Motorists are fed up with parking tickets, and fed up with the bureaucracy that makes it hard for them to contest a ticket when they believe they are in the right.
Michael Chiavelli knows this all too well. The Pelham Bay senior was issued a $180 ticket for parking in a handicapped spot, even though he has a permit. It had accidently fallen to the floor of his 1993 Ford Escort from where it hung, on the car’s rear view mirror.
The ticket was issued in Fine Fare’s parking lot at 3680 E. Tremont Avenue in February. The Traffic Enforcement agent told Chiavelli that it was too late to take the ticket away because it had already been written. All of this happened in a matter of minutes, as Chiavelli went into the store to pick up a weekly sales flyer.
“I immediately showed him my permit, and told him that I was handicapped,” Chiavelli said. “He said that since I had the permit, I should be able to just mail my ticket in and it would be dismissed.”
Chiavelli had been burned on another ticket issued by a traffic agent, for a missing front license plate that had fallen off his car. He was forced to pay almost $100 for that ticket, and didn’t want a repeat, especially since he is retired and lives on a fixed income. He decided to reach out to Senator Jeff Klein’s office because he needed some help to fight the parking ticket system that he feels may be stacked against motorists.
“I guess I could have just sent the summons in through the mail, but I thought that I needed help,” Chiavelli stated. “Having someone with power like Senator Klein is often important in cases like these.”
He informed Senator Klein’s office that he sent a letter to the Department of Finance informing them that he possesses a valid handicapped permit and asked them to dismiss the ticket. His office had to follow up with DOF to confirm that they had received the letter and that Chiavelli’s case was given top priority. As a handicapped senior citizen with a pinched nerve in one of his legs, Chiavelli worked through Klein to get the ticket dropped through the mail. After multiple follow-up calls, the DOT recently informed them that the ticket had been dismissed.
“I firmly believe Mr. Chiavelli received an unjust parking violation, he had the right to park in a handicap spot and due to a minor misunderstanding was still issued a ticket,” Klein stated. “I am pleased to see the Department of Finance came to the same conclusion. A hundred and eighty dollar ticket is a hefty amount for a senior on a fixed income and I am happy we were able to help Mr. Chiavelli resolve the issue.”
Chiavelli, a retired auto worker, maintenance man and painter, said that the $180 fine was too big a hit to his monthly income to let slide.
“What nerve they have attempting to charge $180 to a man living on a pension,” he said.
Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@c
©2010 Community News Group