Busted for an expired meter in the private lot behind Peet’s: Now I owe $105

I stopped in for a mocha at Peet’s coffee this morning, and pumped enough coins into the meter in the rear private lot to buy me 18 minutes.

But I ran into an old friend, and that conversation, it turns out, took longer than those 18 minutes. About 10 minutes past my meter’s expiration, I found this warning sign on my window, and I have since learn I owe a $105 for a total of three tickets.

A year ago, I reported that to some degree you can ignore those parking tickets you receive for an expired meter at one of those private lots around town. Legally, those tickets don’t have the “force of law.”

This is what I reported more than a year ago. I based this assertion on a legal interpretation offered by KGOAM810 radio lawyer Len Tillem and affirmed by former Walnut Creek Public Information Officer Brad who check with City Attorney Paul Valle-Riestra.

So, you can tear up the ticket, and the DMV can’t come after you.

However, the parking company that manages these lots, Regional Parking, can come after you if you start accumulating multiple parking violations–and you don’t pay them. Regional Parking, which keeps track of your license plate and violations, can tow your car if it catches you for multiple violations.

I came out of Peet’s at about 10:42 a.m. and found this sign pasted on my window: “Computerized records indicate that this vehicle [my Toyota Camry] has multiple outstanding parking invoices. Regional Parking Inc., is seeking the establishment of such debt (s) in a judicial proceeding.”

My other violations were for August 2009 for parking in a no-public-parking area at Mechanics Bank and for, on October 29, having an expired meter. This is when I took my son shopping at the Halloween Spirit Store, set up in the former Mark Morris tire, at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Locust Street. It was evening, and Regional Parking employees were set up to pounce on Spirit Store shoppers whose meters had expired.

With this sign, I take it I have been warned. I better pay up or risk getting towed the next time.

32 thoughts on “Busted for an expired meter in the private lot behind Peet’s: Now I owe $105

  1. Congratulations! You've been selected to receive a welcome note from your friendly downtown business – Peet's Coffee!!


  2. Anon 1:14 I'm neither associated with Regional Parking nor with Peet's Coffee. I'm not sure what your post should indicate, other than you seem to disagree with the ticket described in this blog entry?

    First I'm not sure that the parking lot behind Peet's is owned by Peet's, so any ticket on this parking lot would not have anything to do with Peet's at all.

    Secondly I do think for business it is good to have short term parking, and I assume the 18 minutes SM paid to buy a coffee drink at Peet's would have been more than sufficent. If SM chooses to extend her parking priviledge she knows that she risks a fine.

    Why would you blame Peet's for that fine?


  3. The contact information for Regional Parking points to a UPS Store mailbox in Martinez. I suppose there is no way to settle disputes in person.


  4. Anon 1:42 [2] please explain why you think it would be more worth to downtown shoppers in WC if there was no metered parking or if metered parking violations would not be enforced?

    You do realize that SM could have had easy 3 hours of free parking about 100 yards away from Peet's in the Broadway Pointe parking garage?


  5. Hello,
    Let me clarify a few things I should have made clear initially.

    I am not disputing the ticket. I'm just saying I got it, and that these other tickets for violations in private lots is catching up to me.

    The lot, as far as I know, is not owned by Peet's. I don't know who owns the lot, but it is managed by Regional Parking Company, which issues the tickets.


  6. 1:42 is right. I stopped shopping, for the most part, in WC some time ago. If it doesn't have it's own parking lot, I don't shop there.


  7. I have to wonder about this. The notice said “this vehicle” but suppose the vehicle had a new owner. Since they seem to tie the tickets to the car and not the owner this could get ugly for a new owner. How would they be able to dispute a tow? According to their web page you can dispute by mail and then request a “Level Two Hearing” which is conducted by a “Certified Hearing Examiner”.

    Last I looked the 5th and 14th amendments guaranteed due process. This just sounds like a money grabbing rip off. Did you agree to arbitration when you put your coins in the meter?


  8. “You do realize that SM could have had easy 3 hours of free parking about 100 yards away from Peet's in the Broadway Pointe parking garage?”

    I'm sorry, but it is a royal pain to go into a parking garage when you are only stopping by a business for a few minutes.


  9. Anon 4:04 that was my point. It is nice to have short term parking if all you want is run into a business and buy a drink. That's why it is nice to have short term parking meters available but they are no use if they are not enforced.


  10. Yes, I got one of those tickets while shopping at the Spirit Store. I had the “pleasure ” of meeting the “gentleman” who was giving out the tickets. “Just doing my job”. I paid the ticket and added a few ” kind words” and visuals to the memo line —immature indeed, but therapeutic for me.
    watch out, the ticket dude patrols Mickey D's too!


