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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 9:35 am | Fair 57º


Letter to the Editor: Street-Sweeping Enforcement Too Heavy-Handed

I am very much a supporter of environmental causes and especially doing what we can to keep our coast clean, and so normally I am not the type to complain when my wife or I get one of those dreaded neon green enveloped parking tickets on a windshield. Yet, the other day I got one of these in such a heartless and mindless way that I feel I have to make my story known publicly.

I live in the neighborhood near the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Rehabilitation Center, which does not have a parking lot of its own so as you can imagine during the day parking can be quite tight. This is especially true on Wednesdays and Thursdays during street-sweeping hours.

That Wednesday, I was home sick due to an extremely debilitating headache brought on by seasonal allergies. This is not a normal thing for me so I stayed home to get rest when I had planned on driving my vehicle to work that morning. At about five minutes before 1 p.m., I woke up suddenly from a restless nap remembering that I needed to move my pickup. I put slippers on, grabbed my keys, but could not find my wallet. Finally, wallet in hand, I made it out the front door at 1:10 p.m. I walked out of the front gate to find Officer Williams about to print a ticket to place on my vehicle.

After several seconds of literally waving my warms frantically in front and to the side of her cart, she printed the ticket, opened the window and looked up at me. I explained that I would move the vehicle right away. Her response was a terse, “You have to move it before I write the ticket.” I explained that I had planned to take it to work in the morning, but I had been home sick all day and had forgotten because I was trying to rest. Officer Williams coldly placed the ticket on my windshield and stated, “Sorry.” I said, “Well, I guess I’ll leave it here then since I am paying for it now” as she slammed her window closed and drove away.

I understand fully that there is a need to enforce the rules, but this complete lack of compassion shocked me at a moment I was already suffering. I don’t know Officer Williams, and I am sure she is a fine woman who cares deeply about doing her job well, but I think she failed to show a bit of humanity to a person who really could have used it in that moment. I also think that the system in general for parking citations fails to show the residents of this city, especially those of us who are forced to share our home parking with businesses, any sense of welcome or humanity as well.

I believe this incident calls into question the validity of our street-sweeping system. If the point of giving citations in order to sweep the street is to protect the coast from pollution, then why give a ticket to a person who was fully willing and able to move their vehicle in time for the sweeper to move through? I think this event paints a very poor picture of our city’s leaders and law enforcement.

How are we to place trust in our local law enforcement if we know they see us as little more than a revenue stream designed to keep city coffers solvent? At least that is what I felt like in the moment.

Seth C. Miller
Santa Barbara

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