Man Against the Machine
Custom Search 2
That was my first overreaction to getting an unjustified parking ticket, in the legal district downtown. Not only did I pay the electronic kiosk for the right to park on Sixth Street, I overpaid by more than a dollar. I still had 90 minutes left on my parking spot.
Not that it mattered. I received the citation (making it sound like a special prize or some such) a mere 24 minutes after paying the kiosk, a diabolical mechanism that went all SkyNet on my ass and lied to its human servant, a Parking Services employee, about my parking status.
But wait! Upon finding the filthy citation issued by the computer and its human servant in the name of the city of Las Vegas, I dug into my pocket and found my receipt. The very same kiosk that issued my citation had issued me proof of my innocence.
Was this an effort to increase city revenues - make people pay for the spot and give them a $20 ticket anyway? Best conspiracy theory of the day, especially since those tickets rapidly increase in cost ($40 after one month, $60 after 45 days).
Although I am, of course, well-known for my calm sense of equanimity even in the face of such outrageous injustice, in this case I immediately appealed to my city councilman, Bob Coffin, who referred the case over to Parking Services.
Armed with the proof of the foul deception perpetrated by the computerized kiosk and its human servant, there was nothing the powers-that-be at the city could do but eliminate the ticket.
Brandy Stanley, the director of Parking Services, quickly became my ally in the war against the machine. (The website Women In Parking, which is an actual website that I am totally not making up, helpfully notes that "Brandy has been in the industry for nearly 20 years. She has worked for parking operators in Seattle, New Orleans, Miami, Austin and Richmond, managing virtually every type of facility...")
Once allied with a clear winner with an insider's knowledge of virtually every type of facility, we were able to quickly right this profound wrong.
"We've dismissed the citation and the meter tech is en route to that meter to find out what happened," Brandy (I hope it's OK to be on a first-name basis, based on my familiarity with Women In Parking and everything) told me in an e-mail. "As with any new system, there are typically a few kinks to work out, and we are in that phase of the installation. That meter hasn't had issues previously, so we'll get to the bottom of it!"
There's a regular appeal process that takes, according to the city website, weeks or months to resolve. Obviously, contacting your elected official can expedite the correction. I encourage everyone to watch those kiosks carefully, and if they turn on you like a rabid dog, as they did in my case, make sure you have documentation. Take a cell-phone selfie with your car and the parking-spot number along with your "citation" and, for God's sake, don't forget to take your receipt from the machine.
And let this be a warning to SkyNet and its parking kiosks: Humanity is not going to go quietly.