the parking supply and enforcing the law. Rose is Media Relations Manager for the MTA, which is a bloated title for the flak-catcher, bullshitter, and defender of the indefensible for a bloated bureaucracy of more than 5,000 employees (see this, this, this, thisthis, and this).

It's not a matter of her "going rogue." Why would a salaried worker for the city do that? Whether it's a formal quota or not, there's a direct relationship between the number of "parking control officers," the number of tickets issued, and the money the MTA makes from the tickets.

The Examiner reported on this relationship four years ago (Parking citations on the decline) when income from parking tickets declined during the recession:

The MTA has attributed the 16 percent drop in citations to cash-strapped drivers becoming more wary of parking regulations, a decrease in street-sweeping operations and fewer motorists out on the road because of the weakened economy. In the 2003-04 fiscal year, each parking control officer doled out an average of 611 citations per month. For this fiscal year, which ends in June, parking control officers are projected to hand out an average of 498 per month, according to an MTA document obtained by The Examiner.

Since Muni had a deficit that year, it planned to lay off 24 parking control officers:

The decision to let go of the 24 parking control officers has attracted the most indignation, since those employees generate revenue for The City. However, the MTA believes there won’t be a revenue drop, so long as the remaining 254 parking control officers step up their production. If each one of those officers gives out 540 monthly citations---nine less than the 2007-08 fiscal year monthly average of 549---the agency won’t lose parking-ticket money.

Should we call this a "quota" or a "step up in production"?

The MTA eventually solved the "revenue" problem---and the quota/"production" problem---by hiring more parking control officers: the Examiner reported in 2010 that there were 275 in FY2009/2010, and it's reporting now that there are 325!

A parking control officer who retired several years ago, explained how it worked when he was hired:

I started in 1987, when we were still part of SFPD. Back then, it was about issuing as many citations as I could because that's what I was told I was being paid to do. We had a work performance average of 13.8 tickets per hour under SFPD.

Does anyone really think it's different now?

People in the neighborhoods are complaining about parking meters, but it's not just about the expense and nuisance of feeding meters, since, according to the Transportation Fact Sheet, the city makes a lot more from parking tickets ($88,889,809) than it does from the meters ($53,856,001).

The story explains how the system is stacked against people who get parking tickets:

Of the more than 1.5 million parking citations issued during fiscal year 2012-13, 77,248 were contested at the first level and 28 percent were upheld as invalid. In addition, 13,085 citations went on to the second level---a hearing---and 38 percent of those were deemed invalid. Mark Malec, who has in the past received an overtime parking citation when he exceeded the four hours, called the dismissal of his brother's unwarranted ticket "very surprising" and "very relieving. It's helpful because it shows that if you have the time and you can fight this, you have to," Mark Malec said. "Because the more you roll over and let it happen, the more they're going to take advantage."

28% of 77,248 is 21,629, and 38% of 13,085 is 4,972. Of more than 1.5 million parking tickets issued, only 26,601 were eventually found invalid!

How much time and how many trips to Muni offices did it take for Gary Malec to save himself $74?

"Taking advantage" of people who drive and park in San Francisco is what the system is about.

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At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more I think about this more sick I get. In reading this it dawned on me that the city dropped street cleaning from weekly to twice monthly during the recession. Now thinking about it, they still ticket cars parked on the days the street cleaners do not come. I wonder if that's fair. Better yet, if they are still ticking and getting the money why can't the city reinstate our weekly street cleaning, god knows we need it in my SOMA hood to deal with the shit that builds up on a daily basis. And that's no bull shit!

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If youre so up in arms about tickets from these officers why dont you stop breaking the law?

At 10:19 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

The problem is that when people get better about not breaking the law, the city changes the rules. They both WANT and NEED people to break the law, because theirs is a fine and penalty based budget. If people don't screw up, they don't have enough money. And they WILL get their money. Fines should only be used for single use, capital improvement projects, and never for recurring costs. That's where the gov't has blown it and continues to lie to us.

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said anything about breaking the talking about reduction of street sweeping yet continuing to obtain revenue for a parking restriction that has no basis in fact.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary Malec is a FIVE YEAR resident of this street. Why exactly is it that Mr Malec needs to move his car to avoid the 4 hour limit? His residential parking permit allows him to park there all day long, no need to move his car at all!

Oh, I see. Mr Malec has illegally refrained from re-registering his car at his San Francisco address in order to avoid paying the proper insurance rates for his neighborhood, and the California DMV fees. You see, Mr Malec, a FIVE YEAR resident of Mission Terrace is still rolling around San Francisco with his New York license plates, FIVE YEARS after he moved to California.

Fucking scofflaw.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I don't care where his license plates are from or whether he has a residential parking permit. The predatory "parking control officers"---who I understand are only doing their job---should back off. The tail is wagging the dog here. Instead of serving us, City Hall is preying on us to pay their salaries and benefits. These assholes can't even keep our streets paved without borrowing money.

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1.5 million tickets!!!!! How many tickets do we give cyclists???

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So PCO's should not write tickets, but it's OK for people to register their car out of state for multiple years while living in SF. I see.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Nobody is saying that parking tickets shouldn't be written. The problem in SF is that it's now become more of a way to make money for City Hall than it is enforcing the law and serving the public.

I don't know how big a problem registering cars out of state is, but the expense of registering in California and San Francisco has clearly become an issue. That's why Mayor Lee took raising vehicle registration fees off the November ballot. He knows people don't like it and, more importantly to him, it threatens his $500 million bond on the ballot.

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

As I suspected, this is not really a big deal. Your link is to a site that tells us that California collected only $1 million in fines for out-of-state registration violations. Big fucking deal.

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one-sided article is so full of shit.Gary Malec is an avid abuser of parking his many non-permitted vehicles in a neighborhood that CALLS repeatedly for enforcement.The reason he doesn't buy a permit is because he fixes cars on the street (which is totally ILLEGAL) and sells them. If I received a citation for $74 and a permit for the year is $110 I would buy the permit w/o the worry of sitting in the window waiting for the pro to come back. (LOSER). The hearing officer should be reprimanded for dismissing the ticket with out fully expelling to this idiot what the parking rules are.Typical SFMTA to hire someone that doesn't know the law or the job to preside over such things.From my understanding there was no reason to dismiss the ticket except as a courtesy therefore SFMTA HAS fucked up with the public AND its employees. And when does ONE parking citation make front page news? Oh yeah only in the Examiner. I only grab that paper to line my pets shitbox

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if drivers want to be respected by anyone in this city they need to start following the laws

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Manoj Kumar said...

In present time Parking is also a kind of problem that people are facing this problem in almost cities. As the number of vehicles are increasing on road rapidly but there is very less parking facility available. So Omnitec bring solutions for this problem.

Parking management system


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