Watt: Lodi’s snow emergency parking ordinance

Last week, I received a foreboding letter with the Lodi Police Department letterhead. The four-page letter included a snow emergency parking citation, the ordinance, and a form letter stating the officer was unable to leave the ticket and requested it sent by mail.

Is this a new policy where the officer does not leave their vehicle? I see the benefit of staying in a warm car and streamline the process of writing multiple tickets, which seemed apparent if you drove through the city that morning.

I got a snow emergency ticket last February and was irritated at what I felt was an arbitrary application of the ordinance.

In past years the public could find information on a snow emergency. Now we take our best guess.

I responded by mailing the fine, applying the cliche of paying in coins (8 pounds). Although, in retrospect, I should have used the latest fad, origami bills of pigs in a donut box. The police response, intimidation of a family member to replace the coins with easier to count currency when I was out of town.

So much for the police motto of “to protect and serve.” Maybe “to harass and collect.”

Regarding this ticket, the surcharge added to fight it, missed work, and attorney fees. I could represent myself. But, to litigate in a court system which receives two-thirds of the fines from local moving violations.

We all know what a big cash cow that is.

If you check NOAA, the U.S. government’s weather database, the reported snowfall totals for Lodi on December 31 was 2.5 inches, which you would think help my case. But a vague ordinance is a city attorney’s dream.

The ordinance states three inches. Do we assume whenever we hear the number 3, a snow emergency is in effect? For example, when the National Weather Service predicts 1 to 3 inches, there is a snow emergency, which brings us back to arbitrary.

So, I will pay the fine, and to the Mayor, City Council members, Police Board, Police Department, and the Director of Public Works on your predatory snow emergency and other revenue-generating policies.

You exemplify the term disservice.

SD Watt,

Lodi

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