St Paul Snow Plowing and Ticketing Rules are a SCAM

11 01 2008

First of all, on Wednesday night around 9:30pm, Kaci’s car got ticketed due to the “Snow Emergency” that was in effect while she had her Tiburon parked out on the streets. We’d just gone out to eat at around 8:30 and got back at 9:45 to see a plastic packet under the wipers. $45 because the side of the street she was on was a “Night Plowing Route” but we didn’t know it was cuz of the lack of signs. So well she got her ticket and the Night Plow starts at 9PM and goes on till 6AM but the streets weren’t plowed at all. Below is a picture of the street after she moved her car to a WEST-EAST street (Buford Avenue) where I parked my Civic.

If we thought that was injustice, imagine my surprise when I went to move my car at 9:30am the next morning to the spot in front of the house. Kaci had left late in the evening so her car was gone which is fine but my car was missing as well. One side of the street was plowed while the side where my car was parked wasn’t. WTH is going on here? I thought only the streets with the “Night Plow Route” signs were plowed. Buford Avenue (East-to-West street) didn’t have any signs.

As you can see in the above pic, there are treads of my car and it looks like it was dragged since I had my hand-brake on which effectively locks the rear wheels on a front-wheel drive car. Now I couldn’t be sure if my car was towed by the City of St. Paul/Minneapolis or if it was stolen. So logged onto the internet and found this website relating to “snow emergency” procedures. Clicking around told me that Day Plow Routes had no signs and would be in effect from 8am to 5pm. That is stupid. If there are no signs, they should at least have the courtesy of leaving my car behind or the $45 ticket fine on the windshield.

Now like I said, I didn’t know if my car was stolen or if the city had towed it away since my side of the street hadn’t been plowed. Somehow, I found this # 651-603-6895 (for St Paul towing) to dial which was supposed to take me to the office involved with the towing. Dialed it a million times to see if they had my car in the impound lot but nobody’s picking up the phone. A whole hour of dialing and not a single person picking the line and there’s no voice-mail feature either. How annoying. There was another # on the website 651-603-8695 which would lead me to a “This number is no longer in service” message.

Finally fed-up, I logged onto the official City of St Paul main website and called their Customer Service # 6510603-8989. A lady answered the phone and diverted me to this # 651-487-4700 saying that was the direct line. I told her that the City of St Paul needed to hire someone part-time to answer the phone because it’s driving a lot of people to frustration to which she told me to apply online. Then she thanked me and told me she was transferring me to the # she advised me because she couldn’t help any further on the matter. Transferred but no pick-up. Called up the # 651-487-4700 but no answer to the line again. Called the 603-6895 number multiple times and switching between the 487-4700 line every few attempts.

Finally, a rather rude lady answered the phone. I asked to confirm if my car was in the lot and she said she didn’t have that ability. Then I asked her what was required to get back my car if in the event that it wasn’t stolen and the city had indeed impounded it. Her requirements included a valid driver’s license, valid auto insurance, and the vehicle title. She said there would be a $45 charge for the ticket, $191 for towing, and $5 for using a check or debit card if payment wasn’t made in cash. The ticket was an automatic if your car got towed I guess. I told her that my insurance card had me printed as the owner and that was why I probably wouldn’t need my car title to which she responded saying that if I had recently sold my car, the insurance card would still say I was the owner. There was no way to verify if I was the owner.

Now I was calm and polite the whole time as I was talking to her while she was yapping angrily away at me as though I was the devil himself. I argued that my title was at home an hour and a half up north and I couldn’t possibly get there without my car. She told me that I could buy a duplicate title from the DMV which would set me back around $15 or $35. I asked her if I could get it for free since it’s only something that shows I’m the owner and she said I HAD TO BUY the duplicate title. So very unhelpful. I took down the address information for the nearest DMV in St Paul and the impound lot.

Then I then told her the same thing that I told the lady at the CSR line for the city – they needed a part-time person to pick up the phone on the other line to which she told me to look for jobs on the website if I was looking for a job. I told her there were no job postings for it so she should add it herself. She told me she would add it only if she was told to do it by her supervisors and if she were me, she would purchase the title from the DMV to get back the car. Before she hung up abruptly, she didn’t even have the professionalism to say this magical accepted phrase – “Have a great day!” What a bitch! I was now seriously pissed-off.

