Posts Tagged ‘infraction’

Our Inefficient, Money-Hungry SFMTA Wants to Start Issuing Speeding Tickets, But Somehow “They Would Not Be Moving Violations?!”

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Oh, this one’s easy  – we’re going to go from zero to Orwellian in ten seconds.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines:

SFMTA Pushing For Speed Cameras In San Francisco To Improve Pedestrian Safety by Cate Cauguiran

And here’s your nut graf:

“SFMTA plans to present their proposal to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority later this week. The agency says the citations would not be moving violations, and therefore not reportable to the DMV.”

Now let’s review – Papa Homer, what’s a “moving violation?

A moving violation is a violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “motion” distinguishes it from other motor vehicle violations, such as paperwork violations (which include violations involving automobile insurance, registration and inspection), parking violations, or equipment violations.”

So, if the parking ticket agency gives a ticket for speeding, it’s issuing moving violations, right? Now tell us more, Wiki:

While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle’s owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver.

Yep. And then there’s this:

The most commonly enforced moving violation, and the overwhelmingly most frequent reason for a vehicle pullover, are violations of the speed limit.

And what’s the motivation for the SFMTA to float this balloon?

Sometimes tickets are used in a speed trap as a form of fundraising

I don’t use the term “speed trap” myself, but, yes, our SFMTA is obsessed with “fundraising,” certainly.

And lastly:

Examples of moving violations: speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed…

Thanks Wiki! And actually, a speeding ticket is the prototypical moving violation, in Frisco and everywhere else too.

Now I’ll tell you, I was surprised earlier this year to see the SFMTA issuing “block the box” tickets, because sometimes the SFMTA DPT shows up at an intersection during rush hour to unblock the box, not to make money from block boxing. And yet, here you go:

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This is a DPT PCO in the middle of the intersection of Bush and Sansome shooting fish in a barrel – busting three vehicles, and then she was Gone In 60 Seconds.

And I thought, well, I suppose the drivers here are parked since they’re idling away, motionless, for a long time, so sure, ticket away, SFMTA, even though you’ve timed the lights to exacerbate this situation, but anyway, sure, these are parking tickets, fine.

But if you want to start issuing moving violation tickets, you shouldn’t lie about it. (I’ll tell you, sometimes I can’t tell if the SFMTA lies on purpose or if it just doesn’t know what it’s doing.)

Now, here’s my MODEST PROPOSAL - traffic cameras for pedestrians, mounted over crosswalks. The cameras would record all the peds who jump the light by starting across a second or two early and then a ticket for $100 would get mailed to the offenders after facial recognition ID’s the peds. (Gentle Reader, did you know that most ped deaths last year on the Streets of San Francisco were the fault of the peds themselves? It’s sort of a secret. It wasn’t a blowout or anything, the peds “won” this competition by 50-something percent, vs. the drivers’ 40-something percent, but isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think, that enforcing the vehicle code upon peds, as unpopular as this might be, could reduce traffic deaths more than how SFGov has handled matters up ’til now? Anyway, I’m talking about how the SFPD apportioned ped deaths in SF in 2014. But don’t talk about it, oh no – that might get you transferred to the Airport Detail, srsly. And bonus! Our new ped cams could “also help us as an investigative tool if someone is committing a crime somewhere nearby.” Moving on…)

Of course, the reason why SFGov wants to go Full Orwell is that paying sworn officers to issue tickets is inefficient and expensive. OTOH, an automatic system, backed up by an appeals mechanism to make everything constitutional, could generate tons of money for the SFMTA, like almost as much as its Household Transit Tax fantasy that it would impose on you, Gentle Reader, in a New York minute, if it could. (It’s what Ed Reiskin dreams of at night – your transit tax would be added to your tax returns, easy peasy, what a dream!)

Anyway, I think saying that a moving violation isn’t is worthy of five Orwells, on a scale of zero to five Orwells:

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All the way to the bottom, Maggie SFMTA – you’ve made it!

Fish in a Barrel: This SFMTA PCO Can Hand Out Multiple $105 “Block the Box” Tickets in One Minute

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Of course, the SFMTA could jigger the lights around the neighborhood of Bush and Sansome in a more efficient way, but then this meter maid wouldn’t be able to park her Cushman and then stand in the intersection to generate so many tickets that she has trouble with all the receipt tape she’s generating. See?

