Dear punk-ass Miami Beach Parking Authority:
Last week, you towed my 2013 Jetta sitting outside my house at 14th Street and Meridian Avenue and then scuttled into the night, leaving neither trace of my vehicle nor your chicanery. So when I set out on foot in search of my car the next morning, I naturally assumed some thief with a zest for reasonably priced German engineering and subtle off-white coloring was behind its disappearance.
No way had it been towed. It had a residential parking pass firmly affixed to its windshield, in plain sight. It wasn't possible that even you, the most despicable of all Miami Beach institutions, which orders the towing of any vehicle without hesitation, would stoop to this sordid low.
I was wrong. I got on the horn with Tremont Towing, which I was fully aware would stoop to this sordid low, to ask if they had my Jetta. They did. Then they informed me of the egregious nature of my wrongdoing. I had put my residential parking pass on the wrong side of the windshield. Yep, that.
I'm taking this opportunity to say something that every South Florida resident who's dared to park his or her car in South Beach has likely thought.
Fuck you, Miami Beach Parking Authority.
Oh, but it gets worse.
When I arrived at Tremont and found my parking ticket (the one claiming I didn't have a residential pass) stuck to my windshield (the one with a residential pass), I called the Miami Beach Parking Authority. They made a mistake when they wrote my ticket — I have a residential pass! — and now it would cost me $300 to get my car out. Was there anything they could do? Would there be mercy?
I can't be sure, but I'm fairly confident what I heard next was chuckling on the other end. Mercy from the city? This is Miami Beach.
The only way to get a refund, city parking flacks Jose Ovando and Mary Niedergal told me, was to sue the city in Miami-Dade court.
Let's take a moment to reflect on how messed up this is. Parking minions in Miami Beach can falsify tickets and tow cars, and the only way to mend the injustice is to sue the city — a process that's sure to absorb months of life and perhaps hundreds of additional dollars.
It got me so hot and bothered that I called Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco to give him the opportunity to pontificate.
"That's pretty wrong and overaggressive," Grieco assured. It's an abuse the city often gets away with because few victims take the time to challenge it, he says. After all, it's just a parking ticket and tow.
"Residents ought to be customers," he said. "And to have to sue the city to get your money back based on an improper charge is a shame."
Indeed, when it comes to parking in this town, the customer is always wrong.