The girlfriend came to the rescue. Drove me to the DMV first to purchase my title. On the way, I called the good folks out at the DMV (651-292-9791) located above Sears in St Paul near the Capital building and a very pleasant speaking lady in sharp contrast to the person behind the line told me that I could have it printed for free as long as it’s just a document showing I was the owner. Got there and waited for 30 minutes. Called the line again and the same lady informed that since I was only there for a print-out, I could go to the far-right corner and pick it up. And I picked it up. Had her stamp it just to make it official. 😀 Hope she gets a raise.

We drove off to find a WellsFargo ATM and found one at a gas station. My stupid Gold debit card wasn’t working. Thankfully, Kaci’s WellsFargo card worked and I withdrew $200 and already had $50 in my wallet in cash so that was good. Off to the impound lot.

Then drove over to “1129 Cathlin St, St. Paul, MN” to pick up the car. Dang. A long line already outside the small building and the temperature was in the teens and light snow flakes making their way down. Everybody was cold and miserable. Good thing Nima was there to keep me company along with fleeting broken conversations of the grumbling nature. As we were waiting, the line kept getting longer and longer. Around 500 people in the compound as more and more tow-trucks came in with more cars hauled in. A news crew came over but the security people hustled them outside. They kept filming from outside the compound. Everybody and myself including appeared disgruntled. Bad day to be outside waiting to pay $240 and pick up our car. It’s almost like the line to go purchase a Nintendo Wii. After about nearly 2 hours outside, finally got inside the building. Another long line there with people waiting to pay their $240.

Get this now. Inside, a security officer was announcing saying that if no driver’s license, you needed a title to the car. If you did have a driver’s license with insurance, you won’t need the title. There were large signs also saying the same thing. That stupid rude lady on the phone either lied to me or doesn’t know what the frak she was talking about.

Finally, my turn after nearly 3 hours. Here’s the breakdown of the towing charges contrary to what the news incorrectly reported as $122 in total fines a few weeks before this incident.

1. Tow Charge: $123.07 (Average towing charges should range from $25-75. Those liars.)
2. Storage Charge: $0.00 (Thank God I went there on the first day)
3. Admin Charge: $55.00 (To pay all the grumpy employees.)
4. Sales Tax: $12.46 (WTF man. Sales Tax for paying your stupid fines?)
5. Service Charge: $0.00 (Now what the heck could this be? Doing an Oil Change?)
6. Total Charges: $190.53

Then they slapped the $45 ticket onto it pushing it up to $235.53 for towing my car. Around me, clerks were squabbling about pennies with some of the poorer people who had their cars towed. Very sad picture.

Below is a picture of my car after I brought it back. It looked so pretty and I was so glad to be able to see it again that I had to take a picture. So now here it is for all to see while at the same time, it’s increasing my desire to one day look into the eyes of all the people responsible for my horrible day and see where they’re at someday in the future when I’m making a 6-figure income. Here’s to hoping karma acts as a catalyst in making my dreams come true.

And all this happened the day before I was to leave Minnesota for Florida which added to the high levels of stress I was already experiencing due to Northwest Airlines not having a seat ready for me on all my flights to and from Orlando.

So if ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to call 651-266-PLOW or 651-266-7569 (for QWERTY keypad phone users) to find up to date info on snow emergencies and plowing routes.

If there is one thing I learned from this event, it is that the laws of this nation are out there to protect the interests of those in power. In my case, this poorly thought-out “snow emergency” rule is a constraint only to the poor and lower income citizens who can’t afford to own a garage or secure a private parking lot. So not only are the poor targeted by this snow-emergency law, the rules ensure that if the poor people who had their cars towed are unable to come up with $236 in cash (which should be easy right?), they have to wait outside for a considerable amount of time in the nail-biting cold, and still made to pay an additional $5 penalty for using a bank debit card or a check.

Yea, let’s put them in their place. Let them know that they’re the lower-class citizens and that they deserve to be punished. We should ensure they get stuck in that position by having them lose more money, so we will never have to worry about them making as much money as us. Cuz you know, it would sure suck to have an ordinary person driving a brand new Lexus or BMW and pulling up next to us at a traffic stop. Yea. Let’s strip them of any dignity left in them by taking all their money and humiliating them by making them stand outside in the cold. That should be enough to make them disillusioned enough to never make it big.


Honda Civic Cruise Control problem solved!

