Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yelp Hammers Oakland Parking Service

Yelp has become the go-to site for ratings on businesses of all types, including the "City of Oakland Parking Service System." That's everything from the Parking Department Office at City Hall Plaza, to the parking enforcement employees on the street, and everyone in between. The collective gets a nice "one-star" rating on Yelp. And the comments are something to read. Here's a sample:

Several weeks ago I received a parking ticket for parking at an expired meter in Oakland. When I went to pay it today, I was surprised to see another citation that was past due associated with my license number... Then I remembered: many months ago, I found a parking ticket on my car when I failed to move it for street sweeping. The next day, I tried to pay for said ticket, both online, and using the over-the-phone method. Neither worked. Several days later, I tried once more to pay the ticket, again to no avail. I was told several times that no such ticket existed in the system.

Now, I don't mind paying for the tickets, but I think it's ridiculous that a ticket would take more than a week to show up in the system and furthermore, I do not appreciate having to pay additional charges associated with "late" payment for a ticket that I tried in good faith to pay the day after I received it. I know other people who have experienced the same problem and I think it's time that Oakland stop jerking us around with opaque and vague parking policy.

Did I mention there are 97 Yelp reviews and 96 of them are bad? Here's another:

If I can, I would give them negative stars.
They are thugs, cheats, and this is proof of injustice of the highest kind in the most advanced country in the world - even in India things would not be this bad, and that's saying a lot since India is super corrupt.
Anyways, ticket was invalid, so I contested via US mail. Got another reminder, so contested via email. Got an automated response so I waited. Next thing I know I get a DMV hold letter from them. Also now the fine is doubled.
At this point, I am spending so much effort in this that it's not worth it, and I feel I should pay, but there's a voice inside me saying I should fight for justice and my rights.
Lesson learned - Oakland, I will NEVER eat in your city by choice, and if I do end up going there for my work related events I will park in a parking structure or take the BART.
You are an awful city - I feel for the people - they are stuck with an awful ,awful bureaucracy.
I am going to write letters to whomever I can.
You lost my business, Oakland. Big Time.

The Yelp Oakland hit parade continues:

I just got my registration renewal in the mail, and there is an unpaid parking ticket on it from april 09, lets not get into why it did not show up on october 09's any case, I paid this ticket via check 24 hours after I received it. My bank printed out proof (for $5) that the city of Oakland did indeed cash this $30 check, way back in April 09. Nevertheless, it now shows up unpaid, and at triple value. DMV will not let me pay for my renewal until I either pay the $100 citation, or get it cleared by the Oakland Parking Assistance Center.

I have tried three times to reach them by phone, each call was an endless phonetree with no correct option, and in all attempts I ended up being on hold for 15 minutes plus before I gave up OR got disconnected on their end.

I cannot afford to take a day off from work to deal with this, I am poor and on a limited budget.

The DMV cannot help me...
I cannot figure out if there is a way to make an appointment...
There is nothing helpful online....
I am convinced if I go in person the wait time will exceed the metered parking nearby...

Does anyone have any answers for me?

This Yelper's claiming that the City of Oakland's not following a rule posted on its metered parking tickets.  You know.  The ones you get from the machines.  The Yelper reports:

Mark my words, this is not an opinion it is a fact. Those new permit machines, you know where you get a little paper permit and put it on your dashboard. Every one of them has a bright green sticker that says "For you convenience, unexpired permits for this machine can be used at (underlined) *any* metered space in Oakland."

If you buy an hour. Use ten minutes, then drive to another part of Oakland and park near an old sidewalk meter that is working, DO NOT USE YOUR UNEXPIRED PERMIT. Yes it is a metered space, yes, logically it counts as a member of the set that is designated by "any metered space in Oakland", but if you use your unexpired paper permit and don't feed the meter with coins, you will get a ticket.

If a lawyer is reading this. Please think about suing the city for this misleading information. They are obviously desperate for the money but they shouldn't use their position in power to bait and switch, it is deceptive.

And this Yelper called Alix Rosenthal at the Oakland City Attorney's Office and got the ticket dismissed:

I don't live in Oakland.

