Monday, March 22, 2004

The state bilks the non-affluent once again

I just got slammed with a notice in the mail from Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP cum City of Chicago Department of Revenue demanding I pay $1230 in parking tickets from 1994-1995 or get the Denver boot. Obviously, the city has been delinquent in enforcing its own laws for years and now is helping a private law firm reap in the windfall of additional revenue. Why is this an injustice?

I got those tickets as an in-limbo college student who couldn't afford a nice $150+/month parking slot in a high-rise apt building equipped with doorman and security cameras, much less the ticket fees. I can't remember how many times I'd blow 1/3 of a tank just searching endlessly for a parking spot, or how many times, the city would pull a surprise No Parking or Street Cleaning notice out of nowhere. Plus, as everyone knew, parking tickets were jokes. The city effectively encouraged parking tickets by their incompetent collection skills. If enforcement was strict and swift, then the city would have been sending a strong message that they back up what they preach. But because it wasn't, what else were they communicating but that parking violations are not a big deal. Now, I and thousands of non-affluent Chicagoans are being asked to reward the city and some carpetbagger law firm for their incompetence. Governments are strapped for cash and who do they turn to to make up for it? Not the yuppies of Lake Point Towers or the Presidential. No, it's chumps like us, living from credit card to credit card in our tiny apartments waiting for the next drop in the price of tripe.

The city's behavior is no example for parents rearing children. If I were a father who gave his kids a rule, which they proceeded to break repeatedly, and failed to enforce it with ANY penalties, then waited years till they were teens to kick the shit out of them for all their breaches of the rule, I'd be hauled into family court. But such models of morality are beyond the city's grasp. I'm wondering who in Linebarger knows who in the Dept of Revenue.

Yes, I did break the law. I should pay for my heinous crimes. But I don't think justice is denied if the city owe up a little to their dereliction by showing some leniency. Grrrr. This is why hearing Republicans opine about what a bad deal the rich get with all the taxes they have to pay is so bad for my teeth.