February 16, 2009

Walnut Creek’s mercenary parking meter practices applies to Presidents Day

This morning, Presidents Day, my husband, son, and I went to Starbucks on Locust Street in downtown Walnut Creek. We arrived shortly before 9 a.m. and parked right out front, in two metered spots (I was going to leave separately to go do some errands).

It didn’t occur to us to feed coins into the meter, even to my husband who is usually very careful about such matters. This was a holiday, right? A national, U.S. government-designated holiday.

We came out after 9 a.m., and all the cars lining Locust Street, and parked in metered spots, had tickets on their windshields. So, did we, and these tickets would cost us $35 each. I quickly glanced at the meter, at the top, windowed area where the little red “expired” flag pops up. (This is the meter, pictured above.)

In that area, in black letters, it read that the meters are in operation daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Sundays and holidays.

I pulled away and saw the parking enforcement officer up the street. He was getting back into his cart after placing yet another ticket on another car's windshield. I rolled down my window and asked, “What’s going on? Why are you handing out tickets? It’s a federal holiday.”

He said something about how it’s “not a city holiday.”

I went home, called the City of Walnut Creek offices, and heard that the city offices were closed “in observance of the holiday.” I called the Police Department non-emergency number and asked to speak to the supervisor in charge of parking. The clerk told me that the supervisor was not in the office today.

“Because it’s a city holiday?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

I asked why, if it’s a city holiday, the city had its parking enforcement officers out, writing tickets. The clerk informed me that, in fact, the city designates six holidays per year as worthy of being "meter holidays." Six holidays per year, unlike, for example, the U.S. government which in 2009 will observe 10 holidays.

The clerk added that the city-designated meter holidays are listed on each parking meter.

I missed that during my cursory glance at the meter. All I saw was "except Sundays and holidays," which to me seems pretty open to interpretation.

But, being the Crazy gal that I am, I couldn’t let this one go. I had to know if I missed something, so I headed back downtown and returned to the scene of my crime: the meter on Locust Street in front of the Container Store.

After looking around the meter, I could see that, yes, it has a sign on its side that lists the city's designated meter holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.

So, legally, it appears, we’re screwed, my husband and I. We will have to pay those $35 tickets. So will all the other people who mistakenly assumed that a national holiday like Presidents Day would apply to metered street parking in Walnut Creek.

But wait. For my part, and for all those others who who received tickets in downtown Walnut Creek today, I have to say that the sign listing the city's six metered holidays reads a bit like the proverbial fine print in a contract. A quick glance at the meter, which is what I think many motorists would give it, would lead you to think you’re in the clear on Presidents Day.

It also strikes me that the city's meter signage and its own staff holiday policies present unclear and inconsistent messages. The two different signs on the meters themselves offer two different interpretations of when you do and don't have to feed coins into the meter. Meanwhile, the City of Walnut Creek decided that Presidents Day was significant enough to close its offices--and to give the city’s parking supervisor the day off. So, shouldn’t it give us citizens a holiday--a parking holiday--as well? It seems that the city's parking meter policies should align with its own policies regarding staff holidays.

(By the way, I will e-mail a copy of this post to the city’s parking department. It would be interesting to hear the supervisor's response, if the supervisor even bothers to respond. I won't expect a reply today--because the supervisor is on holiday!)

The backdrop to all this is that the city is in serious financial trouble. The budget numbers for 2008-10 are pretty grim. The city is facing a $3.4 million deficit this fiscal year, and a $5.2 million gap for 2009-10.

It all has to do with a down economy, a drop in revenues from sales tax due to slow retail sales, and a steep drop in tax revenues from auto sales.
Another culprit in Walnut Creek’s woes? A decline in parking-related revenues.

From the city’s Progress Report on the 2008-10 Operating Budget: "Parking meter revenue is projected to be approximately $11,000 below what was estimated for the budget 2008-09 and 2009-19. … Further, the amount of revenue received from parking fines [like the $70 my husband and I will be soon paying] is lower than projected. Due to the downturn in the economy, fewer visitors to downtown (as indicated by the drop in sales tax), and a decline in the collection rate experienced for fines, most of the anticipated aggregate parking system increase has not been realized."

