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Friday, January 9, 2009

Tickets? Who Needs Tickets?

***Spanish translation follows at the end of post
***Version en castellano sigue al pie de la nota

One of my pet peeves on living in Argentina has raised its ugly head. This particular behavior by a segment of the local population really drives me up the wall. No it´s not the one where they let their dogs shit anywhere they please and don´t pick it up. Although, that one is up there as well.

This one has to do with their cars.

When I first came to Argentina one of the things that struck me as an ugly and potential road hazard where these yellow iron bars or tubes that you would see going from the curb out onto the street. You can see an example of them in this picture.



I did a complete 180° turn on this one though, after living here a while. The reason people put them out there was to keep idiots from parking in front of their garages. I guess it just is not obvious enough that you should not park in front of a garage, let alone when they have "no parking" signs on them, the curb is painted yellow, and just the common sense that where there is a garage door normally there are cars going in and out of them just doesn´t dawn on them.

No, this little observation is just completely lost on a certain segment of the local population.

The new mayor in town has been an overachiever in road maintenance since the National Government doesn´t really let him do much of anything else. One of the things that he wanted to do was to put the police under city control and to have the revenue destined for police salaries transferred over to him to pay for them. Since he is a political enemy of the current National Government it was pretty obvious that they were not going to let him have his police.

He is going ahead with it anyway and creating his own police force. In fact, he is accepting applications right now. Meanwhile, the city has adopted tough new laws aimed at increasing control of its roads. For example, all of us start out with 20 points and depending on what infractions you are caught committing, you get points deducted.

The city inspectors have all been given Scooby snacks and they have been out in force actually doing their jobs. They visited us several times and made me take my own garage-space-saving-bars out. Since I have a business I am a very easy target for them, and so I took them down.

I immediately applied for a no parking city sign and have not heard from them yet. I also filled out the paperwork for them to come by and take an abandoned car out of the road that is in front of my store, and is currently being used as a home sans indoor plumbing. I have also yet to see them do anything about that.

And today, I arrived to see some idiot leave their car parked in front of my factory´s garage door. The first thing I did was to call the police. They showed up and tell me that they only thing they could do was to make a $37,50 ticket since the police does not have the power or ability to tow cars away. However, today they could not even do that. They said that the national police does not have any tickets (which are supplied by the city) because the city is giving them all to their own traffic control cops that are busy trying to take peoples points away.

I noticed that the offending car has a sign in it that explains that it belongs to a doctor. I went over to the hospital next door, but they assured me that their doctors park in their secured parking lot, but they were kind enough to ask around and could not find the owner.

I decided to just write a letter and leave it for this guy this time. However, I was also very curious and I just had to look up the history of this car. It turns out this guy has a three page traffic rap sheet. This guy runs red lights, parks in front of garages, makes left turns where he is not supposed to and either talks on the phone or has headphones on while driving.

Click on the picture below to see the car in question and images of his rap sheet...



What should I do to these guys the next time they park in front of my garage?

*****Castellano*******

Una de las cosas que odio del comportamiento de un segmento de la poblacion local tiene que ver con los autos.

En este caso en particular tiene que ver con gente que estaciona en frente de portones.

Una de las cosas que noté y me parecio mal y feo fueron los tubos en las calles que se usaban para proteger contra los que estacionan en frente de portones. No entendia como la ciudad dejaba a su gente instalar estos tubos en la via publica.

Con el tiempo aprendí que justamente porque la ciudad tampoco hace nada para proteger a sus ciudadanos contra conductores de autos que estacionan donde quieren. El gobierno se auto borra y los ciudadanos tratan de hacer lo que pueden.

Ahora Macri (en nuevo alcalde) esta arreglando las calles ya que no lo dejan hacer mucho mas. Una de las cosas que quería hacer era tener la policía bajo el control de la ciudad. Como el es enemigo del gobierno nacional era obvio que esto no lo aceptarían. El, igual, sigue adelante con su plan y esta formando su policía. Es mas, ya esta aceptando aplicaciones.

También iniciaron el plan de scoring para tratar de ordenar el caos vehicular de la ciudad. Todas cosas que me parecen barbaro para una ciudad del tamaño de Buenos Aires.

Los inspectores han salido a la calle y estan trabajando. Me visitaron y me pidieron que saque los tubos de la calle que teniamos nosotros. Yo los saque.

Hoy llego a la fabrica y veo que un idiota estacionó en frente de nuestro portón. Lo primero que hice fue llamar a la policía que después de una hora llegaron para informarme que lo único que podían hacer era laborar una acta de $37.50 pero que hoy ni podían hacer eso porque la ciudad no les esta dando libretas de actas.

Mi curiousidad me llevó a buscar los antecedentes del auto. Este estupido esta acostumbrado a hacer lo que se le cante. Tiene tres paginas de infracciones. Parece que a esta persona le gusta cruzar en luz roja, estacionar donde no debe, girar donde no debe, hablar por telefono o escuchar audifonos mientras conduce.

Bajé los antecedentes y tomé fotos del auto. Si quieren mirar solo hagan click.

Que debería hacer la próxima vez que se estacionan en frente del porton?

****** UPDATE ******

I was being interviewed by Para Ti Magazine so I could not go out and confront her. Yes, it was a woman--not that there´s anything wrong with that. I am just being observational. Anyway, she read the note that I left for her and she left. I am sure she was in a hurry to make a left turn somewhere while talking on the cell phone and eventually parking in front of someone else´s garage door.
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