I almost never go to Oakland.

I especially don't go to Oakland in the middle of the night.

Yet over the course of the last two years I have received four parking tickets for parking in Oakland in the middle of the night. Tickets for my license plate, but with "Ford" listed as the make (I drive a Honda).

Their tickets say you can contest them via e-mail. However they just ignore the e-mails.

I'm getting tired of this BS. Getting ready to sue the City.


If you have a legitimate complaint I suggest calling the city attorney's office to try to get it straightened out. I spoke with Alex Rosenthal (city attorney's assistant) yesterday and I received a call from parking enforcement today to let me know that my ticket was dismissed.

The number is 510-238-3601.

Ok, Alex. Get ready for a flood of phone calls from irate Oakland Parking Enforcement victims!

Stay tuned.

Oakland, CA Parking: Still Predatory, Getting Worse

This is yet another email sent to this blogger about the Oakland Parking problem. From the way it reads, Oakland, CA's predatory parking practice (say that three times fast) is still with us.

I am speaking out because this just started this past Tuesday.
Please see all the pictures and my letter to the Parking Citation place. thank you.There are 6 - 12 cars parked here 7 days per week. i have lived here for 6.5 years and NEVER gotten a ticket here until NOW. we all are getting tickets daily. Double Parking in a Culdesac? this is unjust. how do we fight this now? How sad that the City Of Oakland would stoop this low to get money. and calling the number to get help is a waste of time. Please let me know if you can help or what we can do. There are a few of us here in the neighborhood that are disabled. AND people who work and visit people at Highland Hospital park here. they also get tickets. hmm.. the parking people ONLY come once per day. WE ARE A NEWLY TARGETED NEIGHBORHOOD.

This is the letter of protest that was sent to the Oakland Parking Department. The name of the person was removed and the adress slightly altered to protect her identity.

Good day,

I am contesting the two tickets that I received December 8th and 9th, 2010

At the address: 1472 East 33rd street Oakland, California 94602

The area I live in is a Cull de sac; I and my neighbors park here.

I have never received a ticket for parking in the Cull de sac UNTIL

As of December 8th, 2010,

I have been parking in the Cull De Sac for 6.5 years and

never gotten a ticket here for anything including

"Double Parking “as of the above date, I received a $75 ticket for "double parking" @ 11:42am. December 9th, 2010,

I received yet another ticket for $75"Double Parking" @ 9:24am.

I am disabled and on crutches pending a knee replacement. ALL of us who park here received tickets! This just started. I called the number I was given on the ticket and I never spoke to anyone the first call I was on hold for 11 minutes. The second call..., I waited more than 30 minutes I spoke to a Cheryl who told me that there was nothing she could do and that I would need to write a letter and be very detailed and include pictures. I took pictures of the area and nothing is marked here at all. It's a Cull de sac.
Please see the included pictures of this area I am referring to with regard to this being a Cull de sac.

Thank you

With all of the yelling,...

...parking enforcement time rolled back from 8 PM to 6 PM, and threats of voting Oakland elected officials out of office, Oakland still has the same parking enforcement problem. The saying "If you like what you're getting, keep on doing what you're doing," applies here.

Cam Newton wins The Heisman Trophy

Cam Newton can smile and put all of the comments behind him; he's won The Heisman Trophy. The Auburn Quarterback won in what ESPN called "a blowout" over Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck, Oregon running back LaMichael James and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.

Cam Newton, shown below, leaving the Heisman ceremony, is now officially the best college football player in America.

This blogger has stated the reasons why Cam Newton should win the Heisman.

Here are more reasons, in video form:

Congratulations, Cam! You deserve it.

Unemployed 99ers get Support from Congressional Black Caucus

The Unemployed 99ers yesterday received strong support from members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Attempting to breathe life into the idea of a Tier 5 for unemployment extensions for 99ers has been a thankless task for 9 months now, but the stakes are so high for those who have exhausted all UI benefits - we have no choice but to fight for a way to survive until there are jobs for us to support ourselves.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was joined by CBC members Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Donald Payne (N.J.) and Donna Christensen (V.I.) in announcing the CBC's position on the package, which Lee said she made clear at House Democrats' meeting on Wednesday with Vice President Biden.

