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In June, I received a second-notice citation from Buffalo's Division of Parking Enforcement. It stated that I had been guilty of a parking violation at 1:30 a.m. on Chippewa Street and that I owed $45. I was surprised because my wife and I had been out of town on the date in question and nobody else had access to our car.

The other issue that disturbed me was that I had never received a first notice. The notice of violation, however, did have the correct license number and the right make and model of car.

After writing them a letter and stating my case, I received a notice directing me to appear before a hearing officer in City Hall. Again I stated my case, telling him I had not been in Buffalo on that date and had never received a first notice. The hearing officer reduced the fine to $20 because I had not received a first notice. However, he said he could not do anything else because he had no way of knowing where my car was on the day in question.

The $20 fine is not going to break me. But the question remains how this can happen. It seems to me that something is wrong with a system that can send out a parking violation to someone who was not even in the city at the time of the violation and yet can collect a fine.


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