Friday, June 27, 2008

Vehicle Abatement: Tough or not tough enough?

Reading this week's North Coast Journal piece on vehicle abatement in Eureka, sounds like it might have become one of those things that takes on a life of its own like so much else in government. At least some people seem to be having their own cars, parked in front of their own houses, towed. I was afraid this might happen.

When I first heard that they were going to step up enforcement of abandoned or illegally parked cars, I wondered if it might come to this. I mentioned here before that one of my pet peeves is abandoned cars. I've turned at least two in myself over the last year. I was going to turn in a couple others but they were either moved or towed before I got the chance.

I think Eureka's vehicle abatement program worked fine before. I've had that McCauley fellow- the guy who used to do most of the abatement work- stop by and ask me about my wrecked trailer. Once I told him it was mine, he went on his way. I've had my newer trailer tagged for abatement, as well. Tore off the sticker, though, and never heard from them again.

But some people, including my old National Guard Buddy, Kris Reynolds, don't think the abatement efforts go far enough.

I'll acknowledge that there are problem cases like the one she mentions, but hopefully those can be dealt with whether or not we get even tougher on illegally parked cars, as she suggests. Yes, there will always be some difficult cases, no matter how tough we write the laws.

Besides, now with the Police Service Officers proactively driving around and tagging cars, think about the gas being used. The cost of the gas alone should be enough to give people second thoughts about this stepped up enforcement.

Let's not beat ourselves over the head with this thing. It worked well enough the way it used to be handled.


At 5:31 PM, Blogger gb05 said...

Here's some more laws for Humboldters to ignore. Sent to me via email & I'm too lazy to verify accuracy of them.

New Driving Fines for 2008 in State of California

1. Carpool lane - 1st time $1068.50 starting 7/1/08
(The $271 posted on the highway is old).
Don't do it again because 2nd time is going to be double.
3rd time triple, and 4th time license suspended.

2. Incorrect lane change - $380. Don't cross the lane on solid lines or intersections.

3. Blocking intersection - $485

4. Speeders can only drive 3 miles above the limit.

5. Driving on the shoulder - $450

6. DUI = JAIL (Stays on your driving record for 10 years!)

7. Passengers over 18 not in their seatbelts - BOTH passengers and drivers get tickets .

8. Cell phone use in the construction zone. - DOUBLE fine as of 07/01/08. Cell phone use must be "hands free" while driving. As always, fines are doubled for all infractions in a construction zone

9. As of 07/01/08 cell phone use must be "hands free" while driving. Ticket is $285.
They will be looking for this like crazy - easy money for police department.
Emergency calls to 911 are exceptions for all drivers.

10. TEENS, drivers under age 18 as of July 1, 2008, SB 33 prohibits their use of electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, blackberries, pagers, laptops, texting, etc.) while driving.
Currently California law SB1613 (which goes into effect on 7/1/08) will require all drivers using a cell phone to use a hands-free device, but SB 33 stops this from applying to teens under age 18.
The fine for both is $20 for the first offense and $50 for repeat offenders.
Again, emergency calls to 911 are exceptions for all drivers. And, of course there is record of numbers called from cell phones, so no lying, you all.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stepped up enforcement" is music to my ears. Face it, Fred. If the old system worked, there wouldn't be such a great need for a new (more effective) system to be put into place.

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Moviedad said...

I remember when I first learned about the abatement law. in 1982 I landed in Avila Beach, CA, with my old school bus, just in time for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear protest. I wasn't too educated on the nuclear power issue, I was mostly just a drunken kid partying his way through life.
My bus blew its motor and I had to park it while I went to LA to try and get a job, earn the money needed, and then buy an engine. I figured this would all take about a month.
I had attained permission from the owners of the property, which was right next door to a automotive machine shop. Good spot I thought, lots of junk around so I wouldn't stand out. I took my BSA off the back and headed out.
Exactly 21 days later I was back with an engine, my bike and my uncle in his El Camino. No Bus. I couldn't believe it. I went to the property owner who told me that the Avila Beach sheriff had come to tow the bus away because someone had complained. The only residences around was an old "gulag" of an apartment building.
My uncle and I went to the Sheriffs station, and I was told about the "Abatement Law" which was used to take my school bus off private, lightly fenced property. I lost all that I had at that time, my oil paintings, my clothing, my stuff. now 26 years later I realize I was a complete dope. But I remember the feeling of injustice, of being targeted by society merely for being poor. I'm sure those who lose their only vehicle feel victimized by society for being poor.
As for me I say you can't carpet the world just because you don't want to look at any of the dirt.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Fred said...

5:59 wrote, "If the old system worked, there wouldn't be such a great need for a new (more effective) system to be put into place.".

I disagree. The "old system" seemed to rely more on citizen complaints and generally just one guy who would drive around seeking problems. He'd look into things that he'd find, as he did with my smashed trailer, and move on if it belonged to the person living nearby.

This stepped up approach has numerous police employees apparently going around trying to make a problem where there wasn't one.

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what I love about living in a free country, Fred. We can disagree with each other, and yet, we don't have to get all militant against each other.

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

I've done the dance with the vehicle abatement people in Eureka too. I only have room for one car in my garage, which is where I kept my Miata, convertible. I kept my Ford Explorer parked on the street. It was in perfect condition, not a scratch on it, and of course fully licensed. During the summer I didn't drive it much, perferring the Miata. So my Explorer would sit in the same spot for a week or more at a time, on a side street, not another car parked around it. Yet I kept getting these notices from the vehicle abatement police. I would just move it to another spot. Meanwhile, the house on the corner was littered with junk vehicles on the lawn. It was ridiculous. I finally sold my Miata so I could get my Explorer off the street.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Exactly. There are a number of people that might not drive their cars that much. I don't think this was supposed to be about people getting their car towed if they left their car out in front of their house while they were away for a week, or decided to start riding a bike to work.

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, Fred. I think it is mainly about removing rusting hulks parked on our streets as if they were garbage dumps. It may have something to do with a desire of most Eurekans not to llive in the functional equivalent of a low-rent trailer park. The new rules might lead to the removal of junk vehicles, thus increasing the value of the houses in certain sections of our town. Call me a cock-eyed optimist.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

Stepped up enforcement is good news, along with mandatory trash pickup and recycling.


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