Man issued ticket for snapping meter maid photo

September 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's a new twist in Oakland's battle over parking meters. A man who took a picture of a parking enforcement vehicle stopped in a red zone, thinks he's being punished for snapping the photo.

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"I saw a parking enforcement officer on Grand Avenue parked at a red zone," said Tim Jue.

Jue is a journalist with KFSN, an ABC affiliate in Fresno. When he photographed the Oakland parking enforcement officer, he didn't count on a $262 parking citation landing in his mailbox two weeks later.

According to the citation, Jue was parked in a bus lane at 2:27 a.m.

"I was at home sleeping. The car was at my house," said Jue.

The supposed violation happened on the same day Jue says he took the picture of the red zone, which is a few blocks away from the bus stop.

"The parking control officer knew that I took this photo, and in essence, when you add one and one together, it's a little bit fishy," said Jue.

"It's right in line with their predatory, hawkish, ticket giving all around Oakland," said Oakland business owner Steven Cyrus Pishdad.

"I understand what's going on. They need the money and they want to get it by any means necessary," said business owner Smoky Memel.

But the city says parking enforcement officers are allowed to park in a red zone.

"It doesn't feel fair. I think that red zones are red zones for a particular reason because they need to be clear," said Oakland City Councilmember Jane Brunner.

Councilmember Brunner sought answers after the parking enforcement director refused to speak to ABC7 on camera. She said Jue's citation should include the officer's badge number, first initial, and last name. It does not. Jue has contested the ticket but has not gotten any answers.

"I've been put on hold for 20-30 minutes on end. It's just been a very long process," said Jue.

Jue's complaint is apparently one of many that has the city working to replace its antiquated phone system and soon Brunner says parking enforcement officers will undergo customer service training.

"When someone has a little bit of power, I have experienced people abusing it, and I hope that's not true," said Councilmember Brunner.

Brunner says the city administrator is now launching an investigation into Jue's situation.

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