Friday, March 23, 2007

Florida city will seize your home over a $5 parking ticket (and my e-mail to them)

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that I haven't been posting much "heavy" stuff of late here. There are several reasons for that. Not the least of which is that I've been playing around with a new blog: one that's going to be completely dedicated to something that's absolutely serious. Stuff like what I'm posting about now is going to be going there when it's ready (and I'll just make links to them from here when I post on there so both of my loyal readers can find them). But in the meantime...

The city council of Brooksville, Florida has voted this week to foreclose on the houses of people who don't pay their parking tickets. Yes you read that right: don't pay a $5 parking ticket and the town of Brooksville will kick you out of house and home. Here's the full story:

Florida: City to Seize Homes Over a $5 Parking Ticket
Brooksville, Florida proposes to foreclose homes and seize cars over less than $20 in parking tickets.

The city council in Brooksville, Florida voted this week to advance a proposal granting city officials the authority to place liens and foreclose on the homes of motorists accused of failing to pay a single $5 parking ticket. Non-homeowners face having their vehicles seized if accused of not paying three parking offenses.

According to the proposed ordinance, a vehicle owner must pay a parking fine within 72 hours if a meter maid claims his automobile was improperly parked, incurring tickets worth between $5 and $250. Failure to pay this amount results in the assessment of a fifty-percent "late fee." After seven days, the city will place a lien on the car owner's home for the amount of the ticket plus late fees, attorney fees and an extra $15 fine. The fees quickly turn a $5 ticket into a debt worth several hundred dollars, growing at a one-percent per month interest rate. The ordinance does not require the city to provide notice to the homeowner at any point so that after ninety days elapse, the city will foreclose. If the motorist does not own a home, it will seize his vehicle after the failure to pay three parking tickets.

Any motorist who believes a parking ticket may have been improperly issued must first pay a $250 "appeal fee" within seven days to have the case heard by a contract employee of the city. This employee will determine whether the city should keep the appeal fee, plus the cost of the ticket and late fees, or find the motorist not guilty. Council members postponed a decision on whether to reduce this appeal fee until final adoption of the measure which is expected in the first week of April.

This is a crazier scam than the red-light cameras ever were.

It honked me off enough when I read this, that I just now fired off the following e-mail to the entire City Council of Brooksville, Florida:

From: Chris Knight (theknightshift@gmail.com)
To: dpugh@ci.brooksville.fl.us,
fburnett@ci.brooksville.fl.us, jbernardini@ci.brooksville.fl.us, lbradburn@ci.brooksville.fl.us, rlewis@ci.brooksville.fl.us
Subject:Voting to seize homes over $5 parking tickets

Dear members of the City Council of Brooksville, Florida:

Claire Wolfe wrote some years ago that "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."

By voting to seize the homes of people who don't pay a $5 parking ticket, you are making it "that time" more than you realize.

Just a friendly word of caution from someone who has spent his life studying history.

sincerely,
Chris Knight
Reidsville, North Carolina

p.s.: your website is an eyesore.
p.p.s.: I sure as hell will never spend any of my money in your town if I were to visit Florida.

It probably won't do any good: these people and too many others are a little too drunk on their own power. They're past the point of rational thinking.

Maybe it's time for a good ol'-fashioned tar-and-feathering?

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