The city estimates a parking-related revenue decrease of $844,000 for 2008-09 and $844,000 for 2009-10.

The city certainly helped lessen that pain a bit on President’s Day with the tickets it handed out to my husband, me, and other motorists. And, with the city's budget challenges, I can see why the city's usually aggressive parking enforcement department was even more motivated to get out today and ticket people.

After revisiting the scene of my crime, I took a short cruise down Locust Street. It looked like about half of those parked had made the same assumption that my husband and I had made. A reasonable assumption, I continue to argue. I could see those little red flags on the meters where these cars and SUVs were parked.

I could also see the parking enforcement officer in his cart, with its blinking yellow lights, cruising up and down the street, just waiting to pounce.


DumbAsBricks said...

This is wrong.

To post "Except Sundays and Holidays" is the end of the transaction.

'Except Sundays and Holiday Posted Below' is appropriate.

The city needs to fix this...quickly.

Anonymous said...

This is especially boneheaded when the city is hurting for business. It's just bad public relations and makes the city seem greedy.

Anonymous said...

This is kind of unpatriotic. And who in the city chooses which holidays get a pass?

Anonymous said...

I would have made the same assumption since it's a federal holiday. The tickets were $35? The city is really trying to cash in.

Anonymous said...

If it said "except Sundays and holidays," and left "holidays" ambiguous, the city is s--- out of luck. Even if they had another sign elsewhere on their meters. IMO, it needs to say the same things throughout, to be fair and clear.

Anonymous said...

Walnut Creek is full of itself. Its parking patrol nails you after two minutes when your meter is expired. No one else does this. Maybe no one cares about Walnut Creek anymore. I certainly wont go there with his hostile and unwelcome attitude. Its like this traffic patrol officers have nothing else to do.

Mom's exhausted said...

We were just on Locust Street, outside of Katy's Kreek. My husband fed the meeter. I have no idea what made him read the tiny printed Holiday list below the regular meter. Amazing!

If it were me alone, I probably would not have known. I would have read just like you Soccer Mom.

I think Walnut Creek should cancel the parking ticket to those who argue. It's a great defense. It really isn't fair. The meter should read "Holidays listed below". Otherwise, its false advertising, or bait and switch, something like that!

Anonymous said...

Well, how luck you will be when Needless Markup moves in, they will park for you so you can spend $400 for shoes and not have worry about those pesky $35 parking tickets.....That is Forward Thinking.

Anonymous said...

This article exemplifies how Walnut Creek is so inconsistent in its policies. I work at at retail store in Walnut Creek and we get harassed by the city for our window art/advertisements.
Apparently the rule in Walnut Creek is that your window painting cannot exceed 15% of the window. We have had city employees come by and cite us for being at 16%. No joke. What's funny though is across the street from us a business always has window paintings at 75-80%. My boss told the city employee last time that we wouldn't pay unless the other business removed their's as well.
I told them to put F.U.W.C. on the next window. It never happened.

Anonymous said...

There is a concerted effort to obfuscate everything from parking meter language to The Nutshell's rhetoric. No transparency here!

Soccer Mom said...

Dear Readers,
Thanks for your input. On one hand, the city legally is in the clear. And I can't argue with that. And I should have spent the minutes to read that meter and its "fine print" more carefully.

On the other hand, as a native of Walnut Creek, and long-time resident, there's this gnawing feeling in my gut that the City has acted in bad faith, and that the City needs to rethink its parking policies. This was the feeling that prompted me to write this post. And many of your comments have just confirmed that I'm not out of line in questioning the City of Walnut Creek about its parking meter policies.

Sure, legally, the City can say, "we presented proper notification."

But really? As poster DumbasBricks (who's not so Dumb) pointed out, the language of one part of the meter would lead ANY rational, reasonable person to assume that they are in the clear on a federal holiday like Presidents Day. If the city wanted to clarify its definition of "holiday" exemptions, it should have given proper warning. And the City didn't, as DumbAsBricks astutely pointed out.

My husband and I are prepared to pay our tickets, but, yes, my red flags are up. About what's fair and what's not. We made a assumptions, that turned out, becuase of Walnut Creek's somewhat not-so-obvious policies, to be false. We think our assumptions were reasonble and those of most rational people. So did many others visiting Walnut Creek on Monday, Presidents Day, a NATIONAL holiday.

The city is hurting. Its retail sales and parking revenues are in tatters. So, it chooses to recoup revenue in this way? By sticking it to people visiting and spending sorely needed money in the City.

Perhaps not the best approach. Perhaps not the most welcoming policy.

I think the City should FORGIVE expired meter tickets it issued Presidents Day, and I think the City should re-write the language of its meters. And, if it doesn't have the funds to do so at this time, which it probably doesn't because of City, state, and federal budget crunches, then the City should just EAT IT. The City should accept that, until it can clearly define its definition of "holiday" in all references in its public parking spaces, specifically its meters. Otherwise, it is an act of bad faith for it to seek to fine people for making other reasonable assumptions of the defintion of "holiday."

Barry said...

The lack of public outrage is an outrage. You can contest these tickets. Take the 5 minutes and do it!

Soccer Mom said...

Dear Barry,
I just sent e-mails to City Manager Gary Pokorny, Mayor Gary Skrel, and the city's Public Information Officer. We'll see what their response is. As I said it my post, they can argue that, legally, they are in the clear. But as another poster said, the language on the meter is ambigious and inconsistent. Perhaps another lawyer could pick it apart.

It just strikes me that issuing tickets today was an act of Bad Faith--even it was technically legal. It was a NATIONAL holiday. And, as I learned, it was a CITY holiday. If it's a holiday for City Staff, it should be a holiday for people who come to the city and shop, dine and its restaurants and spend $$$. Especially, in these difficult economic times, when Walnut Creek is facing some big budget challenges.

Tbe City needs to do a better job welcoming people back, and it should get over itself. I say this as someone who grew up here and has lived here a while.

If I were Empress of the Universe--of of Walnut Creek, which I'm not--I would decree that all tickets issued today be voided and forgiven. I would also urge the City to align its parking meter holidays with those that it itself deems holidays for its City staff and offices.

Anonymous said...

Got a library to pay for!

Anonymous said...

I parked on Locust today, and read the notice stating which holidays were valid. All very clear. Now go to San Francisco and the signs do NOT specify which holidays are exempt. IMO WC is no different from other cities. So buck up and pay your share and have this be a lesson to you to always read the parking meteres clearly, and to never assume anything.

"Maybe no one cares about Walnut Creek anymore. I certainly wont go there with his hostile and unwelcome attitude."

Yeah, the nerve of WC for enforcing their parking regulations. That's facism! Let's everyone boycott WC! Report this to the CC Times!

Castle Hill Bill said...

How many parking meter violation fines does it take to pay for one space in the new library? Many, many, many. Soccer Mom's fine will help pay for some of the construction costs but it's just not enough! The city needs to generate more revenue. Maybe soon the city will have modified the meter parking notices to include, in even smaller print, that parking enforcement is in effect for all 10 Federal Holidays. Remember- we elected these people and their policies. I hope they read the blogs and reconsider/halt fines on holidays for meter violations.

Anonymous said...

Soccer Mom, I understand your being annoyed. I would have made the same assumption about it being a holiday, and probably would have just read the "except Sundays and holidays" part. But, as you said yourself, the city also has a sign posted, listing its "holidays" for meters. The city can say it gave proper warning. Can't argue with that, but it's still frustrating.

Edi Birsan said...

I would protest the ticket respectfully in court.
The arguments I would use is that the front of the meter states that it is not to be used on holidays.
It does not say "on Holidays specified below' as a technical point, but more importantly there is a degree of being pulled 'off sides' from the main sign which can be appreciated by any judge.

We have judges as people for just this sort of situation where there can be some common sense allowed to creep into the system, but it all starts with going to the court and asking the judge in the right manner and right tone to give you a break here.

Good luck/

Anonymous said...

I hope you dispute the tickets. I def. would if it were me.

For me, just one more reason not to come and spend money in WC!

Anonymous said...

Why you should fight the ticket.

1. It will make a good story

2. Can you really use the word crazy if you don't fight?

3. Many people agree with you! It was unclear.

4 Fighting will give you some satisfaction, winning even more so!

Anonymous said...


