Letter to the Hearings Division

December 5th, 2008

City of Evanston
Hearings Division
2100 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201

To whom it may concern,

Re: Ticket #700035203 - Here’s the down and dirty.

Please bear in mind this ticket was issued on my car parked on the street directly in front of my house. When I received a Summons to Appear, I asked my wife about this and she stated, it must have been a rainy day or it had rained since the ticket was issued because the ticket was laying on the ground, sopping wet and barely legible. She’d thought she’d paid it and I looked in the checkbook and found she had logged a $25.00 check payable to the City of Evanston for this ticket.

Since my bank statements don’t arrive until around the 15th of the month, I waited to see if it had cleared. When I opened the statement the check had not cleared yet. Perhaps too damaged to pass through the USPS system. This was now only days before the Hearing and I still had to gather my evidence and take the day off work to fight it. So on November 23rd, a couple days before the hearing, scheduled for Nov 26th, I wrote another check for the ticket amount ($25.00) and the penalty ($25.00) and put this payment for $50.00 in the drop box at the Civic Center, believing I would not now have to attend. Of course I could have mailed a check again to the City of Evanston P.O. Box in (of all places) Milwaukee, Wisconsin (?), but that seemed rather foolish (read fuelish).

Now, today, I have received a Notice of Default threatening to boot or tow all our vehicles and suspend our driver’s licenses. I am also told that the Default Order constitutes a judgment against us and may be enforced to the full extent provided by law. Am I supposed to believe we could be shot enforcing this?

Now I asked you to bear in mind that this ticket was issued in front of my house. My wife and I were both born and raised in Evanston, except for a brief stint in the Navy during the Vietnam war and my college days in Carbondale and Philadelphia, I have lived in the same 5 by 3 square block part of Evanston (bordered by Colfax and Isabella, Poplar and Ashland). Believe me when I say I’ve known this area. I remember the days when Poplar (our street) wasn’t paved or repaired and full of potholes as a result of disputes with Metra.

Only a couple of years ago (perhaps 3) have we ever had notice of street cleaning on Poplar. In contrast my mom (and mother-in-law) over on Eastwood (I married the girl next door) have had street cleaning for decades. The scheduling here is so irregular (witness the photo attached) that new signs must be made up each year and placed on the light poles down this one block stretch of Poplar between Central and Isabella. Always on a Monday, the dates are so irregular I have to enter them in my PDA phone and turn on it’s alarm feature as a reminder to call my wife in case I failed to look 10 feet up a light pole and read the notice the Sunday night before.

I can only imagine the waste (or parking enforcement income) that this sort of insanity generates for the City. The suspicion that this is happening elsewhere throughout the City and we simply don’t have the sensibility, resources or where-with-all to research, organize or protest against it, is troubling.

(Oh, Drat!) Picture not available since the sign has now been taken down.

There’s a Snow Date sign and a 7am to 9am parking restriction sign for which I pay multiple annual premiums for the privilege. Annually we are supposed to notice slight differences in the configuration of these signs.

The dates for 2008 Street Cleaning were

Monday, May 5th
Monday, June 30th
Monday, August 25th
Monday, October 20th
Monday, November 17th

2009 Street Cleaning dates are not yet determined, according to Streets and Sanitation, so there may still be an opportunity to improve on this situation. In the meantime, I’ll try to encourage others to comment on this or similar costly insanities perpetuated by our fair City. I trust there must be matters of greater importance to which we can enforce to the full extent provided by law.


Robert A. Crews