Letter to the Editor: Unhappy tourist

Dear Editor:

While I was visiting your community on May 28 of this year, I was unable to find a parking spot and dropped my partner off in front of Porto’s (it was recommended to me as an excellent bakery). 

This took all of 10 seconds. I subsequently found a spot in a city lot and was followed into the lot by an officer on a motorcycle. I was told that the place where I stopped to drop off my partner to patronize a Downey business establishment is a no standing zone. Fair enough. 

What is not fair is: 

a.) The exorbitant “bail” amount that I was assessed. I understand that the revenue stream for some suburbs is driven by traffic fines, but $238 is beyond the pale. I find it shameful that you would shake a visitor to your community like a money tree for an infraction such as this. The punishment is not commensurate with the crime and is in fact disrespectful in my view. This is a hostile way to generate revenue. Raise taxes. 

b.) The manner in which I was treated by the officer. It was the familiar assertion of authority approach. Yawn. Sure you have a lot of gear and sunglasses and I’m just a civilian in a t-shirt. So what? The rental company had put the registration for another car in my car’s glove box. The officer said, faux-menacingly, “I don’t know how it works in Illinois, but in California the registration in your glove box should be for your car.” Yes, yes, that’s how it works everywhere! Thanks! The rental company said that he should have looked at the rental agreement when he learned I was leasing the car and not the registration. Or whatever. 

I feel used. Enjoy the money. Name something after me, the fleeced tourist.

Jim Schniepp

OpinionStaff Report