<b>NAILED:</b>  A violator is ticketed by one of the police department’s 14 parking enforcement officers.

Paul Wellman

NAILED: A violator is ticketed by one of the police department’s 14 parking enforcement officers.

Parking Ticket System to Be Studied

City Orders In-Depth Look at Police Department Protocols

Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Three years after the Santa Barbara Police Department’s office manager was arrested for embezzling more than $600,000 in parking ticket funds, City Hall has approved a $55,000 contract with an outside consulting firm to study the ratty and outdated citation system. A proposal request was issued last October and received a single response from J R Parking Consultants based in Aliso Viejo. The study ​— ​which will review the entire ticketing process, from writing to payment to processing, and will include a look at the department’s 14 parking enforcement officers and three office staff ​— ​was initially budgeted at $25,000.

During the 2012/2013 fiscal year, the department issued 83,166 tickets, netting $2.35 million in revenue. Nine of those tickets were challenged in small-claims court, one successfully. The year before, 78,954 citations were issued for $2.28 million. Thirteen tickets were reviewed in court, and two were dismissed.

About a year after Karen Flores was caught in her embezzlement scheme, the department hired longtime city employee Lori Pedersen to take her place in the business office. (Pedersen had previously worked in the City Administrator’s Office, Public Works department, and Downtown Parking division.) Before her hire, City Finance Director Bob Samario was tasked with patching the two-decade-old ticket-processing system with temporary updates and safeguards until a more permanent overhaul could be completed. According to Pedersen, a comprehensive review of the system and its related operations has not taken place in years. “This type of analysis is only done as needed,” she said in an email Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood ​— ​explaining that a fresh system would likely include cloud computing technology ​— ​said the study will also examine if it makes sense to outsource ticket-processing duties. City Administrator Jim Armstrong said the same thing during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Harwood noted that some police departments contract products and services from vendors ​— ​such as Xerox ​— ​to do the ticket mailing and processing while the department takes in the revenue. The SBPD recently went that route with its dog-licensing duties, Harwood said, and outsourced the work to a Texas-based company.

In related news, City Hall gave the Waterfront Department permission to spend $230,000 on new parking-control equipment. The department ​— ​which operates eight parking lots with what city staff called “fully depreciated” and “obsolete” equipment ​— ​will install the same Skidata brand gates and terminals found at the 12 downtown parking lots.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

200+ tickets a day?

This isnt a public service, its revenue generation for the city. The overzealous meter maids are the dearth of our city and our society. I have never understood why people do this job. No one likes a parking ticket and no one likes a meter maid. Possibly the worst job in the entire country. Your duty is to give people bad days, every day. No wonder these "officers" appear to be so miserable.

No one fights them, because its such a pain in the butt. Its easier to just pay the extortion fee and move on... pissed at the city, the SBPD and the whole concept of fining your citizens for innocuous and meaningless violations.

Remember that most of these tickets are for very minor issues. A few minutes over the meter, not noticing the sign or the change of time on the sign... getting tickets on national holidays... Or how they do it in Samarkand, where they dont even have signs on the street, they put a few at the entrance to the neighborhood and call those adequate.

iamsomeguyinsb (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2014 at 8:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's pathetic to use our Police Department to play gotcha with people parking their cars, Way too many times I've had guests get ticketed for a bogus parking/registration violation on an evening when there's an event at the County Bowl, since officers go patrolling for dollars in the nearby neighborhood. I've heard the same thing happens around SBCC when classes first begin and students are unfamiliar with the area. But they let boats, campers, RVs, trailers, all kinds of wheeled vehicles take up parking spaces with no problem whatsoever. A study of this whole inconsistent mess is more than overdue.

gardengal (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2014 at 9:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I suspect residents living near the County Bowl aren't complaining when 'les flics' ticket concertgoers who park in their driveways.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2014 at 10:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I fought an unjust parking ticket and the woman they nabbed embezzling decided against me. I need to find that paperwork.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2014 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Fortunately or unfortunately we don't have parking meters, I only say this because in Keene, NH they have a group called "Robin Hood and his band of merrymen" who go around in front of the meter maids with bags full of change to fill expired parking meters. They were arrested but their case was eventually dismissed on First Amendment grounds:

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2014 at 11:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Call it revenue generation, but that many people violating the signs, it cant be the police fault. A discussion with business owners needs to take place to find out if they support the removal of restrictions.

skaterspoint (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2014 at 3:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We would all feel a lot safer in this town if the police issued a heck of a lot more traffic citations, and got all the squatter RVs off our streets. Go for it!

