Skip to content

Something is Happening Here, But You Don’t Know what it is, Do you?

June 30, 2012

Not even two weeks ago, on June 15, I turned 64 years old, the 15th was my Birthday. On the previous day, June 14th, my lawyer went to court for me regarding a ticket I received back during the previous October for driving on a suspended license. At court, he got the charges reduced to the point that the ticket was basically dropped. This only happened after a lot of work by both he and myself in the nearly nine months between the ticket and the trial.

.
As a result of all this work, three weeks earlier, on May 22, my driver’s license was re-instated, on a restricted basis, for the first time in about six years. I was handed a paper license at the DMV office at nearly 5:00 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon. Afterwards I took a quick spin around downtown Los Gatos to mildly celebrate but added only three or four miles to my odometer. The next day I ran some errands and put my van through a thorough examination as it hadn’t been driven for such a long time. Early on that Thursday morning, I headed over to Los Gatos Coffee Roasting to plan out my day and my next week now that I was driving myself and not relying on other people’s schedules to make my plans. I hadn’t been at Coffee Roasting for even an hour when I went back to the van to retrieve some paperwork I needed to make more plans. As I approached the car I saw that there was a white envelope on the windshield. It was a parking ticket, issued to me just about 36 hours after finally getting my license back after all this time.

.
This was astonishing and unbelievable. I had checked the signs on this curb and I was OK. I took the ticket and went to the Los Gatos Police Department where I filed a protest. The form I filled out said, in bold red letters, that if I didn’t agree with the results of this protest, I had to file further appeals in no less than 21 days after the issuance of the ticket or lose the right to appeal. My explanation of the situation seemed quite reasonable and and logical to me so I didn’t think much more about it.

.
However, on June 18, the Monday after my Friday birthday, I found the LGPD protest form in my Post Office box, informing me that the LGPD considered the citation valid and I had to pay for the ticket. I still disagreed but guess what, the envelope containing this notification was postmarked on June 14, the 21st day after the issuance of the ticket (May has 31 days) four days before it was delivered to my box. The Los Gatos Police Department cheated me out of my appeal. I had friends take a bunch of pictures and I wrote a general letter to the LGPD and presented it to the Police Department clerks around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27th and then I went home and grabbed a bottle of wine to share at the Jazz on the Plazz starting within the next few hours. I was lucky to find a parking spot right in front of the store that was once Valleriano’s, directly across from the Town Plaza. As I was retrieving my bottle of wine from the engine compartment of my van (since getting my license back, I’m taking no chances with any sort of misunderstandings with the law. The wine was in a separate compartment from the cab and locked in) and a lawyer friend made a sarcastic comment about my suspicious means of liquor transport. We stopped next to shotgun side and chatted about the dog he was walking.  I slid the van’s side open and put the wine in my backpack.

.

A copy of this “general” letter and the photographs which I left at the Police office are attached to the end of this note.

.
After spending a few hours at the concert and a few glasses of wine, a friend took me home where I had a good night’s rest. In the morning I took the bus to downtown to have some tea at Coffee Roasting and proceed with a very busy day finishing a specialized edition of my book. I got off the bus and glanced up at my van across the street.

.
There was no van across the street. Indeed, the sidewalk, the curb and the van had all been removed over night. Everything up to the storefront’s wall was gone, in my mind, it was black hole. My stomach dropped, there was no way I could afford an impound, a tow and storage. I live on Social Security Disability and such emergencies could not be afforded. However the van is an essential part of my financial recovery. Then I came out of the swoon and remembered that I did have some left over cash this month. I was still in a panic though. I called the LGPD and they told me their office didn’t open until 9:00 a.m and that’s when I could get specific information about the tow. I called a friend who could drive me around and by noon, I got the van back. However, I had given up $450 to get it. There is no way in heaven I can put out that kind of money and not get all screwed up in the very near future.

.
At first there was panic, but as the first day afterwards wore on, and the second day afterwards started, I realized that when I was opening the engine compartment, and when I opened the side door, speaking with the lawyer walking the dog and then putting the wine in my back pack, there were no signs on that sidewalk that soon was to be removed.

.

.

