Happy times towed away

Posted on August 23, 2013 by Submitted

Editor: I met my wife in the Sonoma square, and our first meal was at La Casa. I asked her to marry me on the same bench we met at in the square. We have always gone back there to celebrate our anniversary, and always had warm feeling towards the place. This last Sunday we were returning from a trip from Mendocino and stopped at La Casa. I parked in a spot across from the restaurant i that had a small driveway that I was unable to see since I was parallel parking and from that logistical perspective the driveway was difficult to see. I will spare the details about the poorly painted curb and the rest. My wife saw the tow truck arrive through the restaurant window and I ran out to find out that I had accidentally blocked this driveway. And while the tow truck had not yet attached my vehicle, I was told it was too late and the vehicle must be towed. We were also mistakenly told that we would be able to get our car back when we went to the yard. Well that part was not true since we would later find out that we would have to wait until Monday for the police station to open, and would have to rely on friends to get home. And apparently it was also not true that our vehicle had to be towed since another officer said it was the discretion of the officer to make the decision if I arrived before the tow was attached. So it would seem I was given incorrect information by both officials on the scene. It cost a little over 500 hundred dollars to get our vehicle back. I am not sure how this compares to other cities since such information seems hard to find at most cities websites. It seems extreme, but what is most concerning is the amount of authority given to the ‘officers discretion’ and what criteria might be attached to such a decision. I was far from rude since I was somewhat emotional, in a sad borderline tearful way, as opposed to any hostility, in knowing what this event would do to what was formerly our happy memory. But nonetheless something in my actions prompted the officer to decide I should pay the fullest penalty possible even though I arrived in time to move my vehicle. Seemingly the officers discretion was between me paying the 180 dollar fine and retaining my car on the spot as opposed to the 500 plus and finding our own way home. It is too much authority in the hands of the officer without any description of what criteria the officer uses for her decision, not to mention she was not honest that she had discretion in the first place. As the internet advances i think cities will be seeing more public postings on what cities offer tourists in terms of parking penalties, so cities which choose harsh measures may eventually see tourists becoming more aware of their policies. Final point is that the review of the case is apparently done by a Sergeant and not a judge. Even here in in old Napa you get a judge at your review hearing
Matt Grantham