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Discussion Starter #1
I got my Pilot a month ago and need to unload my old car as it represents several thousand dollars sitting there wasting insurance and soon re-registration costs. What a hassle it has been so far.

I knew there was a law in my city against parking a car in a parking lot (other than a car dealership) in order to display it for sale. I understood that law because it is protecting someone else's property and grocery stores don't want to allow their parking to become the local used car lot. But I had been told it was ok to park it on the street as long as it was otherwise legally parked.

I had also seen an article in the local paper where a guy had sued 3 local cities in Federal court claiming that generic laws against having a for sale sign in a car on the street was unconstitutional. All three cases were settled out of court with the laws being repealed and the city paying his attorney fees. It seems the courts have a problem with limiting the type of signs people put on a car. If the city allows bumper stickers then you can't prohibit advertising. Freedom of speech thing. So I thought I was doubly safe.

Well I parked my car on a busy street around the corner from my house and whamo - I got a ticket within 2 hours. "Displayed for sale" it read. I called the police department and the traffic sargent eventually got back to me. I told him I was not parked in someone's parking lot and asked why I got the ticket. Oh he said, "Your right, the section the officer cited relates to parking lots, however another law says you can't operate or park a car for the purpose of displaying advertising anywhere, even a public street." But he agreed to talk with the city attorney. The sargent called me back and said, "Yes, the city attorney said they are going to dismiss your ticket. They are looking at repealing the law."

So I waited about a week and parked my car at the same place. Whamo - I got a second ticket. Not only that but the officer put grease paint all over my back window with the date and some other numbers. It took me twenty minutes to get it off.

I called the traffic sargent to ask what was going on. He wouldn't return my calls, so I decided to go down to city hall before work the next morning and talk to the city prosecuter and the traffic sargent in person. The prosecuter wouldn't talk to me but his assistant said that they were going to dismiss both tickets now. Hadn't been done yet but they would and she took a copy of both tickets. I went over to the police office and talked to the traffic sargent. He told me that he had found out the city council was going to take up the matter that very night and he had been told not to change enforcement until they did. He was going to make sure the word got out the next day though. Why was the orange grease paint necessary? "Lots of cities are using that now".

The next day I called the city and talked to the City Attorney himself. He told me the city council had indeed repealed the ordinance the previous night based on his own recommendation to them. It feels good to get a stupid law like this taken care of. So I was happy and thought everything was taken care of.

So now today - three days later I park my car on the street and whamo - I got a third ticket "Displayed for Sale".:3: :3: I called and talked to a police supervisor explaining how frustrating this was. Of course he and every officer around him had no idea what I was talking about. He refused to try to find out anything about this law being changed because he can't call anyone on the weekend (I guess phones don't work on sat or sun) and said I would have to fight it in court. They were out writing multiple tickets for this offense today he said. I tried to tell him as nicely as I could that if it was important enough for them to be out writing the tickets, it is important enough to find out whether the law has been changed.

This guy wouldn't do a thing. Can I file a formal complaint so that I know this will get some attention and get resolved once and for all? "You should call someone monday." I had to beg to get the name of a commander who would be on duty tomorrow morning. If the commander refuses to follow-up then I'm going to call the mayor himself at home (even on sunday) and get him to do what he should have done last week: Tell the police to stop bothering me.

Now it's 11:30 pm and I can't sleep because I can't get this out of my head. Maybe sharing it here will help.
 

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Hey Doug,

Sorry to hear of your misfortunes.

I've got lots of great suggestions, but unfortunately, I'm pretty sure most of them violate some kind of other law, and would most likely wind you up in jail - well, of course, only if you get caught.

Gosh, college sure was fun...

If you can't sleep, why not take a trip down to the local donut shop? I'm sure you can find someone there than can help you!

:p
 

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This is why there are elected city officials. Call your city council member Monday AM.
 

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dsmith said:
Now it's 11:30 pm and I can't sleep because I can't get this out of my head. Maybe sharing it here will help.
At first blush I think calling the Mayor and reminding him that it is the JOB of Law Enforcement to KNOW the laws in order to be able to enforce the laws. Since they are citing you for something which is no longer a law, their conduct could be construed as discrimination and/or harassment - particularly since you have already informed them of the change.

However, unless you are buddies with the Mayor, I would not recommend calling him at home. You might be labelled something that is less than becoming, and all communication from that moment forward between you and the City could quite possibly fall on deaf ears and numb a potentially positive outcome.

