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Your article “Red Light District” (7/9) was right on. Once again the city stubs its toe and its citizens get to pay for it, this time in the form of numerous parking fines for offensives not committed. The city openly acknowledges that Lockheed Martin’s new meters are malfunctioning and has even gone so far as to put stickers on each meter around town for people to call in the event the meter is not working. But that hasn’t stopped our illustrious meter people from writing as many tickets as possible regardless of the offender—car or meter. In fact, while a call to the Department of Public Works or the Office of the Public Advocate might get an acknowledgement of the problem, the folks at the Bureau of Traffic Adjudication refuse to participate in a solution to the matter. As far as they are concerned, pay the fine. It’s not their concern if the meter does not properly record the coins deposited.
D.C. Councilmember Carol Schwartz’s position is interesting on the matter. Because it’s hard to prove the meters are at fault (talk to DPW’s personnel in the trenches), she wants to know how to verify the matter prior to issuing a refund or forgiveness program. In other words, I should prove I am innocent of the offense before I am let off the hook on the ticket? Why not create a refund program and let Lockheed Martin fund it? It, in turn, can seek reimbursement from the manufacturer. That way the city doesn’t lose its revenues. Perish the thought! Ron Jury of Lockheed Martin has already spoken on the matter in your article, in that “There’s not been a serious problem in DC.” He’s right! There is nothing serious about residents paying a few extra fines. So let’s award Lockheed Martin another lucrative contract for another potential fiasco…and hold our breath as residents who can always stand one more blow to the pocketbook to apprehend those dangerous yellow-light-runners.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mayor, my request for a $120 refund is on Ms. Cheatum’s desk in the Office of the Public Advocate. Could you please write my check prior to issuing one to Lockheed Martin for the fine job they’ve done?
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