De La Salle said...

How do people evade parking tickets? I received a ticket two weeks before I received my DMV renewal notice.

On the itemized renewal were my fees, taxes and then the $35.00 parking ticket.

If you don't pay in full, they will w/ hold the tags...

I don't understand how people get out of not paying.

Soccer Mom said...

Well, I better make sure Soccer Dad didn't already write that check!

Anonymous said...

"I would protest the ticket respectfully in court."

You do not get to go to court on aprking fines. It is reviewed by a member of the PD. IF you do not like that answer ..then you may go to court.

"I don't understand how people get out of not paying.'

5 or more tickets-- you get towed until they are paid off-- if the PD does its job.

DumbAsBricks said...

I would pay the ticket and consult an attorney who will chase your $70 (plus attorney's fees) from the city if something is not done about this.

They could use their facy wordifications! Right?

Cici said...

Is it worth a try to fight it? Maybe,if you have lots of time on your hands. I am afraid if you get good ol' Judge Galoob in Court, you will not stand a chance. He has heard every sob story in the book, and he is heartless and will make you feel like 2 cents when you leave.
If you could round up everyone that got a ticket that day, you could protest outside, cause a riot and get arrested..... or Don't pay it and get arrested... or maybe the City would just feel bad and wipe all your tickets, if you threaten to expose them for this greedy act. Who was it who said,"You can't fight City Hall?"

2busymom said...

This is frustrating and seems a bit underhanded on the part of the city. I dread going just about anywhere in WC because parking is a bit of a pain! I think you should fight it, even to just get them to make the policies more clear, Good luck!

ACC said...

The old adage "ignorance is no excuse for the law" fits here - BUT, and there is always a but when it comes to regulations - nothing is black and white. Obviously WC has been getting away with this for quite awhile and no one has made it a big enough issue. Your blog may make it a so. I don't agree with it at all. I wouldn't have seen the little bitty sign either. Fight the good fight - stupid laws are meant to be challenged.

Annie said...

I don't live in Walnut Creek but I can sure feel your pain. This doesn't feel at all right. While, yes, the city is lacking funds and the library needs money or whatever the reason, this is a crappy way to go about filling the void. On one hand they want/need people to shop in town, and on the other hand they want to make it as difficult as possible. They can't have it both ways. To post a list of "city" holidays, separate from those observed by the rest of the country, elsewhere on the meter is akin to trickery. If it were me, I'd fight it. You probably won't win but dang, your voice should be heard.

Anonymous said...

Hey, come on now, we have a brand spanking new multi- million dollar library to pay for! Thanks for your donation! I have lived here for about 8 years and am just about ready to move over all of this craziness. I live in Walnut Creek, but will gladly take my shopping to Pleasant Hill or Sun Valley. The access to parking and the parking tickets are just beyond belief in our fine town. Why can I picture "parking enforcement" giggling from car to car? I too would have thought that Monday was a "holiday" what a bunch of jerks.

Keep up the good work, Crazy in Suburbia, I'm enjoying your blog!

Crabby in WC

Anonymous said...

Do NOT shop in Walnut Creek until they fix this meter discrepancy!

It feels so unfair and dirty, that I need a shower after reading this...

Anonymous said...

The city of Lafayette is even worse...don't shop there either. Go to Pleasant Hill (very few meters), or even Sun Valley Mall for crying out loud...

Anonymous said...

The Holidays are clearly listed on the meters. Don't blame the City for your inability to go the 'extra' mile and read the other side of the meter. NOT TOO DIFFICULT! I was working yesterday in the real City (SF) and was not sure of the Holidays observered on their meters. I walked ALL the way around the meter and found that Presidents Day is not a meter holiday there either! And I am no Rocket Scientist. Open you eyes.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I don't have time to read all the comments, but I was in the Starbuck's on Locust across from the Cheesecake Factory MOnday from 8 - 12:30, and while I was parked in the "free" garage across the street, I did notice the meter maids passing out tickets like they were candy. I witnesses some conversations through the glass, and it was clear that the conversations were less than calm and it was a racket orchestrated by the city of WC.

