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Anybody who thinks this city’s parking regulations aren’t designed to steal from motorists is a dumbass.

I went to the coffeehouse Tryst on 18th Street this morning, and saw a parking enforcement officer sitting in her car across the street shortly after 9 a.m., writing tickets. She got out and put the tickets on the windshields of a row of cars on the west side of 18th Street.

All the cars that received the $100 fines were parked inside signs that said “Pay Parking” with a one-way arrow down the street. A new Euro style parking-receipt vending machine stood on the sidewalk right next to where these cars were parked, and indicated the spaces were open for business beginning at 9 a.m.

I asked the officer why she was writing tickets when all the signage and writing visible to these motorists indicated quite clearly that the row of spots was absolutely kosher. She pointed to a signpost up the block, near the bank at 18th and Columbia Sts. NW, and said that that sign said there was no parking until 9:30 a.m., and that that rule applied to all of 18th St. on the west side. Even if a motorist somehow saw that sign while driving south and looking for a parking spot, there is no common sensical way anybody would think that a sign at the top of the block would supersede the rules posted not only on signs further down the street, but also the language on the closest pay machine.

“We can’t put signs every 10 feet,” she said.

From her attitude, I would bet this ticket writer shows up at 9:01 every weekday with her ticket book and starts meeting her quota at $100 a pop. The situation on 18th Street isn’t an aberration. These sorts of parking traps are in too many places in this city for this to be accidental. Folks at the tax office are getting fired and probably will be prosecuted for stealing from citizens. How come the parking enforcement people keep their jobs?