Miami Beach Parking Ticket Trauma

Eric Jason Gold would like to wage jihad on the Miami Beach Parking Department.

Problem is, it's too damn expensive.

This past January on a Tuesday night, the 47-year-old property manager drove his gray Kia sedan to South Beach to pick up his partner, who was finishing work on Lincoln Road. Their dog, Polo, was along for the ride.

When Gold exited the car to pay the parking machine, it didn't seem to work. So he and Polo walked a short distance to access another. By the time they returned, a meter officer had rolled up and was writing an $18 ticket.

Gold tried to explain, but the officer, Gustavo Cabana, ignored his entreaties. The ticket is stamped 11:39 p.m.

Most people would have given up there. Gold persevered. He sent a letter asking that the fine be dropped. No such luck. He attended a hearing, but the presiding officer, Susan Klock, didn't want to listen to his complaints. Before he could even make his case, he says, she turned him down. On May 3, he received a note that there would be a new fee: $45.

He penned an eloquent letter to Miami Beach. "I do not accept the injustice of this kind of indiscriminate oppression," he wrote, sounding like Thomas Paine. "At what cost to our community are we so driven to obtain revenue that we penalize our hardworking citizens even whilst they attempt to abide by regulations?"

Bureaucrats sympathized but couldn't help, he says.

So Gold sent an appeal to the appellate court. On May 8, the answer came back: An appeal would cost $383.

"Why don't they just walk up to people on the street and demand money from them?" Gold says. "They refuse to take responsibility."

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse

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