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Rolly: You don't have to park to get a parking ticket in Salt Lake City

Published January 17, 2014 8:19 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I've written about folks receiving parking tickets in Salt Lake City that they didn't deserve for a variety of reasons.

When Mayor Ralph Becker's vision of solar-powered parking kiosks instead of meters resulted in unexpected miscues while the system was being perfected, a number of drivers who paid their fees into the kiosks and received receipts got tickets anyway. The remote devices used by parking enforcers didn't always accurately record that payments had been made for particular stalls.

The Parking Enforcement folks would forgive the tickets if the alleged violators had their receipts. But it still created the hassle of dealing with the bureaucracy to nullify tickets that weren't deserved in the first place.

Then there was the matter of a bad batch of dye used on vehicle-registration stickers from the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles. The color to indicate the month the registration expired often would fade out, and, in Salt Lake City, motorists were getting "improper-registration" tickets for that.

Then there was the app that allowed people to pay their parking fees just by clicking their cellphones. That didn't always work either and folks had to deal with the inconvenience of getting those tickets dismissed.

But here's a new one:

In Salt Lake City, you can get a parking ticket, apparently, even if you haven't parked.

That's what happened to Sandy resident Karla Nye on the night of Dec. 28, when she attended "The Nutcracker" ballet at the Capitol Theatre.

Nye parked in a prepaid parking structure next door to avoid parking on the street.

After the performance, she went to the garage to get her car, then pulled around in front of the theater to pick up her companion, who has disabilities and has difficulty walking.

There were a number of cars on the street waiting to pick up passengers in front of the theater, and the usual crush of people on the sidewalks and crossing the street after the performance caused traffic confusion.

A Parking Enforcement vehicle pulled around the corner and stopped just ahead of Nye as she was turning right to exit the prepaid parking lot. She pulled around the enforcement vehicle and stopped adjacent to an unoccupied car at the curb to pick up her passenger, who, because of her disability, took some time to get into the car, which Nye never left. She didn't even put the transmission into "park." She also had her passenger's handicap placard on display.

She says the whole process took less than a minute. Once the passenger was in the car, she drove away.

She had no idea there was a problem until Monday, more than two weeks after the event, when she received a notice in the mail from Salt Lake City Parking Enforcement that she had not paid her parking ticket within the allotted time and would be issued late fees.

She didn't even know she had gotten a parking ticket — for not parking — until then.

But at least somebody met a quota that night.

Twist of fate • An interesting and somewhat ironic aspect to the state Tax Commission's announcement Thursday that same-sex Utah couples married between Dec. 20 and Dec. 31 can file jointly is that, with one stroke of the pen, the state showed it can giveth, then taketh away.

The commission's ruling that will honor the marital status that was valid on the last day of the year is consistent with Gov. Gary Herbert's policy that the governing law is strictly observed.

That was the logic behind Herbert's edict that Utah will not recognize same-sex marriages after the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Judge Robert Shelby's Dec. 20 ruling that allowed them to occur in Utah.

Once the stay was imposed, the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was back as the governing law, said Herbert spokesman Marty Carpenter.

But Shelby's ruling was in place the last day of 2013, so marriages before midnight are recognized.

If the issue isn't resolved on appeal during 2014, however, and the stay remains in place, those allowed to file jointly for 2013 can't do it in 2014, because the state ban would still govern, Carpenter said.

Therefore, the state effectively, to preserve marriage, would be imposing divorces on those couples, at least for tax purposes.

prolly@sltrib.com