Service of Nonsensical Laws and Regulations: Cockamamie Campaign Finance, Motor Vehicle Rules and Road Signs

July 23rd, 2013

Categories: Campaign Finance, Laws, Road Signs

Stolen License 1

 

Pocket Laws

I thought it strange that Christine Quinn was reprimanded for paying for campaign activities out of her own pocket–it’s against the law–when the converse would seem to cause a problem. Read about this in The Wall Street Journal.

Plate Laws

We ran into an unsettling situation this weekend when we discovered the front license plate missing on our car [photo above]. I went back to where we park at the railroad station during the week and I didn’t find the plate. I was hoping it had fallen off or that kids had been up to mischief and had tossed it somewhere. I’ll never know why someone took the plate and one from at least one other car near where we’d parked [photo below, right].

Next stop was to the state troopers where I got a “Report of Lost, Stolen or Confiscated Motor Vehicles Items,” form and left the station puzzled and shaken. Stolen license 2

The desk trooper told me that I didn’t need to report one missing plate and wasn’t the slightest interested that at least one other car had been vandalized. This is a sleepy town where, thank goodness, nothing too bad happens so it’s not as though the station is overwhelmed with people in handcuffs hanging out in the lounge. I was the only visitor and a call came in while I was there about a woman overwhelmed in the heat.  

This nonchalance made no sense. My nephew, in the car business, confirmed my suspicion that someone taking plates was probably up to no good. He said to take care of the situation ASAP and noted that some use the good plates to sell stolen cars. I envisioned someone having an accident with my plate and causing complications for us–even though the car, plates and registration would not match.

toll boothThe Motor Vehicles clerk said that some use the stolen plates to rack up toll booth fees by zipping through without EZ Pass device or coin. We should be off the hook as of Monday when the clerk associated the car with a new license plate in the computer and trust we hear no echoes about the matter.

Back to the head-scratching, sloppy aspect of this: The form noted that the fee for the new plates–and registration–might be waived if a crime is involved. My form confirms this–so why not take that step? It seems like poor advice not to register such an incident with the police if only for self-protection. Can’t you just hear a judge or vendor such as EZ Pass ask, “Did you report this????” should a problem arise. It simplified the procedure with Motor Vehicles and we paid nothing for the new plates and registration certificate.

Last, according to both the trooper and the instructions: “If only one license plate was stolen and you had a two-plate set, turn in the remaining plate to the Motor Vehicles office.” It doesn’t say that you will be given new plates on the spot so bring a screw driver and extra bolts. Without this information why would you want to park a car on the street with no plates? In addition, if there were a way to keep the original plate number and clear our responsibility for last week I would have preferred it. We would have saved steps to contact the insurance company, EZ Pass, the company from which we lease the car and the parking company to record the new plates.

Thieves had to crouch in weeds to remove license plates.

Thieves had to crouch in weeds to remove license plates.

So far the cost in cash was $7.00 for the revised parking permit–the car dealer gave me the bolts—but the cost in time will be almost a day of work in addition to the stress of feeling violated. The trooper was not sympathetic, in fact he made me feel like an idiot because in looking for the latest registration form he noticed and smirked because we’d kept a pile of expired ones. [I’m not the only one as I found out when telling others of this experience.] He said having them in the folder wasted time. 55 mph speed sign

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While I’m addressing cockamamie rules and laws, why do we have traffic signs in Dutchess county that instruct drivers that the 45 mile per hour zone is over when it would cost the same to install one noting 55? We crawl behind umpteen drivers who don’t notice the passive sign and see only the 45 part of it.

Are there laws and regulations that don’t make sense to you? Do you keep copies of expired documents? Why do state troopers shrug at a theft that could lead to additional illegal behavior?

Right turn from left only

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4 Responses to “Service of Nonsensical Laws and Regulations: Cockamamie Campaign Finance, Motor Vehicle Rules and Road Signs”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    Have laws changed? To the best of my recollection, Hillary Clinton poured millions into an unsuccessful presidential campaign in ’08, as did Lame Duck Bloomberg a year later. They are not in jail or even taken to task. So why pick on Quinn?