After spending so much time and effort to get my license reinstated, after getting a parking ticket within 36 hours of getting the new license and after being stone sober for nearly the last month (minus a few very conscious sessions of minor partying with a designated driver) I am very sure I didn’t simply fail to notice any sort of “no parking” or “tow away” warning signs.   The van was towed at 1:00 a.m. and lots of things could have happened between 7:00 p.m. when I parked and 1:00 a.m. Especially considering the number of people who traversed that area as a result of the evening’s concert.

.

My rich friends hear about this and smile, commenting on how bad my luck is. Poor people hear about these sorts of situations and know how devastating they are. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get it right. To quote Bob Dylan,

.

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

.

(Ballad of a Thin Man, Bob Dylan)

.

And, no, I don’t.

.

When I was a kid, and when we just got our driver’s licenses, we would take the kids who were raised in the tracts and tour them all around our farm neighborhoods. We would always laugh at them when they would ask what the funny smell was. We would laugh and tell them that it was chicken shit from the chicken ranches. Then we’d go a little further down the road and they’d say the smell changed, and we’d tell them that, yeah, we are near the dairy and this was cow shit. And when I was a boy scout, I raised several dozen rabbits in hutches behind the garage (our barn) for a merit badge and when in the rabbits area, you would smell rabbit shit.

.
As far as I see it, to pay $450 to get a kidnapped van out of hock, well, that smells like bull shit to me.

.

.

Addendums

.

.

Generally Addressed to LGPD

.

To whom it may concern:

On10-12-11 (approx.) a Los Gatos policeman gave me a ticket for driving on a suspended license.

On 5-22-12 my driver’s license was reinstated at about 4:30 p.m.

On 5-24-12 I recieved a parking ticket for parking in a space before 9:00 a.m. in the morning.

On May 24, 2012, at about 8:00 a.m., I found a parking space in front of a white pickup truck on the west side of the Town Plaza, on Santa Cruz Avenue. Upon exiting my minivan, I saw that the truck I had parked in front of was owned by the town of Los Gatos and the driver was a town grounds keeper who I had occasionally encountered and we exchanged greetings. In that I had not driven for the last eight months because of the October ticket (for driving on a suspended license), I stopped on the sidewalk near my van and glanced around just to check everything out. I had received my re-instated license barely 36 hours before and I didn’t want to mess anything up by doing something wrong. So when I saw the sign I was familiar with, “Parking 9 to 6,” I continued on my way to Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company.

.
Around an hour later, I went out to my van to see if it had been chalk marked by the parking cops but what I found was that a ticket was already on my windshield. It was just after 9 a.m. so there was no way I could have gotten a valid ticket. I removed the ticket and glanced around, not understanding what I had done wrong, and so immediately after getting my new license. None of my friends could explain what the ticket was about. Several of us went back to the car and we could find nothing wrong, no colored curbs, nothing like that.
Getting into the car to protest this ticket I finally noticed the new red sign above the old green one, saying “No parking 7 to 9 am.” I had never seen this sign before and no one else was aware of it either, as it was so new. I got out of the car and positioned myself where I had exchanged greetings with the grounds keeper. I am five foot, four inches tall. From that position and perspective, the red sign was not even visible to me, blocked by hanging tree leaves. I went to the Civic Center and filed a protest with the police.

.

On Monday, June 18, I received an answer claim the parking citation to be valid as there was no obstruction to the view of the new sign. I have attached several photographs showing that the view was indeed obstructed from “MY view.”

.

Further, the protest form clearly states, in red ink, that if I disagree with this determination, I would have to appeal within 21 days from the date of the ticket, after which I loose all right of appeal. The problem is that this notice was mailed to my Los Gatos Post Office Box on June 14, the 21st day after the ticket was issued, the post mark clearly recorded this, though it is difficult to reproduce. I do have the envelope so this date can be confirmed. What makes this all so ironic is that my birthday is June 15th. I am very clear as to the progression of events.

.

I was cheated of the “right of appeal.”

.

I leave it to common sense to prevail in this situation.

.

Ed Bellezza
P.O. Box 1992
Los Gatos, CA 95031

.

p.s.: I made all copies as legible as possible but I assume you have a copy of the one form that is barely legible
in the attached documents.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: