Sycamore Illinois is home to many old time shops and historical buildings. Among the town’s historical significance, it uses a chain of old parking meters in front of their court house to extort people of their money before they’re extorted of their money.
Interestingly, the town has kept the parking meters in operation for historical purposes as they are the only parking meters left in the state (if not country) that still accepts pennies as payment. However, because of their age they are no longer performing correctly and are operating out of sync. The kicker is, according to the Chicago Tribune’s article in January 2015, the company that makes the parts for the meters is no longer in business and the city is having trouble keeping the timers maintained.
Seemingly head personnel of the parking meter racket, Giovanni Serra said in the article, “No one has the timers that we need, As far as screws and stuff go, we got all that. As far as timers go, we have a big problem.”
The laws pertaining to these meters are similar to any other parking meter law, and like any other law, are enforced by violence.
As some laws hold inherent validity on the nature of the crime being broken, those laws are usually backed up by something logical. For instance, a speeding law held up by a radar gun would have to recognize the correct calibration of the gun itself in order to justify that law being broken. Similarly, DUI breathalyzers are required to be calibrated as well for those readings to be considered admissible and valid in court.
The featured video shows that very same parking meter personnel issuing a citation for an alleged violation on a broken meter. When confronted, he inadvertently admits his awareness of the problem with the meters. As with most confrontation with police on a logical argument, he replied that I should take it up with the city, and if I am fined, I have the right to appeal the citation. This implies to me, that even though he is well aware that what he is doing is inherently immoral, he continues to do so because his badge grants him the extra right to steal from you without consequence.
As I continued to deconstruct his argument and even his position as a police officer, he became extremely offensive. As shown in the video, instead of continuing to issue more citations on camera, he walked across the street, mumbling how much of a “piece of shit” I was for “badgering” him. At this point, I no longer saw it necessary to be professional or polite with him and I told him exactly what I thought of him and his job.
He immediately walks back across the street and physically assaults me. Moments before he was able to fully cross the street, I told my girlfriend to begin recording the incident and I believe this alone is what kept the situation from being escalated to me being tazed or shot by Giovanni.
It is no secret that these parking meters are faulty and should not have citations issued based on their merit alone. Last year, I filmed a video after I had visited the court house of me feeding two separate meters, returning to them 15 minutes later to discover they were at different times. This was a clear indication to me that they were not calibrated properly even at that time.
I am in no way suggesting that the city should use tax payer dollars to replace these broken meters. If the city chooses to leave them up for historical value, I support that. However, it is entirely immoral and illegal to continue to issue citations on these meters just for the sake of doing so. In my personal opinion, theft cannot be justified ethically. Yet, regardless of my opinion, this racket can’t even be justified legally.
As previously mentioned, the officer in the featured video is Giovanni Serra of the Sycamore Police Department.
Sycamore Police (815) 895-2123
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