"We are simply here to say that we want a fair deal," said Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.). "You know, there was the New Deal under Roosevelt, and then there was a Fair Deal under Truman. Every new deal is not necessarily fair, and we see this new deal as not necessarily fair."

Per Bobby Scott: “I for one believe that we should let all the tax cuts expire...(but) an overwhelming majority of the caucus is against the President’s proposal, as it currently stands....we do support the 13 month extension of emergency Unemployment benefits, but we all agree we should also extend benefits for the so called 99ers.”

Watch the entire CBC news conference here:

All 99ers are urged to contact the Congressional Black Caucus and members of Congress listed below to assist us in our fight for survival via a Tier 5 of UI benefits. They may be the 99ers best and last hope before complete annihilation of our desperate members.

Congressional Black Caucus Telephone: 202-226-9776. Fax: 202-225-9817
Barbara Lee Phone: (202) 225-2661 FAX: (202) 225-9817
Donald M. Payne Phone: (202) 225-3436 FAX: (202) 225-4160
Bobby Scott Phone (202) 225-8351 FAX (202) 225-8354

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said on the House floor Thursday that any deal to preserve tax cuts for the rich ought to include help for people who have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits and still haven't found work.

President Obama on Monday cut a controversial deal with congressional Republicans to preserve extended unemployment benefits for 13 months in exchange for two years of continued tax breaks for the wealthy.

Jackson Lee said the deal should "further include those who have run up against a brick wall, the '99ers,' as they call them, [who] don't have any more resources but still have mortgages and food to pay for and bills to pay."

Watch Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s interview on The Ed Show (video below)

All 99ers are encouraged to contact Ms. Jackson and offer our voices to her fight to help the 99ers: On Twitter @JacksonLeeTX18 By phone: 202-225-3816 Fax: 202-225-3317

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

[Please use the donation button below to help Paladinette to KEEP FIGHTING for the 99ers! Thank you.]

Nikky Raney Interviews Seth Majka of 'The Casting'

Seth Majka's solo project 'The Casting' has its album 'I Am The Dirt' available on iTunes. This interview gives the audience a little sneak peek of the album as well as getting to know how much effort and time went into this two year project. Seth is extremely talented and he truly does deserve recognition for what he has accomplished.

Please send me "fan mail" messages of questions you'd like me to ask Seth during our next interview. You may remember Seth from previous videos as Majkatvboi - and there will be more of those fun videos in the near future.

Maddow & Olbermann Finally Jump into Fight for 99ers on MSNBC

Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann finally lent their MSNBC media presence to the fight for the 99ers this week.

Keith Olbermann in a scathing Commentary on December 7th (video below) left no doubt on how he feels about the Obama “Bend Over” in favor of the richest Americans, at the expense of those hit hardest by the “Great Recession” - the 99ers.

Olbermann: “In exchange for giving tax cuts for the rich which the nation cannot afford, and extending their vintage through the next election and thus promising, at best, a reenactment of this whole sorry, amoral, degrading spectacle during the 2012 presidential campaign, when the sides will be climbing over each other to again extend these cuts -- In exchange for this searing and transcendent capitulation, the President got just thirteen months of extended benefits for those unemployed less than 100 weeks. And he got nothing, absolutely nothing for those unemployed for longer, the 99ers.”

A tip of the hat to Mr. Olbermann, who likely feels as though the 99er Nation has been ‘cyber stalking’ him for months - requesting, even begging him to lend his incredible and eloquent oratory talents to our fight for survival - without benefits now for 9 months. Let’s hope and pray that Washington was listening.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow this week too had the opportunity to corner Austan Goolsbee on her show this week to ask him point blank about the plight of the 99ers. Goolsby, Chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, admitted that a tier 5 for the 99ers would be one of the best economic stimulus for America at this time of crisis.
The 99ers are in a very difficult spot...the 99er question is a vexing question that we have got to address cuz [sic] the long term unemployment problem is as high as it has ever been...and it is critically heart goes out to people in that situation,” Goolsby said.

