Archive | January, 2013

Parking “Violations” Are a Violation

27 Jan

I am never parking in downtown Portland, Oregon, again. I parked in what looked like a perfectly legal parking place at a corner: white lines squared it off, and I saw a “Pay to Park” sign, and I went to the machine and paid for the parking place and put the ticket in my side window.

When I returned from the writer’s group meeting I attended, I saw a woman in a uniform standing next to my car. I quickly got in and was going to drive off, thinking surely I had a minute to spare. She knocked on my window and claimed that I was in a “Valet Only” parking place and that my car was about to get towed, and then she gave me a ticket. ????

Even when I think I’m being careful and following the rules, the authorities come up with some Kafkaesque excuse to penalize me. Who ever heard of “Valet Only” parking that looks exactly like regular street parking? And this was on a Saturday evening, when parking should be free, anyway, and probably is in most cities.

I told a friend about this scam of a parking ticket, and she explained that she and others have had very similar experiences. She has been ticketed for bizarre, obscure “reasons” in Sellwood and on Hawthorne Boulevard. It seems this happens all the time.

According to people who sell the Street Roots newsletter in front of Powell’s Books on Hawthorne, the meter people come up with absurd excuses for parking tickets, and they’re laughing while they do it. Laughing! Clearly this is an appropriate job for sociopaths and other perpetual five-year-old bullies. And they do this crap all the time. Also, the lines around parking places are usually very faded, and the city deliberately refrains from painting them, because then drivers would be able to see the lines and park properly. In other words, this is another scam.

It seems that progressive little Portland is a lot more like police state St. Louis than I imagined. There, I was ticketed all the time. My life didn’t revolve around paying attention to exactly what Tuesday of the month it was; most street parking was off-limits if it were a certain day of the month because supposedly street sweepers were coming through. When I discussed this with a coworker, he pointed out that it was just an excuse to ticket people and said that he doesn’t think the streets were actually cleaned that day. I remember parking just slightly crooked in a parking lot, and I got ticketed because one wheel was touching the inside of the white line.

While making up absurd excuses to ticket drivers may seem trivial compared to the federal government wasting more than half the national budget on the military, this is one of countless examples of what an evil, corrupt, and useless government the United States has, not only on the federal and state level but even on local levels. The entire purpose of the government is to oppress and rip off the general public. That’s the only reason it exists—that and serving a very small and power-tripping minority. It doesn’t matter what you do, the power-tripping sociopaths in charge are going to rip you off one way or another.

January Notes: Feminism & Fiction

14 Jan

Once a month I schedule a meeting for the Portland Feminist Discussion Meet-up. The following is this month’s notes:

Student Loan Scam

10 Jan
I was a grad student from the fall of 2009 to the summer of 2011. The interest in student loans is a total scam. I  sent off the entire $6,000 that my dad sent me as a Winter Solstice present. I figured that, since the most recent bill had said I owed about $5,000, the $6,000 would more than cover it and take into account the interest. Instead, I received a bill claiming that I still owe $2,050. Apparently each month adds at least $1,000.
I told a friend about this, and she said that the Bush Administration changed student loan policy so that there’s no limit on how much the companies can charge for interest. Also, student loans go to greedy corporate credit card companies.
This doesn’t merely annoy me because of my situation. Many, even most, people have it a lot worse and will be paying student loans till they’re ninety years old. They don’t have stock dividends or a father who can afford to pay off their student loans, like I have. It’s practically impossible to pay off student loans, and I do believe this is deliberate exploitation. Once on Facebook I saw a photo of a woman holding up a sign saying that her student loans were about $23,000 originally, and that so far she’s paid off about $46,000. It’s robbery.
In Europe, education is free, including college education, and that’s how it should be in the United States. No wonder Americans have a reputation for being stupid; in Europe and Asia people can generally get free educations, while in the U. S. education is unaffordable for the majority.