Stop Me When I Start Lying: I Work for the Devil
Fucking right I said it. I know it sounds overly harsh and it probably is based on use of the word devil. But it was the most concise way to convey my point. I am on the student appeals board for the GT Parking Office, which I have found to be a completely immoral and unethical system. I am borderline ashamed to tell people that I work there even though I work on a board intended to help the student combat their tickets. Lemme explain what I mean and if it still sounds like I'm being harsh, lemme kno:
- Georgia Tech is the only place on Earth, well at least America, where if you see a curb that isn't yellow and has no hashmarks with no No Parking Zone sign in sight, you can still receive a $50 No Parking Zone ticket. The rule on campus is that a parking spot is denoted by two white lines (lines or brackets) no matter what. However, this is not written anywhere in the parking rules brochure you receive with your $620 parking pass that is supposed to be the Bible of parking rules for the Institution. Why not you say? Because if the students know that, the parking officers can write less preventable tickets, which makes less money. But that's just the tip of the iceberg
- Our parking pass is $620 this year (and usually rises about $30-40 every year) and it only allows you to park in one designated parking zone on campus. I have friends in colleges nationwide, there is only one school I've encountered with a more expensive parking pass. And every other person I've spoken to has more flexibility about where you can park with their passes. Futhermore, there are certain cars where the parking pass lays on the window or doesn't fit around the rear view mirror and other people who have passes but forget to display them. Rather than running the tag to see if the person has a parking pass, the officers find it easier (and more profitable) to write a $50 Unregistered vehicle ticket than an appropriate $10 Failure to Display ticket. And in many cases, if they looked a little harder, they would see the pass, it just doesn't sit down like usual. Jerks. But let's move on...
- It seems very feasible to me, that if you have a parking pass for a lot where you have to swipe into a gate, every once in a while you may leave your card somewhere. If you make it to this lot and don't have your card, obviously you can't get in. So it also seems logical they may park in the next ungated lot in order to go get their cards from their rooms or wherever. However, in most cases, by the time they go grab the card, they have a ticket already. What they don't know is that they can go online and file an "Out of Area request" for these situations and have no fear of being ticketed. However, once again, this was conveniently left out of the rules brochure because if people know, they will use it, which means less preventable tickets written, and less money coming in an the students' expense.
- We must have the worst meters in the world. Some are already blinking "Failed" when you park in the spot, meaning you have to move because a failed meter is a 'No Parking Zone' and $50 ticket. Others just don't register your time as you are putting your money into them. Others will take your money and register your time but switch to "Failed" before the time you have paid for has expired. Will Parking have them fixed? Hell no. If you have one of these problems, there is a number you can call to explain the situation and not have to fear tickets. Once again, that was conveniently left out of the rules brochure to keep the preventable tickets rolling in and the money that comes from them.
- We have several parking spots on all sides of campus where the lines have faded off, signs have been removed from their posts or the fences they were attached to, and hash marks have faded away in places. We already discussed the lack of "No Parking Zone" signs. There are plenty of deceptive reserved spots and other designations also. The simplest solution would be to repaint the appropriate lines, paint handicap spots blue, and reserved spots yellow. Problem solved. Once again, progress and clarity are not profitable to the parking office. We see handicap tickets all the time because there are handicap spots that have completely lost all hash marks and markers. Handicap tickets are worth $500 by the way. We used to have the power to reduce them to $125 if you've never received a handicap ticket before; this year, the powers that be have decided that even if it's someone's first ever ticket, they gotta pay at least $250. And I doubt maintenance has or will ever hear anything about fixing those problems I highlighted earlier. Why? Preventable tickets = more money.
- The population of the school has increased each of the past three academic years, by about 5000 people I believe. Why is it that every chance they get parking lots are being eliminated left and right. Architecture building parking lot? A grassy lawn with a sidewalk now. The library lot (this was big considering how many people are used to spending nights in the library doing work, many of whom also commute)? Being turned into some building that I've yet to get a logical explanation for. The meters down the hill from the parking lot(a logical back up plan since they are axing the main library lot)? Gone. E-64 coliseum lot, where we usually park for track practice because its right beside our locker room? Being turned into an extra gym for our basketball team (dead last in the ACC last year). By the way, the Men's track team's scholarships have been cut in half despite many top 4 ACC finishes including runner-up to National Champion Florida State. And they're building basketball a new gym and cutting out our parking too, but that's a whole nother blog. There are more examples also, ridiculously irrational to me. Especially citing the next point...
- During football games, everyone who paid their $620 to have a parking pass on the East side of campus has to evacuate these parking spots so that the parking office can charge game fans big-money to park there. Any car left in their spot, for any reason, is getting towed. The towing fine is $125 plus any other outstanding tickets, $75 of which is non-refundable no matter the circumstance. Consequently, they have to move their cars over to West Campus, where I live and park, congesting our parking situation. To add insult to injury, they try to charge random game fans $15 to park on west campus also. Meaning the parking situation becomes pure and utter chaos. I once had to park a good 3 parking lots farther away from my usual spot because of this congestion. I was not pleased.
- This one is particularly ridiculous. As I walk out to the track a few days ago, I see my Track coach's car with a ticket in a legitimate spot by the track. My event coach, Nat Page (who has coached stellar athletes and champions at the conference, NCAA, and World and Olympic levels) was hired by the Institution to coach its track team, but isn't permitted to park at the track? He only goes two places on campus: his office in the Athletic Association (which he had to pay for the $620+ parking pass out of his check to park at) and the track, where he is required to be every afternoon to perform his job duties. I had to argue with my boss and other meaningful people in the parking office about their claims that his "Official Business Pass" only lasts two hours. WTF??? IF THE TRACK COACH WHO IS REQUIRED TO SPEND MORE THAN TWO HOURS AT THE TRACK DOESN'T HAVE OFFICIAL BUSINESS THERE, WHO THE FUCK DOES?? I feel like this pass was meant to keep other people out of these spots to keep them free for the people who need to be at the track......like a track coach. I won't even start on how bad they do the track athletes.
- It took me working there to realize how silly the parking situation was and how "ninja-like" the parking officers are, seemingly being everywhere at all times. You can 'run in' to grab something, be moving a television into your room, have your flashers on, does not matter. If you are not within a plain view of your car for over about 45 seconds, you may come back to find a ticket. I figured to myself, they must be on commission or something. Even though they're assholes who take their jobs too seriously and enforce an immoral system, if they made more money for writing more tickets, I could start to understand their motives. BUT THEY DON'T. This confirmed my suspicions that they are jerks just for the sake of being jerks and because their fake badges give them the right. My roommate got a ticket once and he barely stopped the car. He knew he was at risk waiting there and circled the block, he got back to the parking office with the ticket in his hand to hand to him.
- As for my experience on the appeals board, I won't lie a lot of the cases brought before us are just students doing stupid stuff and hoping we'll have sympathy, which works on some cases if you don't have a history. I will say about 60% of tickets are in this fashion. Some very outlandish, such as "I figured if I parked on the grass by the dorm, I wasn't in anyone's way" and other foolishness like that. However the other 40% invested at least some thought into why their ticket should be reduced or dismissed. Now, my boss's boss is trying to make it so certain appeals are automatically filtered out and unappealable no matter the reason for the ticket. And he can't figure out why we're stalling on helping him. It's immoral and fucked up.
- There are people working in the parking office who are constantly on our backs for whatever reason. "They're dismissing and reducing too many tickets", "they don't do anything, why are we paying them?" "blah, blah, blah" whatever. The fact is everyday we either have people coming in for appeals or we are making decisions on written appeals. But this is the root of my problem with these people: we work like an hour a day at $8 an hour. What are you worried about us for? They make more in one full workday than we make in a week. And you trying to push to get rid of us? We make chump change, we getting pennies. There are people sitting back there making $50K a year or more that DON'T DO SHIT. Get off my nuts, close the YouTube on your computer and do some fucking work of your own.
- Last year, I got towed by the parking office twice. The first time, policemen (not parking officers, but policemen, sheriffs maybe) who patrol the parking lot that we usually parked at for working our football games, told us that if we parked in a certain corner of the parking lot, we'd never have any problems. HE LIED. We came back from a 11-hour day of catering for the football games to find we would have to spend the checks we had just received to get our cars out of impound. Fucked up, I know. You can imagine what this did to my perception of parking officers and policemen; ain't like I liked them before that. Tow #2 happened shortly after my car was stolen off of campus. After being missing for about a week, Atlanta police call me and tell me that they found my stolen car and have it in impound. So I have to pay over $200 to get my car back from the city of Atlanta. So when I finally get it and bring it back to campus and clean out my car, I find my parking pass (interesting because they had stolen my rearview mirror) and sit it in the change tray to keep up with it. I come back to find my car towed. But why I think to myself?? The same officers who write "unregistered vehicle" tickets to cars because they claim they can't see them if they don't hang down enough or don't wanna check the tag, somehow saw and checked my parking pass as it sat in my change tray and towed by car because I was displaying a stolen parking pass. I GOT TOWED FOR STEALING AND SHOWING MY OWN FUCKING PARKING PASS. I should kept parking across the street over in the hood where my car was "safe," it got stolen about 3 weeks after I bought the pass and moved it onto campus.