City Council faces off with city over paying parking tickets online

Parking Authority.
RIKARD LARMA/METRO

Representatives from Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration tried in vain yesterday to get a City Council committee to amend or table a bill allowing Philadelphians to contest parking tickets online or over the phone in a discussion that became somewhat of a showdown.

One one side were Council members eager to please constituents that regularly call with horror stories describing wrongly-issued citations, dismal customer service and hours-long waits at Traffic Court. On the other was a cash-strapped city with no wiggle room to hire more staff to review appeal requests, whose amount would conceivably increase under the bill as tickets become more convenient to contest.

“We believe there should be some threshold of commitment in order to contest a ticket. If people have to do nothing but send it in, frivolous appeals could outweigh our ability to deal with legitimate appeals,” Director of the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication Jeremiah Connors said. “We’re overwhelmed as it is. Anything we would do that would increase the volume of hearings, we would have to add staff.”

But bill sponsor Councilman Bill Green remained unconvinced. “There will be an initial uptick [in appeals] and then when people realize they’re just as likely to get a ‘no’ through this method, it will go down,” he said.

“I actually think their in-person appeals volume will be reduced significantly as a result of this and it will be more efficient for the city,” he clarified later.

“In person or not, every appeal takes time and resources to address, whether it’s earnest or just, ‘Oh, I’ll give it a whirl,’” Connors shot back. “People will be contesting just to see if they have a chance – it will be like a slot machine.”

The bureau said it would be amenable to receiving evidence via email regarding contested tickets, like scanned documents or photographs, but objected to the portions of the bill requiring live hearings on the telephone or internet. “It’s important for there to be a somewhat formal setting for these as a matter of logistics, decorum and case management,” Connors said.

Green said he will attempt to compromise with the administration and that the bill could be up for a vote in late June.

Trailblazing testimony

Though no final decision on the parking adjudication issue was made yesterday, City Council still broke new ground – for the first time in history, citizens were allowed to tweet their testimony.

“Tweet at me before 2pm about why being able to appeal your parking tickets online (instead of in person) would be helpful #phlpark,” Green wrote this afternoon via @Green4Philly. He then compiled pertinent responses into a Storify account and notified each user that their tweets would be submitted for inclusion in Council’s official record.

“This is the first time Tweets have been submitted as official testimony in Philadelphia. Definitely doing it again,” Green later followed up.

By the numbers

13. Percent of parking tickets written are appealed in Philadelphia.

16,000. Parking tickets are reviewed by the city’s Bureau of Administrative Adjudication for possible appeal each month.

1,138,134. Parking tickets have been issued in Philadelphia this fiscal year through March 31.

145,019. Parking tickets have been scheduled or rescheduled for a hearing so this fiscal year through March 31.

12.3. Percent of those appeals have resulted in a dismissal of the ticket.

50. Percent, approximately, of those scheduled for an appeal never follow through.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.