My parking ticket saga continues (see the other parts here), as today while at court to support Kurt I was “served” by the friendly Peter “Sturdy” Thomas of the Keene police. Here’s the complaint he foisted upon me, alleging I committed a “VIOLATION” of city ordinance 94-152 B1. As you can see, the original was completely illegible so Sturdy took the time to trace over most of it for me – such service! Basically they are claiming I parked at an expired meter and didn’t pay for the meter.
I’ve been meaning to post my correspondence about this incident with the Keene police’s parking bureau head, Ginger Reyes, and this gives me the perfect opportunity. (I believe she’s the angry-looking blonde parking enforcement person so many Keeniacs are unfortunately too familiar with.) Here’s the situation. We returned from breakfast downtown to find a ticket on the car and despite it not being me who parked the car, it is my car so I told my partner that I’d handle the situation. As the first parking ticket I’d been given in 2008 was mysteriously paid and my second was allegedly wiped out (tickets that aren’t sent to prosecution are dropped after 90 days, according to the former KPD chief), I figured I’d continue with my approach of writing a letter to KPD asking them for proof of my obligation to obey their ordinances. Here’s an excerpt of the letter I hand-delivered to them on 11/20 (.PDF):
I am a peaceful man and will do no harm. I honor my agreements, and to that end I would like to remind you and your fellow agents that there is no evidence of an agreement between us. I have requested proof of my obligation to obey your agency’s ordinances and statutes in the past, and none was ever provided. You’re still welcome to provide proof of my obligation at any time and providing it is legitimate (not obtained under duress and with full knowledge and consent of both parties), I’ll happily pay your fine. I’m sure you understand that common sense dictates that one who claims to be owed money is expected to show upon demand, the proof of their claim, particularly in the form of the signed instrument (contract) that binds me to the obligation that is being claimed. The Uniform Commercial Code (which is part of your organization’s own statutes) makes this pretty clear.
I am at peace and have harmed no one. Will you continue to attempt to initiate conflict with me or will you do the honorable thing and discharge this matter?
A couple weeks went by and I received this response from Ginger Reyes (.PDF) at KPD. In it she claims the following:
All of your questions were answered in a previous letter sent to you April 10.2008 by Captain Meola. The same laws, ordinances still apply.
Here’s the letter she’s talking about from Ken Meola (.PDF), now the new KPD chief. Here’s my original letter from 2008. He never answered the questions I asked, he merely cited his agency’s rules without proving I have any obligation to obey them, as I then pointed out in my follow-up to Ginger (.PDF), which I hand-delivered on 12/16. Here’s an excerpt:
Kenneth merely cited some of your society’s rules, that you call ordinances. Citing your ordinances does not prove my obligation to obey them. Allow me to show you why. See, I have ordinances too:
Section 1.2b -All people employed by a municipal corporation who send me letters must include a $1,000 processing fee.
Now, where’s my check? I’m kidding of course. Just because I have ordinances and statutes written down on paper doesn’t oblige you to obey them. I imagine you can see that pretty clearly, now apply it in reverse. Just because you have ordinances and statutes written down on paper doesn’t oblige me to obey them. I would never force my rules on you, as I am a peaceful person. I honor my neighbors’ choices, and do no harm. You however are more than happy to force your arbitrary rules on me and in this case are willing to aggress against me by stealing my car. I don’t appreciate your threats – they aren’t very neighborly.
Were you actually working for a private organization that doesn’t get its funding from threats of violence against peaceful people, I’d actually respect your claim over the downtown parking spaces. I respect private property owners and their rules. However, the “City of Keene” is an agency with a monopoly over coercive force and therefore nothing you claim to own is legitimately owned, in the same way that a thief does not legitimately own the things he steals.
It’s pretty clear at this point that you have no proof of obligation and have resulted to overt threats of aggression. I am at peace and have harmed no one. Will you continue to initiate conflict with me or will you do the honorable thing and discharge this matter?
Clearly they have chosen to continue to initiate conflict with me and the arraignment is scheduled for Feb 9th, 2010 at 9am in Keene district court. I will not be pleading out so when this goes to trial, I will not pay a fine nor do community service. I have yet to decide on my approach. Here’s the discussion thread on the Free Keene Forum.