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2014 at 4:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A separate issue but part of the scandal of parking ticket processing as city revenue is that the hearing officer used by the police to decide the validity of a parking citation is invariably a person of former police background. This is the fox protecting the chicken or something like that. These hearing officers are paid by the city and will not bite that hand even if they weren't conditioned to disbelieve 'citizens' anyway. Why aren't civilians used for this job?

RHS (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 9:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What frosts me is ambitious "No Parking Signs".

They like to post No Parking between 9am and 12am, (example).

Now depending when you were born The US Government Printing Office, "Style Book" defined 12am as Noon and 12pm as Midnight and nowadays defines 12am as Midnight and 12pm as Noon, total bureaucratic ambiguity.

The NIST a department of the Department of Commerce that is tasked with the atomic clock and time keeper for the United States.

NIST says, this:

"Are noon and midnight 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.?

This is perhaps the trickiest time question of them all. The best answer is that the terms 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. cause confusion and should not be used.

To illustrate this, consider that "a.m." and "p.m." are abbreviations for "ante meridiem" and "post meridiem." They mean "before noon" and "after noon," respectively. Of course, noon is neither before nor after noon; it is simply noon. Therefore, neither the "a.m." nor "p.m." designation is correct. On the other hand, midnight is both 12 hours before noon and 12 hours after noon. Therefore, either 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. could work as a designation for midnight, but both would be ambiguous.

To get around the problem, the terms 12 noon and 12 midnight should be used instead of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. For example, a bank might be open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Or, a grocery store might be open daily until midnight. If you are making schedules, times such as 12:01 a.m. (one minute after midnight), or 11:59 p.m. (one minute before midnight) also can eliminate ambiguity. This method is used by the railroads and airlines.

City Government relies on the BS of "Prima Facie Law" and the "Style Book" in their misuse of a.m and p.m. which is comical as both have Latin roots.

So does Government serve itself or the People?

Most No Parking is an entrapment Zone and they make ambiguous signs with forethought and malice to fill their coffers.

Don't believe me, go down to the Hotel Zone off Cabrillo and look for No Parking signs with 12am in them and tell me if 12am means Noon or Midnight.

No Parking is a Gotcha Cash Cow for Municipal Governments unless you carry around a current version of the "Style Book" in your back pocket, we all do - right.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 10:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I cannot count the number of times I have seen a motorist pull up to the businesses on E Anapamu (Paradise Found for example) and park in front of the fire hydrant, which is also a red zone, get out of his/her car and leave the car there for 5-35 minutes. No ticket. And this is directly next to the driveway leading into a public parking garage where you get free 75 minutes of parking. Since I'm in the area frequently, I started taking photos of the cars there with the license plates visible. Then I decided I didn't want to spend my time, probably fruitlessly, trying to get better parking enforcement in the area. Not to mention more traffic enforcement to bust the blatant cell phone talkers/drivers careening around Anapamu/State corners to the peril of pedestrians. Parking limits are usually legitimate. There's no reason that the City or the county should have to provide a place for people to park their vehicles beyond a reasonable amount of time to shop, do errands, attend an event, etc.

Ibid (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 2:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who cares if 12am is noon or midnight. If the city were writing tickets at 3pm, under your logic, then you can get angry...but thats not happening.

skaterspoint (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 8:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who cares, law-abiding tax-paying Citizens, the People , that are entrapped by ambiguous signs.

Abusing under Color of Authority is not only illegal but immoral. Parking Restriction signs that are gibberish to the point that the Common Man is not able to discern their meaning, the People care.

Government serves the People, read the Constitution, so it is incumbent on Government to speak with the precision that the Common Citizen understands so they can follow the directions.

Those signs in the tourist/hotel zone, we have to Warn out of town guests about the SCAM.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 9:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, yes... of course, pay $50K to study the parking ticket system... yes, of course, hmmmm, yes that makes SOOOO much sense.

We need to study it very closely.
Check for:
- properly inflated scooter tires
- does everyone have enough Bic pens, even though we use digital handhelds now?
- are the drivers comfortable or are the seats not big enough for the growing American backside?

Yes, study and study. Very important.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 9:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Parking enforcement in Santa Barbara is an intentional scam. It's an essential factor in the city's communication of lack of goodwill towards residents and tourists.The City of Santa Barbara is very proud of its persona as a mean little city, and preserves its image through uniform lack of ethics in city government agencies.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 10:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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