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Her little machine might have a camera built in, and the GPS and the Wi-Fi and all sorts of things to allow her to bag three rides in one cycle of green yellow red.

Check it. All of these drivers on Bush inbound in the Financh are used to crawling across a San Francisco  intersection before the light turns red and then making it out of the intersection before the peds start coming. Except that this is notorious Bush and Sansome, where things don’t work that way.

And then here come the judge – tickets for everybody! It’s like Oprah handing out Pontiacs – YOU GET A TICKET! AND YOU GET A TICKET! AND YOU GET A TICKET!

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(Mind you, this is an intersection where it’s quite safe to loiter about, so fret not.)

(Hey, is she recording the Vehicle Identification Numbers of all these rides? I think not. Is that some sort of technicality that will allow you to get out of your ticket after spending hours and hours of time fighting your ticket? IDK.)

Some drivers get stuck, but I’m thinking, well just make the left up Sansome* while you have the chance and then you’ll avoid a painful three-figure citation. But the drivers, then don’t have respect, they don’t see the danger.

And I’ll bet most of them aren’t even aware that they’re getting a citation.

Eventually, the driving culture at this intersection will change** if this woman makes a habit of harvesting money on the Evening Drive each and every day.

I ask you, Gentle Reader, what if the rest of SFGov were as efficient as this PCO?

*Whether it’s legal or not. In this case, that would be a legal turn but even if it weren’t, the chances of getting a moving violation doing that are virtually nil, as opposed to a parking ticket, where the odds are virtually certain. 

**In the old days, the SFMTA would tell its PCOs to stop handing out tickets during the Evening Drive and start directing traffic at busy intersections. Those days are over. This woman can pay her salary and fund her generous benefits and retirement package in one or two minutes of her shift. Remarkable!

“Avoid the 8″ DUI Checkpoint at Pine and Montgomery a Huge Success

Monday, December 21st, 2009

This was the scene over the weekend in the Financh where eight (or four, whatever) local police agencies teamed up for a DUI checkpoint on southbound Montgomery at Pine Street. Never seen one of these before – let’s take a look.

Click to expand:

Not all the traffic coming down from North Beach to SoMA last Friday night had to stop – lots of cars were directed straight on through. But those that weren’t had to pull over to the right for a brief convo with a peace officer of some stripe.

Like the driver of this Mercedes E350, for example. Don’t think she was a drunkie, but she had some sort of registration hassle it appeared (and that’s not all that uncommon in this age of shut-down, furloughed DMVs.) Stop sign holder graciously provided by PG&E:

Oh well. But let’s say you fail your field sobriety test on Montgomery Street.  This is what’s in store for you – a trip into the huge mobile command post  parked on the same block. No waiting:

Meet your breathalyzer, the Intoxilyzer 5000 infrared spectrometry breath alcohol measurement tool. (This is important, cause if your shyster is going to get you off, well, however that ends up being, it will most likely have something to do with attacking the procedures used to record the .15 BAC score you blew. Again.) Speaking of mouthpieces, you’ll get your own 28-cent plastic disposable mouthpiece to blow on. (Always wondered how that worked.)

Most people didn’t seem to mind, and the way that Montgomery is set up with three-way lights (to let the throngs of imagined evening-hour financial district peds scramble across Montgomery any which way they want) being picked to be a part of the checkpoint might not actually have slowed the journeys to the nearest freeway onramp:

Check out Friday’s tally of arrests and tows from CBS5. And here’s the scorecard from a another recent checkpoint at Geary and Steiner, and here’s another from Monterey near San Jose.

So, hurray. There’s not a lot to object to here, unless you’re a mouthpiece for the American Beverage Institute that is.

Look for more checkpoints in the coming weeks…

Bank of America Says “No Overnight Camping” in Front of San Francisco ATMs

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

This is the scene on San Francisco’s Market Street near Union Square – can you see the sign going, “NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING“?

Click to expand.

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That’s the way San Francisco property owners do things using Municipal Police Code Section 25. A sign like this tells the cops that the person hanging out on private property hasn’t been given permission.

