Partial Justice

I wrote earlier about seeking justice at the Office of the City Attorney of San Francisco and my feeling that I’d set the wheels in motion and had only to sit back and wait for the perp to be brought to justice, convicted, and punished. That’s after a fair trial, of course. It was a good feeling.

Alas, it didn’t last all that long, because yet again a faithful reader provided me with information that I’d formerly been sorely missing. After he read “The Scales of Justice”, my friend John down on the second floor informed me that in fact, the tickets that all of us had been issued that morning were quite proper since we were all lawbreakers. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

See, he said, I was misled by that “OVER 18 IN FROM CURB” on the ticket, and if I had kept digging into the page in the State Vehicle Code for violation 22502A, I would have found a paragraph stating that you have to be pointed in the direction of the flow of traffic. And yes, I understand that there’s not room on the ticket to print the explanation: “OVER 18 IN FROM CURB OR NOT POINTED IN THE DIRECTION OF THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC.” So now I’m figuring what will happen is that the City Attorney’s office member who’s reviewing my case will just take one look at the Vehicle Code and see that I am clearly no longer capable of reading more than one paragraph down into a page.

But wait. At least, I thought, since SFMTA doesn’t yet know that I’ve tweeted (the whistle) on them, what I can do is at least try to get my $72 back by contesting the ticket.

Which I did yesterday in person in the SFMTA office at 11 South Van Ness. What a clean, well-lighted place that is; and better yet, everybody there with whom I spoke was helpful, kind, and seemed genuinely nice. It’s clear the office manager has them all on a mild dose of soma.

The nice guy at the check-in window directed me to another window; but as I got up to it and drew my camera out, the guy there, seeing that I was about to present some evidence, told me to sit back down because shortly I’d be called to go to a private room to display my evidence. And I was, almost immediately. The guy in there was pleasant, listened to my tale, and looked at the Plaintiff’s Exhibit A, a photo I’d taken a few minutes earlier in order to demonstrate how my neighbors and I routinely parked in that block. Every car in sight on the left side was parked pointing north.

He was fair. Yes, he could understand why everybody parks that way, so he will refund my $72. But then before I could get into my fulsome thanks, he went on to say that, as reasonable as it was to park that way, it was still against the law; and it would be wise of me to avoid parking that way in future as the SFMTA would not be forgiving me future tickets for this offense.

That took some of the joy out of my refund, and I went back to the Vehicle Code, hoping to somehow find some fine print somewhere that would give us residents a loophole. And you know, to my astonishment, I did…sort of. All I have to do now is find the proper channel through which to operate because I am determined to prevent that evil TCO from continuing to harass us, the law-abiding citizens of the 100 block of Coleridge Street.

Here’s the applicable section in the California Vehicle Code.

22502 (a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a vehicle stopped or parked upon a roadway with adjacent curbs or class IV bikeways, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be stopped or parked with the right-hand wheels of the vehicle parallel to, and within 18 inches of, the right-hand curb or the right-hand edge of the class IV bikeway, except that a motorcycle shall be parked with at least one wheel or fender touching the right-hand curb or edge. If no curbs, barriers, or class IV bikeways bound a two-way roadway, right-hand parallel parking is required unless otherwise indicated.

(b) (1) The provisions of subdivision (a) or (e) do not apply to a commercial vehicle if a variation from the requirements of subdivision (a) or (e) is reasonably necessary to accomplish the loading or unloading of merchandise or passengers on, or from, a vehicle and while anything connected with the loading, or unloading, is being executed.

(2) This subdivision does not permit a vehicle to stop or park upon a roadway in a direction opposite to that in which traffic normally moves.

Ahhhh, “that in which traffic normally moves”. There’s my entry wedge. The next step is to find a different way into the bureaucracy than the ticket appeals and point out that the only entrance to the 100 block of Coleridge Street is from Virginia Street at the south end because the street becomes one-way northbound at the north end. Thus folks in this block who wish to leave it have a choice of turning around and heading back south the way they came in or continuing north. And since we’re located in the southern, largely residential, part of the city, I for one virtually never want to go south. So the direction of traffic flow is overwhelmingly northbound and we thus ought to be able to park with our left wheels against the left curb just as we in this block, all good citizens, have been doing for decades,.

Meanwhile, oh my goodness is there ever some great beauty outside and inside our new Transbay Terminal.

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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 16 September 2019 at 07:57 | Permalink

    Be glad you’re white.

    • Posted 16 September 2019 at 11:12 | Permalink

      LATE NOTE: My previous reply to David came out all wrong and was so embarrassing that I’ll try again. Yes, I’ve basked in white privilege all my life. Most of the breaks I’ve had have been at least partly due to my being white. The only exception was when I had first moved here and was trying to get a full-time job in community colleges, where, owing to affirmative action, I had no chance at all since I was neither a woman nor a minority. Since then, though, I’m sure that in every job I got there was at least a small, perhaps even unconscious, benefit to me in being white since the people who interviewed and hired me were white. In the encounters I described in this post, the majority of the employees I dealt with were minorities, so I sincerely doubt that they were being nice to me just because I was white. Coming in smiling and agreeable rather than aggrieved probably had more to do with my good treatment.

  2. Rick C.
    Posted 28 September 2019 at 08:40 | Permalink

    Good sleuthing, Matte. Hope you’re able to convince them about the traffic flow. Love the photo, awesome as always!

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