Mr. Goolsbee faired much better in this interview than he had in the debacle on The Ed Show earlier this week - when he completely avoided the question.

SCHULTZ: So why not throw $120 billion at the 99ers? I mean, if it‘s just short term and we‘re throwing billions of dollars around, why not do that?

GOOLSBEE: Wait. We‘re not trying to throw billions of dollars around. The point is not just to throw money around. This is a 13-month extensions of unemployment benefits.

SCHULTZ: For two million people, right?

GOOLSBEE: For seven million people, yes.

SCHULTZ: OK. But there‘s 4.5 million people to 5 million who are 99ers that have been caught up in this wave as well that have nothing in this package.

GOOLSBEE: I‘m not arguing with you about things that could be good. We are having to deal in the reality of the president was able to negotiate two and a half times as much stuff which is on the priorities of the administration—the Obama tax cuts, extending unemployment benefits beyond what anybody thought they would be able to be extended, as well as middle class tax relief and incentives for companies to invest in this country. And at a moment like this, if you have an opportunity like that, you‘ve simply got to take it.

First of all Goolsbee got his facts WRONG on 7 million UI recipients being helped and it certainly would NOT take $120 billion to help the 99ers.

According to CNN, The federal government has already paid out $109 billion in unemployment insurance during this recession. $109 Billion in extended benefits for the entire recession! Not all that much when you consider They are about to borrow $900 billion to give Tax cuts to Millionaires & Billionaires for the next 2 years and we are borrowing that money from China, The middle east oil exporting Countries, Iran, Venezuela and the list goes on!

AMERICA needs to be outraged. Fact is that a Tier 5 for the exhaustees would only cost about $32 billion dollars and put back into the economy twice that amount in economic stimulative effect. So what is the downside? The inability to work into this lame tax giveaway for the rich - help for millions of Jobless Americans hurting the worst is unconscionable, unacceptable and just plain weak negotiation on behalf of the White House.

Still Goolsbee's attempt at "slight of hand" during the Schultz interview was better than the Biden staffer who went on National TV touting his opinion that -“the 99ers do not need UI benefits - they need retraining to get back into the work force.”

Excuse me Mr. Advisor to the Vice President, but.... without any UI income now for 9 months and counting - after 2 years plus of trying to survive on UI benefits only - how the hell are those 99ers supposed to survive let alone retrain and retrain for what jobs? Unless Congress stops the outsourcing of every American job and FAST - any job creation in this country is like putting a band-aid on an amputated limb. We are hemorrhaging jobs in America and unless or until Washington stops rewarding corporations for off shoring our jobs - we will never again have normal employment levels in this country.

[Please use the donation button below to help Paladinette to KEEP FIGHTING for the 99ers! Thank you.]

“Jobless Talk” gets Christmas Miracle - Shows Continue for 99er Fight!

“Jobless Talk” this week received a Christmas Miracle that will allow the show to continue in the 99er fight.

It was announced during yesterday’s broadcast, that Paladinette (the host of Jobless Talk) has received the backing of a benefactor (who wishes to remain anonymous) that will assure “Jobless Talk” remains on air for the next several months.

Nobody was more surprised than I was to get the call and it restores my faith in what I have been doing for the past 15 months on behalf of jobless Americans. After all, Washington doesn’t appear to give a damn about those who have exhausted all UI benefits to date.

The show will air it’s final broadcast of 2010 next Friday (December 17th) and will resume broadcasting on January 7, 2011 - after a 2 week hiatus for the holiday season.

The 99er Nation will have precious little to celebrate this Christmas other than being able to survive through the New Year - but we have just begun to fight! Beginning in January, Jobless Talk will have a toll free call in number for those jobless Americans to bring their commentary to the live show broadcasts. That number will be announced shortly.

Thanks to all of you in the blogosphere for your support and encouragement during a difficult time for all of us 99ers and especially to the generous benefactor who has “saved the day” for now in Paladinette’s continued fight on behalf of all jobless Americans!

[Please use the donation button below to help Paladinette to KEEP FIGHTING for the 99ers! Thank you.]