Distribution of “No Trespassing” Signs July 2008: The Community Guides distributed the “No Trespassing” signs to merchants,building security/concierge, and street-level businesses. The signs request enforcementof the Municipal Police Code Section 25 to all the street level businesses.After signing the forms, the merchants, street-level tenants and property representatives displayed the notices on the windows of their business and other visible places,  they do not give anyone permission to sleep, lie, or in any way remain in their doorway. These notices help SFPD and Community Guides address issues of sleepers and campers inside ofdoorways. The notice expires every six months

See? This one is similar: 

NO TRESPASSING REQUEST FOR ENFORCEMENT OF MUNICIPAL POLICE CODE SECTION 25 San Francisco Municipal Police Code Section 25 provides that no person shall willfully rema.in upon any private property or business premises after being notified to leave by the owner, lessee, or other person in charge . Notice may be oral or in the form of a written notice posted in a conspicuous place. A violation of Section 25 is an infraction. A second violation within 24 hours (Section 26) is a misdemeanor. To the San Francisco Police Department: I hereby request that the San Francisco Police Department enforce the above Municipal Police Code Sections on my beha-If and in my absence. I have given no person(s) permission to sleep, lie, or in any way remain within my doorway located at (private property) while my business is closed. _- I further state that I will notify the San Francisco Police Department in writing within 24 hours if I do give a person(s) permission to sleep, lie, or in any way remain within said doorway, providing the Police Department with the person(s) name. I agree to post a copy of this notice in a location where it will be visible to all persons within said area. I understand that this letter of request expires six months after the below-signed date. Signature of owner or agent Date: Address 2 copies: Owner AGENT TO POST JULY THRU DECEMBER YEAR.

 

The United States Park Police vs. the Google Maps Car in San Francisco’s Presidio

Monday, June 16th, 2008

The Presidio of San Francisco, on the northern waterfront to the left of the newly upscale Ghirardelli Square, hasn’t seen this much action since they filmed The Presidio, starring Sean Connery. It appears that a mounted member of the United States Park Police briefly detained a Google Maps camera car for some sort of driving infraction this morning. Oh noes! Don’t impede this car – it’s gone to some interesting places. It’s not scary at all, right?

So the photo below shows how the magic of Google Street View happens – you can see their method all laid out. In this case, Google is using a brand-spanking-new Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid (wouldn’t a 50-state VW Jetta TDI diesel get better mileage?) and a rather tall metal mast with mad cameras, GPSes and SICK laser range finders. Click to expand:

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Courtesy of damianspain of the San Francisco Bay area. Thanks Damian! Check out his flickrstream for lots of great shots of San Francisco, including a rare blue sky at the North Beach Festival.

(Normally, the Presidio is a quiet place, except for people feuding over the location of the new CAMP museum and the occasional coyote attack. And Hooverball – the kids these days make all sorts of noise throwing their old school medicine balls around.)

Keep up the good work, Google Street View drivers. Just make sure to watch out for The Man (as well as all those sexy pedestrians trying to catch your attention).

[Update: National Park Service employee and Commenter #67 Motorcop_2000 disputes any account that has the Googler getting a ticket. MC_2K indicates that this driver merely got lost and was trying to get “back to the Avenues” (meaning the Richmond or the Sunset districts). Bad driving and Toyota Priuseses seem to go together, so this story rings true.]

San Francisico Police Captain Proposes Mandatory Hand-Stamping to Track Nightclub Goers.

Friday, June 13th, 2008

It’s been printed in the San Francisco Examiner, (so it must be true):

Captain James Dudley of Central Station in North Beach plans to ask the San Francisco Entertainment Commission to consider making mandatory handstamps specific to a bar or club so police can more easily make connections between specific locations and drunken behavior.

According to the Cap’n, “it would be helpful to be able to track people.”

Will this idea pass constitutional muster? Is it justified? Feel free to read the Captain’s weekly newsletters to see what he’s dealing with  on a nightly basis in the world-famous North Beach area.

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Will mandatory handstamps make your San Francisco bacchanal safer? Adamcomerford via Flickr

Be sure you don’t spend too much time showing off all your temporary tracking stamps to your friends on the street, as loitering too long in front of a club will soon get you into hot water as well.

Stay safe and have fun!