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Your tax dollars at work!


Okay, what is wrong with this picture? Our State is literally going broke. We don’t have enough space to house the criminal offenders we have. Our law enforcement officers are radically understaffed because of funding issues. Our courts our ridiculously overcrowded. And yet, there’s enough manpower, money and chutzpah to send an official “officer of the court” to my private residence at 8:30 at night (on a school night) to serve me f-ing papers for a traffic camera ticket I received in July. I have to ask, could we possibly put our resources to better use?

So I’ve finally gotten my five-year-old to bed and am tucking in my 9-year-old when the doorbell rings. This is odd since we live in a gated community and never received a call from the guard gate that someone was here for us. We live in a very anti-social neighborhood (don’t get me started) and only know a few of our neighbors, none of whom randomly show up at odd hours of the night to borrow a cup of sugar or ask for help with a run-away pooch. I run to the door and ask the obligatory “Who is it?”

No answer.

Now any sane individual wouldn’t open the door at this point. But I guess I figured it was some poor, lost mute looking for aid and I swung the door open with total abandon. There stood this scramble-haired, gen-Y kid in jeans and a skater-looking t-shirt. “Um…Are you Debra?” he asked. Suddenly my senses returned and I realized this probably wasn’t the Publisher’s Clearing House here to deliver my 10 million dollar prize. In the meantime, my little guy, who was jarred awake by the doorbell, is now screaming frantically for me to come to him, and my older son is anxiously shivering in a towel in his doorway.

“No,” I said with the conviction of a well trained perjurer. “Why?”

“I have to…um…serve these papers to…um…Debra.” he clumsily announced.

“Well, she’s not here,” I continued with the fabrication. “Do you want me to give them to her?” (Now, let me note here that I thought in order for papers to be properly served they had to go to the individual named in said papers.)

“That’d be great,” he said handing me the papers. He turned to leave and then looked back. “By the way, what was your name?”

“Um…Diane,” I said, “I’m the baby sitter.”

“Uh huh,” he smiled as if to let me know he wasn’t fooled by my inane charade.

I closed the door and immediately opened the letter It was a photo-radar ticket from July. “You have got to be kidding,” I muttered with incredulity, adding a few choice words along the way. “What the hell is wrong with these people? Aren’t there real criminals they could go after? I mean, what are they gonna do, put me in jail?” My nine-year-old is now sobbing uncontrollably. I run to him and pull him close. “Honey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“I don’t want mommy to go to jail,” he wimpered.

“Mommy isn’t going to jail, sweetie. This is nothing. Please don’t worry,” I reassured him.

I finally managed to settle my children, calm their fears and get them to bed. But it was already after 9 and I knew that the next day was bound to be a tough one since they usually go to bed well before 8.

The ticket is for $220. I don’t deny that the ticket was deserved, or that the hideous photo is actually me. But can anyone tell me why they needed to come to my house at 8:30 at night, disrupt my children’s routine, and waste an abundance of time, energy and resources for something as insignificant as a four-month old speeding ticket?

Maybe I should send this to Sheriff Joe. He’s a sensible guy. I bet he’d go after the idiot beurocrats who sent the scraggly kid to my doorstep to terrorize my children and annoy the hell out of me. Hmmm….maybe he’ll help me if I tell him that kid was an illegal?

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

3 responses to “Your tax dollars at work!

  1. That is really unbelievable. For sure, I’m paying mine tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Alicia B.

    I can sympathize, i really can… but i have to be a little black cloud here. If you paid the ticket months ago, they wouldn’t be showing up. You say your kids are typically in bed by 8 – if they had been, he wouldn’t be shivering in a towel at 8:30. Now I’m no fan of telemarketers or people showing up in late or wee-early hours – but everything you mentioned could have been avoided. I don’t mind my tax dollars going to the $8/hr this scraggly kid is making to collect yours (and the other hundreds, likely thousands) of unpaid $220 tickets. That money is necessary, especially in this lean budget. If you don’t want them at your home, mail in your check.

  3. JMav

    Odd usually its just mailed out, most of those cameras around the country are outsourced to a independent company for their profit. A cop at your door that late is unusual at best, I would have lied as well but I’m not a fan of LEO’s

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