A San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority parking officer has “gone rogue” and is slapping cars in the Glen Park area of town with unwarranted parking tickets, according to a fed-up resident.
Gary Malec, 33, told the San Francisco Examiner that he set up a bait car to catch the offending officer after he, his girlfriend, and two neighbors all complained of finding unearned parking tickets on their cars in the area around his home. Malec said he was usually sure to be diligent about returning to the car within the allotted four-hour parking time.
As a test, Malec reportedly parked his car directly in front of his house so he could stake it out. Less than four hours later, an SFMTA officer was at his car, writing him a ticket.
Malec ran outside to confront the officer, when he saw another woman down the street who had just gotten a ticket, rushing toward the officer as well. When the officer saw them, she made a U-turn and sped off the other way.
“She didn’t come around the Friday after that,” Malec told the Examiner. “She’s like, hiding, or something.”
Malec reportedly argued his ticket in front of an SFMTA hearing officer and won, meaning he does not have to pay the $74 fine. Still, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said in the report that “no action is being taken against the employee based on that investigation.”
The San Francisco MTA, police, and other agencies issued about 1.5 million parking citations in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, at a cost to residents of $88,889,809. Of those, nearly 80,000 were contested, with 28 percent deemed invalid. Additionally, out of approximately 13,000 cases that went to a hearing, 38 percent were deemed invalid. The SFMTA refunded $700,000 in parking tickets last year.
Mark Malec told the Examiner that in his brother’s case, he thinks bureaucracy is to blame.
“They have to meet a certain quota, I’m sure, and she’s just going around slapping tickets,” he said. “She’s going rogue, because this has never been a problem.”