Might be best to contact the City Attorney on Monday. During your conversation, document the points made during your conversation with the City Attorney, conclude your conversation by reiterating these points so that there is no chance for misunderstanding. Then, send him/her a letter memorializing your conversation and the resolutions made in that conversation. Send it certified (important). That way if this happens to get enlarged to prosecution, at least you have something documenting your situation and your movements to resolve it.

Judges like that.

To me, I don't see this as a real problem - you were acting on good faith based on representations made to you by municipal representatives in a position to know the law.

Good Luck!
 

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SoapPlant said:
I've got lots of great suggestions, but unfortunately, I'm pretty sure most of them violate some kind of other law, and would most likely wind you up in jail - well, of course, only if you get caught.
Yeah, a few of those whipped through my mind too.

If I were him and I had the money I'd buy as many junk vehicles as I could and plant them up and down that street with "For Sale" signs on them. Of course, the phone number would be to the Police station and I would be careful to register every one of them under the Mayor's name.

P.S. - The opinion expressed above is meant to be humor and is for entertainment purposes only. It is not meant as a suggested course of action. :rolleyes:
 

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Wow. What car were you selling? At least it was not your new Pilot.
 

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Boy, I feel for you. I hate this kind of beaurocratic run-around. On the other hand, knowing that the law is repealed, you can have some fun seeing how big you can get your ticket collection - they should all be dismissed anyway.:1:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update

autobahn said:
Wow. What car were you selling? At least it was not your new Pilot.
It's a 93 Mazda MPV.

I called the police this morning and was told there is no commander on duty today. I would hate to think the guy last night lied to me. I better assume the best intentions. So I asked to speak to the new Sgt on duty to see if he knew anything about this law being changed and whether I could park my car without getting a ticket today. Like the guy last night, he also said he had heard nothing about it. He said among other things and I quote "That's life." He also said "it shouldn't be hard to get the tickets dismissed if what you're telling me is true." That's probably true. I pushed him to call the weekday traffic sargent (who I had spoken to last week) at home to verify with him what is going on. He said he guessed he could do that but wouldn't guarantee that he would get a hold of him nor guarantee that I wouldn't get another ticket today.

Thanks for the advice. I am concerned that I'm going to be labeled a problem and that will cause more problems for me. I guess I feel that since no one on the city staff is going to inform the police it seems to be up to me to ensure they know about this change in the law or I'm going to keep getting ticket after ticket. I'm also concerned about others who are getting tickets and simply paying them because they don't know any better.

I'm still debating whether to call the mayor at home today. This is a modest size city of about 100,000 people (Sandy City) and no I don't know the mayor personally. I think the reality is that even if I get another ticket today it will be dismissed. Probably best to just ignore it for now and not get heated about it. This would make a great article for the local paper though.
 

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Just because they are policemen doesn't mean they know the law. Don't they go over these changes at roll call?

Copperpoppy has a great suggestion about documenting and sending the certified letter.
 

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If you don't get this resolved to your satisfaction, I would take it to the highest court - the court of public opinion. There is nothing that will make politicians and their appointments squirm faster than the local beat reporter from the paper inquiring why the police department is issuing citations for repealed laws.

I work directly for an elected official and I have seen the squirm and felt the sh*t run downhill.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I called a city councilman on Sunday. My purpose in calling was to encourage him to get the word out to the police that the law had changed. He tried to call the City Attorney. But before the city attorney could get back to him, the councilman called me back to say that he and the assistant city administrator had read through the law and the changes and still thought I couldn't park on the street. The section he quoted me said that no one can use a public street for private gain unless he gets written permission from the city traffic engineer and chief of police. He owns a business that runs trucks in the city and I asked him if he had his permission slip in hand. "oh, I guess you have a point". I told him he better talk to the city attorney.

The city attorney called me at 10pm sunday and said, "Did the councilman tell you that the changes don't go into effect until the law is published?" I couldn't believe my ears. I asked him if he thought it was a good idea to continue to issue citations on a law they admit was bad and therefore repealed. He said sheepishly, "no, it's not a good idea." He was upset with me at that point and told me the city prosecutor would call the next day to resolve it.

He didn't call. The court confirmed that my tickets had not been dismissed yet. So, I sent a letter certified mail, return receipt requested, documenting that they said the tickets would be dismissed and asked them to tell me when that had taken place.

I talked to the traffic sgt who said they were told to send word out last monday to stop enforcing this law - even though it wasn't published yet. I also called the court on friday and my first two tickets have been dismissed. The third not yet.

I've had my car in the driveway all week. Hit a dog enough times and he finally obeys. Today, I parked it out on the street where it got the three tickets. Hopefully the word is out to the cops and I won't get a ticket.
 
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