Eclectic Muddlehood

How's this for a perplexing beginning? I am a great many things, but none of them are me. At least not in my entirety. This is the little corner where I attempt to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts as I muddle through being a wife, a mother and a woman... among other things.

Name:
Location: Virginia, United States

Here, in no particular order, is a short list of my parts from the mundane to the pretentious, some or all of which may surface in future attempts to work on the whole: wife, mother, doula, childbirth educator, writer, yoga student, homeschooler, amature organic gardner, kitchen witch, all-around foodie, spiritual truth-seeker, daughter, clutter-bug, complusive list maker, bibliophile, homemaker, friend, homebirth/natural birth advocate, impulse shopper, wine snob, knitter, artist, lover, sensuist, and email junkie (There may be more later, but that's it for now.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Discriminatory Practices of the County Parking Police

Despite the rain today, I packed up my three small children and headed to the polls to do my civic duty and fulfill my responsibility to vote. After I wrangled all of them into their car seats and slid behind the wheel, I noticed a small damp envelop stuck under my left windshield wiper. I got back out of the car to grab it only to discover a $35 parking ticket with yesterday's date for an expired state inspection sticker. Yes, my inspection sticker is expired. By seven days. But let me take a minute to share why this seriously enrages me.

First, here's the back story on why the car wasn't inspected yet. Several months ago when I was still pregnant, a young woman in her late teens or early twenties managed to rip out the driver's side headlight of our new parked minivan with the steel bumper of her daddy's gigantic super SUV while I was inside the grocery store. We opted to wait to fix the damage until after the babies were born so we wouldn't be without the only vehicle that could hold all three car seats when the babies were just born. We finally got all of the insurance paperwork sorted out last month and the car went into the shop last week. We just got it back on Friday night. Because it was the headlight that was damaged, we couldn't pass inspection until it was fixed. Now, I know in theory, we should have had it inspected this weekend, but we ran out of time getting other household chores on the never-ending to do list done instead like repairing water-damaged dry wall and fixing the broken kitchen sink.

I am not upset about the ticket itself. Our sticker is indeed expired. What upsets me is the fact that my vehicle was ticketed while it was parked in my assigned parking space, in front of my townhouse at 11:56am. I find this highly discriminatory for two reasons. First, I believe this practice discriminates against at-home parents. Those who work a full time job and don't make the same sacrifices our family does to allow me to stay home with our children don't have their cars parked at home at that time of day. Only the handful of work-at-home and stay-at-home parents on our street have the misfortune of having their vehicles vulnerable during daytime hours. Second, I believe this is discriminatory based on our financial status. Those families in our subdivision who can afford to pay upwards of a half million dollars for a single family home and therefore a garage and driveway to park their vehicles in are not targeted as their cars are on private property. However, because the only home in this area that we could afford was a townhome without a garage or driveway, we are vulnerable even when our vehicles are parked in our assigned spaces on a privately owned and maintained street directly in front of our homes.

The citation states that I have five calendar days to resolve this issue and that I may contest it in County District Court. Even though I may still have to pay the $35, I am seriously contemplating loading all three children in the car to brave the rain again tomorrow just to exercise my civic right to speak my mind about what I deem an unfair practice that targets less affluent at-home parents. That is, after I take the car to get inspected first.

5 Comments:

Blogger Regan said...

Go get 'em. You need to be heard. :-) Tammi

4:07 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

They got me for expired tags while I was parked at the rec center during Musical Story time.

Similarly, I had tried to get mine done, but was confused due to complications in registering an out-of-state hybrid.

But, yeah, Weds. mid-morning at the rec center-it was either a SAHM mom or a retiree.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I can't say that I agree with your reasons that this was unfair. If you've broken the law, you've broken the law and I think you have nothing to contest. Filing a complaint might be an issue, but frankly, if you haven't done what you were supposed to, then I can't see what leg you have to stand on.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Rose Child said...

I understand that I do indeed have an expired inspection sticker and will most likely have to pay the ticket. The ticket itself is not so much the issue. What upsets me is the targeting of a specific portion of the population. If the family at the end of the street has a expired inspection sticker, but their vehicle is parked in their driveway, they cannot be ticketed. To me this is unfair.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

that's true- if it's in your driveway it can't be ticketed. But if that same person goes anywhere else they are subjected to the same laws. Homeowners associations have similar rules. It's to help blight. I don't think you were targeted because of economic status (though I'm sure everyone will disagree with me), but even if you were what on earth could you fight about a valid ticket? I got a speeding ticket once when I was speeding and I paid it because I knew I was speeding and had broken the law. We can't just fight laws because we feel like they are enforced in a suspicious way.

11:35 PM  

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