I am not a resident of WC and certainly understand the fiscal pressures WC and all cities (and myself, for that matter as I am a single income executive unemployed for nearly a year), I think it would be prudent to either align meter holidays with City holidays or prominently display the valid holidays.

Come on, Walnut Creek! Cut 'em a break!

Anonymous said...

Crazy in Suburbia - you are not that crazy! I live and work in WC and I swear that one out of every three times I feed the meter, a coin (whether it's the first one or the last one) DOESN'T register! At first it's almost understandable that it's a machine and bound to have a glitch or two from time to time, but to have this happen so often is maddening and raises suspicion over whether they're "fixed" to steal your money - which is essentially what they are doing. We need to have these meters all calibrated better and more often.

Anonymous said...

Just another way to pay for the ridiculous library. Shame on Walnut Creek.

Barry said...

At least we can thank Sol Henik for speaking up against the enforcement of meters on Sunday's and past 6pm! Did he get elected?

Castle Hill Bill said...

Barry- My point exactly. We claim that we want certain civilities, courtesies, common sense, and fairness in our public policies, including parking control, but we haven't yet voted in enough candidates of that thought at one time to seats on the city council, to alter these type of anti-citizen services policies. Maybe next election.

drvrdadca said...

Soccer Mom, it is 4pm on Tuesday. Has anyone you contacted with the City gotten back to you? I bet now.

Who reads the "fine" print anyways? You can't have it both ways. I'm fairly sure (actually have not a clue) that if you had a contract with the City for something/anything and you worded the same thing differently in 2 places, they would take the one that benefits them even if you meant the other.

My Wife shops WC I won't go with her, cuz I hate the snobs.

Soccer Mom said...

It's close to 6 p.m., and, no, I did not hear from the city today.

I wonder if the tone in the e-mail I sent last night was off-putting, and whether I went overboard. Yes, I can do that.

I told the mayor and city manager that I thought the city's actions were "detrimental and an act of bad faith. ... Some people shopping and dining in Walnut Creek-spending much needed money in the city--were penalized for assuming, reasonably, that a nationally designated holiday--and city-designated holiday--freed them from having to feed coins into the meter. Welcome to Walnut Creek."

I then asked, "is this really the message you want to send? Especially in these difficult economic times when we all know that the city needs people coming to its downtown?"

I sent another e-mail at about 4 p.m. I offered to post the city's response without any comment from me.

I can understand the argument that I screwed up by not reading all the signs on the meter. But I can also understand the other argument that the sign in the top part of the meter should have warned people that there are meter holidays listed below.

I'll go through the city's parking appeals process and see what happens.

Thanks for all your comments. I know parking is a hot-button issue in Walnut Creek, and its parking enforcement officials are pretty "forceful" and their enforcement.

Barry said...

Hey Soccer mom... You can go to the City Council meeting tonight and make your case during public hearings! That would be great. How many people actually speak up?

MC Rider said...

I would protest the tickets. In addition to the reasons others have outlined I would do some research and find out if City Employees that were working on Presidents Day received holiday pay (namely the parking enforcement officer). How could the city say it was not a city-recognized holiday if supervisors received the day off due to the holiday and employees that worked were paid holiday pay?

Mom's exhausted said...

MC Rider, that's a pretty good one. I was going to say something like that too. You beat me to it! Soccer Mom, This is a great post. Well worth an appeal to the city. A ticket's a bummer, but you had something very heated to write about. Your concerns about the city should be encouraging consumers in this economy. That was excellent. Well-thought out. They should take your advice. They should hire you as a consultant!

Soccer Mom said...

Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the City Council meeting tonight.
MC Rider (hope you're feeling okay, by the way): Thanks for the suggestion. It's a good one.

Barry said...

There are also privately owned parking lots owned by Bob (i forget his last name, but he's pres of Downtown bus association... I think). They may abide by other rules.

Anonymous said...

So is someone supposed to look up, down, all around to find little print on a meter - then find a magnifying glass to read the fine print.

That's crazy. The meter says HOLIDAYS. It doesn't say, city, or federal. It just says HOLIDAYS.

Walnut Creek did that deliberately. Its a money making ploy.

City of WC employee said...

Soccer Mom,

I work for the City of WC, and I agree with you. The holidays as they are posted are confusing and misleading. Fed holidays and meter holidays should be one and the same. Even though the city of WC is hurting in these lean times, as all municipalities are, I don't agree with this meter policy. In my opinion, the amount of badwill this policy generates is not worth the few bucks the city may make in fines. Maybe one of the local news stations would like this...I just think it's wrong.

Anonymous said...

The private parking enforcement company, their employees, and their policies are subhuman.

Cici said...

Dearest Crazy,

If you are in need of support, through letters, appearances or whatever it takes to get this dang City to listen to you. Please let us know.
We have your back and will fight this with you. The Presidents Day may be a newer Holiday, but it still is a "legal Holiday"that is observed everywhere.(No mail delivered) As a 23 year resident of this City I feel your ticket should be expunged without consequence.

Mom's exhausted said...

Just checking back to see what others say. Yes, I think the above few comments sum it up! Also - not to forget, Soccer Mom and Soccer Dad both received tickets, am I correct? That's $70.00!

Anonymous said...

How about "7 on your side" ? I'm sure they would eat up a story like this. I tend to agree with the previous poster, in such an economic downturn you would think they would be putting up signs that say, "Free parking for all shoppers" instead of passing out tickets like candy on Halloween!

Soccer Mom said...

Soccer Dad is just going to pay his ticket. But he's saying go, go, go on my appealing the ticket. I have to print out a little appeal form, mail it in, and we'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the citing police officer was being paid overtime for working on a national holiday?

Michael said...

There is a double standard in Walnut Creek. Why aren't meters fed or tickets issued to all of the out of town police cars and other official vehicles parked on the streets around the Ford dealer? These vehicles appear to be out of service and in possession of local repair shops that park these cars on the street for their convenience.If you extend it out, thousands of dollars have been lost over the years.I think these business'es need to pay up and why aren't the parking patrol writing these vehicles tickets?

City of WC employee said...

It wasn't a police officer. It was a meter maid (or meter guy). No, he wasn't being paid overtime.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, learn to read the meters. When you go to San Francisco and get a parking ticket on Sunday - are you going to whine too? Same with Monterey on holidays and LA in different parts of the city. What if you go out of state and get a ticket - is another whine going to erupt. Give me a break! Every city is different in how they manage parking enforcement. As a licensed driver (I'm assuming)you should know the importance of reading your meters. Plus, as a citizen of Walnut Creek you should know about all the free parking that is available to you throughout the city. So, next time you're going for your Triple Mocha whatever at Starbucks - park in the free parking and take a little walk - it may just do you some good. And as far as the Community Service Officers (they are not "meter maids") are concerened they are just doing their job. OH, I'm sorry you're a soccer mom - you wouldn't know what it was like to have a job anyway. Give them a break.

rkt said...

Yup - gotta hit the web and check the city website for parking holidays before you go.

I always check for SF - you never can be sure. In SF meter maids were out enforcing, but there were far fewer of them - so most people had no problem and some had the same WTF moment that CiS is having.

This is one of those lessons that you only have to learn once, and I'm surprised CiS hadn't learned it until now :P

Anonymous said...

I think that $35 is a reasonable amount to pay for parking in WC. A quarter for 15 minutes of parking is a steal!!!

Anonymous said...

I parked in front of Cheap Pete's for one hour last week and fed my meter, the meter for the car next to me was expired. When I returned there was no ticket nor did I see a meter reader anywhere. I guess they were saving up for the frenzy to come on the non-holiday holiday.


Really? said...

Seriously, get over it. It's a parking ticket that you deserved for not double checking. Is this the first time any of you have seen a meter? There is something on both sides, the one facing the street and the one where you actually put your money. Not the City's fault you didn't read both.

Do any of you know what the PSO's actually have to check? Every single city owned meter, permit area, public garage, red zone, handicapped spot, private parking spot (when called by the DT business owners) yellow zone, white zone, city owned garage, other limited time areas and they have to go out and look for the abandoned vehicles that people call in. Oh, let's not forget the abandoned vehicles they've already cited that now need to be towed. So, for the person who said they were probably "saving up" for President's Day...get real.They don't sit around and wait for somebody to walk away from an empty meter. That's Regional Parking.

You guys have no idea how hard they actually work. And another thing, the City didn't all of a sudden raise their rates, they've been at $35 for quite some time.

JazzyGal said...

I too received a parking ticket on the President's Day. I read the "holidays" and obviously incorrectly assumed I was covered. My ticket was in front of Lakeshore Learning at 1:30p so the meter folks were definitely making the city rounds! Two compliants, one of which has already been echoed (the double standard of meter fees on a WC city offices 'holiday') and the second a new one. I've been struggling with the pay/contest issue and threw in the towel this morning and decided to pay the ticket. To add insult to injury, if you want to pay your ticket over the phone at the "pay by credit card" option, expect to pay an extra $2.95 fee on top of your ticket. Really? I don't think so. I'm disappointed in the City that they have not responded to a resident with an issue. Poor PR WC. The City just lost my shopping dollars since there's not a single thing I NEED from downtown.

Anonymous said...

I got a parking ticket in San Francisco today. $53! Same thing.. I thought today was a holiday for meters, too. Might "request a review" - contest it with a letter- but I don't have time for a court appearance if you have to do that. Apparently, there was a note in the Chronicle that meters would be enforced but I'm an east bay person and didn't read the Chron.

Anonymous said...

We got a notice in the mail from the City of Walnut Creek, via their parking enforcement contractor, that we owed $40 for illegally parking. That was September 14, 2011. We live in Sacramento. We have never been to Walnut Creek. When I explained this to Sandy Mulligan, she was skeptical (the tone implying'oh all you scoflaws are the same'). She said she had a photo of our auto. Well, the plate was correct, but the frame was different as was the color of the auto. Either someone is counterfeiting plates (a scam the Cal DMV has not heard of yet) or the City of Walnut Creek is is photoshopping plates in the hopes out of towners will pay rather than contesting. Wrong! We wrote a letter immediately contesting the fine. We followed up a month later and changed our plates at DMV. Finally Ms. Mulligan said their 'contractor' was still reviewing our 'appeal'. It is not an appeal. It is a denial of guit, and yes, we will contest in court with the most expensive lawyer we can find.

Ricardo Villanueva, Sacramento

Anonymous said...

We got a notice in the mail from the City of Walnut Creek, via their parking enforcement contractor, that we owed $40 for illegally parking. That was September 14, 2011. We live in Sacramento. We have never been to Walnut Creek. When I explained this to Sandy Mulligan, she was skeptical (the tone implying'oh all you scoflaws are the same'). She said she had a photo of our auto. Well, the plate was correct, but the frame was different as was the color of the auto. Either someone is counterfeiting plates (a scam the Cal DMV has not heard of yet) or the City of Walnut Creek is is photoshopping plates in the hopes out of towners will pay rather than contesting. Wrong! We wrote a letter immediately contesting the fine. We followed up a month later and changed our plates at DMV. Finally Ms. Mulligan said their 'contractor' was still reviewing our 'appeal'. It is not an appeal. It is a denial of guit, and yes, we will contest in court with the most expensive lawyer we can find.

Ricardo Villanueva, Sacramento

Unknown said...

Considering appealing Parking ticket at Walnut Creek Library. I'm a volunteer at a nonprofit and attended a meeting at the library when I came out of the meeting I found a $45.00 ticket on my windshield. There are 36 libraries in Contra Costa with free parking, Martinez has meters on the street no lot parking, turns out Walnut Creek has some signs on some spaces - no sign at entrance no sign at library doors I parked in one of the many spaces with out a sign and saw no signs. I am physically handicap with walker but not wheelchair handy cap I contested ticket by submitted pictures showing Library lot entrance(no sign), parking spaces with out signs and entry doors(no sign) , e-mail announcing meeting and indication I was handicap. Response from city was pay fine of $45.00 no staff person or position indicated for giving notice .
I can appear before a person and submit my case However Walnut Creek contracts with "Duncan Solutions" it is their responsibility to collect Parking Fines Not provide Justice. I will follow forward with my case and report back with details.

Steve Kings Mt Diablo foothills