Two tickets to Paradise

Q: My dear Ace, like any normal person, I’ve racked up a few parking tickets in my day. However, when the City slaps me one, sometimes it’s in a white ticket with postage-paid envelope, and sometimes it’s stuck inside a yellow envelope with no postage paid. What’s up with dat?—Peddie Krymes

A: Oh, Peddie, like every true Charlottesvillian, Ace warns you: Don’t get Ace started on parking woes! Once, for example, when Ace was scheduled to graduate from the Acme School of High Rollers, the local five-ohs sent Ace a special notice saying, “Oh no you don’t! Not before you pay us that [insert current Lotto jackpot figure here] in parking tickets you owe us, PRONTO.” Poor, poor Ace cried and begged and worked that Ace magic and, in the end, ponied up, dammit, and got that coveted diploma.

   But blah, blah, blah, sob story. Ace digresses.

   Since parking tickets equal money out of citizens’ pockets and into the City’s, Ace stopped by the City Treasurer’s office to get the financial scoop. The office is in charge of managing the paid parking fines and luckily, Jennifer Brown, City Treasurer, was tickled pink to help an Ace out. According to Brown, the City hasn’t used the white tickets with postage kindly paid for “at least two years.”

   About two years ago, she said, while looking for places to scrimp and save in their budget, the Treasurer’s Office decided to stop paying the parking ticket postage. While unable to say exactly how much, Brown described the amount as “substantial.” It was then that the City switched over to the small, yellow envelopes with the ticket tucked safely inside with no postage in sight.

   “Why shouldn’t you have to pay postage when you’ve parked illegally?” Brown inquired rhetorically. Um…er…uh…’cause no one wants to? Ah, logic.

   Brown, however, was not sure why one might have encountered an old school, postage-paid parking ticket of late. But, she hazarded the educated guess that there’s a meter maid riding around out there with an old ticket or two stashed in the patrol car. This meter maid then whips out the old tickets for the occasional parking violator with a guardian angel.

   For confirmation, Ace called in the weekly howdy-do to Maurice Jones, Director of Communications for the City. Jones agreed with Brown’s educated guess, adding the fun facts that thus far in the fiscal year, Charlottesville has raked in $334,580 in parking tickets. Break that down to $15-100 a pop and, Jones says, that’s a grand total of 13,421 tickets kindly bestowed upon the goodly law-breaking populace of Charlottesville.

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