    The country is full of bizarre and laughable laws, as revealed by a deceased cyber pal, some as frivolous as making it illegal to kiss on Sundays or wear a girdle in some communities. Today, thousands are being needlessly jailed due to unenforceable drug and sex laws, thus distinguishing the US with the largest population of yard birds on the planet. A flawed justice system permits wrongful incarceration, and even deaths. The lazy Dutchess County cops are merely symptoms of the disease. Imagine them swinging to action had you been the mayor, county executive or other presumed worthy. Should there be a next time, make a big noise, arouse the sleepy local press from a slow news day, and see what happens.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    Good question re. Quinn. I admit to not studying the article [in fact, I forgot to link to it when formatting the post and may still do so] but maybe it has something to do with declaring that you are paying with your own money….Yet as there are no limits to how much can be spent for campaigns [another subject and I think that there should be], it still seems strange.

    The tried and true weekly paper upstate died long ago and something else, far less ambitious, has emerged in its stead. I may nevertheless send a letter and see what happens.

    As for not being the Mayor I probably should have dressed up before landing at the station. I didn’t look important, as Hyacinth in the BBC comedy, “Keeping Up Appearances,” would have remarked, closer to her brother in law Onslow than to someone with connections.

  3. Tiberius Said:

    Re: Quinn:

    Nobody is perfect, but Bloomberg is far better than anyone in sight running for mayor next fall. If the below quotes from an article by Frank Lombardi in the Daily News on Friday, January 15, 2010, are correct, he purchased the Mayorality.

    “Mayor Bloomberg’s final tab for his third-term victory was a stratospheric $108,371,685.01.

    “The new tally means Bloomberg spent an average of $185.10 for each of the 585,466 votes he got in the Nov. 3 election…

    “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that limiting a candidate’s spending of his or her own money is tantamount to limiting their freedom of speech.”

    The trouble is that not every rich man or woman buying an office has good intentions or the competence to manage a place like New York. I’m for reform, but instead of limiting campaign contributions, why not reform our educational system and teach the electorate something about civics instead of just how to push buttons and keys on machines? Then we ought to limit the vote to the well-educated.

    Re: Dutchess County Police:

    Having worked for a time as a policeman, I can tell you there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to stop crime. Even if the police had made an effort to find your thief and found him, they would have been laughed out of court by the powers that be. What with our jammed-packed jails, no self-respecting judge would do anything more than slap a wrist of somebody who stole a license plate. There is an old saying that the public gets what it deserves. If you want a law-abiding public, change the public or adopt laws like the Saudis have. You steal something; your hand is cut off. (You take drugs; you are stoned to death.) Among other things, such laws save money, as you need far fewer jail cells.

    Re: Stupid Signs:

    Those signs are where they are because some “expert,” possibly somebody’s campaign contributor, decided they should be. You want them changed; make a lot of money; start your own campaign; buy your own office, and change them.

    PS: The sign I’ve always liked best was the small one on the Triboro Bridge that says, “This way to the Javitz Center.” Somebody must have had a sense of humor.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Tiberius,

    So how do measure “well educated?” Are you suggesting we go back to the landowners only vote situation that translated to only the rich can vote, shortcut translation: Only the rich can think?

    Earlier this week I heard several articulate people call into a radio program on the topic of Weiner/Spitzer NY City politics each with the same message: We can either have competent or ethical politicians, not both, so in that case, they opt for competent.

    I agree that we have been lucky with Mayor Bloomberg: He’s indebted to nobody, has a gimlet eye on the budget and is smart and honest, all benefits. Just as I disagree with your idea that only the well educated should vote, I agree with your anxiety should only the rich be able to afford to run for office.

    As for the Dutchess County police–I went to the state troopers, which doesn’t change the topic. Compared to someone whose house was burned down by an enemy or whose relative was run over by a hit and run driver my issue was microscopic and my distress ridiculous. However, I’d had less than catastrophic dealings before with this station and was treated with respect.

    I was a juror on a shocking case in Brooklyn: A maintenance man in the projects was accused of stealing supplies. Estimated value: $320. Why was I shocked? I could not believe that so much time and money was spent on such a case. Therefore, I doubt that your hypothetical judge would blink at the police bringing in petty thieves. Further: My guess is that people who go to this trouble are up to far more trouble than stealing plates.

    Back to these state troopers: They are primarily dealing with small stuff which may be boring, but stopping it would give them something to do, putting my considerable tax dollars to work.

    As for the sign on the Triboro Bridge, you are right–amazingly misleading and wasteful! The arrow pointed downtown to the East side of the city. The Javits is on the West side. I haven’t been on the bridge in ages as I avoid tolls and don’t know if the sign is still there but you win for best example of a silly sign.

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