12 09 2007

In my previous post dated 07/23/07, I talked about a problem getting my cruise control on my Honda Civic to work on the freeways. My only trick was to drive for 5-10 mebbe 15 minutes to get it to work. But that didn’t work all the time and was pissing me off. This time I figured it out. Before we go there, let’s get back to the initial problem.

The symptoms it showed were:

1. When the cruise button ON switch was depressed, the green light would come on.

2. Then when the SET CRUISE button on the steering wheel was pushed, nothing would happen.

While driving down to the cities the previous week to drop-off a friend to the Minneapolis (MSP) airport and talking to him, I realized something – my cruise had worked the second I pushed the 2 buttons. Then a nagging feeling hit me …

… My clutch! Ever since I had my clutch replaced, those mechanics didn’t bother to put in the right hydraulic pod and it doesn’t come all the way back up. Usually, I’d jus nudge it from below and it would pop-up all the way. Sometimes, it jus came up by itself but there’s that 1 inch of looseness in the clutch.

I tried it. I pushed down the clutch. My CRUISE disabled itself. WOOOT! With my clutch not all the way up, I hit the SET CRUISE. The cruise system didn’t take over. I nudged the clutch a bit and it went all the way up and then hit the SET key. SUCCESS!

And to think this whole time I was afraid it might’ve been an electrical issue. Had the “main relay” replaced and that didn’t fix it. Checked almost all my fuses under the dash and under the hood and no problems there either. So the answer was right there next to my left foot. Gosh!

Conclusion: If you drive a stick (or manual transmission) and have issues getting the cruise controls to work, try and see if your clutch goes all the way up.

New muffler for the old ride

21 08 2007

So had a new muffler and pipe installed on my old Civic. Set me back only $105 which was surprising. The muffler installation on my old Probe GT cost me $250 so this took me back. And without hesitation, had the old holey muffler and pipe removed/sawed-off. The new one had to be ordered, took 15 mins and when it got here, the guys at MG Exhaust Service (on Lincoln) did a great job of getting the correct length of the end tailpipe and welding everything together along with the screws.

Boy did I get a deal. $75 for the muffler, tailpipe, and mmm over axel pipe? and $25 for labor. All’s good!

Logged on eBay to look up somethings and noticed a seller selling a muffler for my Honda. WTF! It’s only 30 bucks after shipping. Holy shit! It was one of those after-market cool-looking ricer stuff. Feel kinda dumb now. If only I’d bought it on eBay and had the muffler guys fix it. I’d even pay them 50 bucks for labor. Oh well. I know what to do for my next car. And hope you don’t make my mistake!

The sad “ricer” image with Civics

12 08 2007

The other day, I ran into some issues surrounding high school kids and my Civic.

So here I was minding my own business and driving out to grab some supplies at the local Target and we had the window open making use of the nice weather to save gas by not using AC. We slowly drove past a parking lot with like 3 or 4 high school aged kids on the right-side of West Division Street due to the busy traffic at the moment. They had the hood up on their car (some domestic model) and one kid looks at me, lifts his arms up, and yells out “I can’t find the turbo” or something with a smirk. At first I was confused cuz I wasn’t quite sure what he said until Kaci told me.

Then it dawned on me. I’m driving a nice Honda Civic and his old Chevy was giving him problems so he was just being jealous and trying to throw out a “ricer” tag out at me. WTF? What an idiot. Turbo? What the fuck? I don’t need a turbo to get me to work and back. Holy shit. If he doesn’t want to have problems with fixing every niggling little bug in his GM/Chevy piece of shit, he should just go out and get a Honda! You don’t need to add a rear spoiler, neon lights, or a turbo just cuz you own an import.

We got what we needed at Target and I was driving back hoping to see those clowns so I could beat up that high schooler. Mother fucking piece of shit. Got my blood all boiled up. Unfortunately, they weren’t there at the parking lot anymore. I’ve got an image of his face in my mind and if I see him around, I’ll make sure to knock the shit outta that high school piece of dirt bag. Fuck that shit. I’ll call him a redneck who sleeps with his sister just cuz he drives a domestic and make him understand what it feels like to be discriminated/generalized so openly like that. People don’t understand discrimination until they experience it themselves.

If that asshole is reading this blog, here is a picture of a turbo. Usually, that’s what you see. Well from the other side. If you’re talking about an intercooler, it’s slightly different. Next time you yell out “I can’t find the turbo” remember, you look like a fool for not being able to recognize the turbo-set under the hood. Fuck that shit kiddo. Anybody’ll recognize the turbo if it’s installed in your car. If you can’t find it, I hope you stay away from your car for the sake of everybody’s safety in town. We can’t have retards driving around endangering the lives of other people.


Some interesting pics from last month

5 08 2007

Just a few pictures taken last month. The first shows a tennis court with 2 rainbows in the background. We got done with tennis and it starts to rain. That’s when I noticed the rainbows and took those pics from my car. The second picture is a view of our parking lot. My brother’s getting ready to leave. The third picture shows my new Firestone tires after I had to put the trusty Goodyears to rest at last.

… and something different. 🙂

Me and the downtown fountain and the master chef in the line of grill duty!

The amazing Jonathan. The human jell-o with lab testers on a roller!

New tires. What should you get?

5 08 2007

Well to be honest, I really don’t know what you should get but a fine word of advice is to try to stay away from Chinese branded tires. Some research on the internet shows that Chinese tires are likelier to develop problems. Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of unintentional power-sliding (sorta like drifting) when I’d make turns in my Civic. The Goodyear Touring class running on all 4 wheels were slipping on hot asphalt. I’d taken a 25 MPH exit at 35 MPH like I normally do and I heard loud screeching sounds from my tires as my Civic started to pull a Colin McRae on the curved section of the freeway. I knew that was gonna take place sooner or later because last winter, I had a tough time trying to get my car to take a turn without over-steer or any power-slides. Later, I ran the standard penny test on all 4 tires.

The picture above shows the cut-off line for a tire with good grip. As long as the treads cover the hair, you’re fine but on mine, good ol’Abe’s head was completely visible. The treads were all weathered, cracked, and worn out. Memories of the last winter’s dangerous moments flooded my mind and I set off to get me some new grippers on all four wheels.

The cheapest place I found was Tires Plus. Was all set to get the Chinese-made Primewells even though you never really know about the quality. In the end, the sales person told me that all brands other than Primewell were subject to the “Buy 3 Get 1 Free!” deal. That ended up making the Firestone Touring class roughly 50 bucks cheaper. Too bad they didn’t have a set of Goodyears or I would’ve tried on gettin them.

Check out the deep grooves on these all-season babies. After I drove out of Tires Plus, wow is all I can say. No longer was my car dangerously sliding it’s rear end or did I have to suffer the unusually extreme torque steer issues. I’ve yet to test them out on wet conditions so can’t pass a final verdict.

Yea I still don’t know what you should get.

Honda Civic failure to start?

25 07 2007

Apparently if you’re having issues starting your Honda and it’s either a 1988-1991 or a 1992-1995 model Civic, then the most likely culprit is the main relay. The issue never replicates itself in winter. Amazing. Usually you have problems starting cars in frigid cold temperatures because the chemicals in the battery freeze or smth and something to do with the gasoline line etc.

Civics are unique. They won’t start in a warm/hot sunny day. The reason being that the “main relay” connections aren’t as good as they used to be so with the rise in temperature, the wires might expand and completely miss each other. Here are some tricks you could do to start your car if you have that problem.

1. Gun the engine rapidly a few times.
2. Put your car in neutral and have someone push the car while you attempt to start the engine.
3. Turn the key on the ignition one click clock-wise and wait for the beep sounds. Then look at the instrument panel display and wait for the “Engine Check” light to disappear. The moment it disappears, you can start your car. Now there’s been a coupla times when that didn’t quite work but it usually does.
4. The best remedy is to replace your main relay. They cost anywhere from 30-60 bucks and is located below the steering wheel near the fusebox. You can do it yourself or have it professionally done and it shouldn’t cost you much.
5. Or if you’re poor, try kicking the fusebox panel. It works. Summer’s on it’s way out and you can be happy in winter knowing that you won’t have this problem for the next 6 months.

I’ve had this problem and so did a few friends of mine who had 1988-1995 Civic models.

EDIT 08/07/07: Cmon. There’s always over 50 people reading this dumb post everyday and NOT A SINGLE COMMENT? What is up guys? Just leave a little something for me will ya? You don’t have to put down your real email address. Say something like “” and you are still able to post your thoughts. Where’re all the thank yous? Don’t do this to me.

08/20/07: Thanks DrJazzB!