  11. I can't stand to read your blog. Not because of your topics. I do not have anything against you, Soccer Mom. I think you are courageous in raising concerns that many of us residents have. What I find greatly annoying is the person or persons who represent the best interests of our city council and jump to defend any sheer mention of disagreement with the council's choices. It's almost as if they sit at their desks ready to defend their cronies. We residents have the right to voice our disagreement with the poor decisions impacting our quality of life. Buzz off!


  12. Good Gosh:
    By all means,pay the ticket.
    Otherwiss,how are we the taxpaper,votor/resident going to pay for the councils financial shopping sprees,the library,dept.head salaries and general city of walnut creek malfeasance ??


  13. 6:00 & 6:42 and a few others,

    The tickets SM got were from a private company working for other private companies controlling their parking spots.

    The City has public parking spaces as well but they don't receive income from private parking areas.

    I'm not a City employee or official but I have learned how the system works. I got a bogus citation from the private company and called their number to explain the problem. They cancelled my ticket after explaining how their system worked. They admitted I was right, in my case.

    It does make sense to me that private business owners should be able to protect their limited parking if they are paying rent for it.


  14. The most entertaining aspect is seeing a bunch of teabagger on this blog to cry “Socialism” but when it comes to a private company to charge or enforce for the privilege to allow you to park on its lot, or for a movie theater to cut a make a deal to provide preferential seating to a large group purchase you want government intervention.


  15. Hardly a day goes by without needing something from Safeway or Long's/CVS. With the car there, knock off a few other errands.


  16. SM….they will not pursue you legally. They are just using that as a threat to try to get you to pay. They COULD pursue you legally to get your $$$. The company would have to take you to small claims court and get a judgement against you. THEN and only THEN would you be legally obligated to pay their so-called fine. I say let them. They won't. Not unless the potential judgement will range into the thousands of dollars. They don't have the time nor the resources to pursue SM who has a total of 3 cites worth barely one Ben Franklin to them.

    This company, Regional Parking, has duped the City Council and Downtown Business Assn. into allowing them to “enforce” private lots by saying they are providing a “service” to downtown businesses. I work for the City of WC. I have heard nothing but complaints about Regional Parking. I have heard stories of legitimate customers being harrassed by the parking jockey, who walks into the business in question and asking people in line what kind of car they drive etc.

    Yes, a business leasing a parking lot (and paying a pretty penny for it) should be able to expect the lot to be used only by its customers during its business hours. Regional Parking however, skews this “ideal” into a money maker for itself.

    Regional Parking makes their “tickets” look as legal as possible, deceiving people into thinking the ticket is issued by a government agency.

    If only 50% of the people ticketed by the parking jockey pay up, the company makes gobs of money.

    The City Council and DBA should seriously reconsider allowing this company to do business within WC.


  17. The City Council finds itself in a sticky position when it comes to denying Regional Parking anything they want.

    Guess why???

    Read the council member's campaign financial statements and you will see the maximum donation to every member of the council from the owner Robert Powers. If you are really in the loop, you will recognize the names of other donors from within his organization along with his close friends.


  18. 9:49 you level a pretty serious sounding charge – that the council is beholden to Regional Parking because of his 'maximum' contributions to their campaigns. Just in case anyone here cares about fact, that amount is a whopping $145! Yes I am sure this amount is really driving the council to corrupt decision making. Good grief.

    If you dislike the council have the honesty to say so (like 6:00 did above) but don't level such baseless and misleading claims in the process.


  19. I am not 949 but 1103 why if you hate anon posts do you post anon? Why not dob in hypocrite as you name?

    So 3 tickets, Len says you dont have to pay so i take it you keep parking there like its an entitlement or something then complain when you get threatened with getting towed why not park somewhere else other than one of those private lots. There will be ample library parking to utilize week after next.

    Hey where is this election funding link? I would love to see that.

    And 954, captain baseless…Did they in fact donate or not? Because people always donate with NO EXPECTATION of return or access. get real.


  20. 9:54 –

    Many $145 contributions do add up, especially when you consider that the average campaign for council in WC costs under $30,000.

    Not so hard to raise that amount when the candidates are hand chosen by the current and out-going council members along with the Chamber of Commerce.

    The Chamber maintains a Political Action Committee (PAC) which gets very active collecting and expending money whenever there is a council election.

    So, you see folks, it is not just one $145 contribution……it becomes many when one can contribute to all
    the players in the game.

    Pfttt…..the campaign finance records may be and copied in the City Clerk's office at City Hall. Makes for very interesting reading! Reading between the lines is even more interesting if you know the “players” in town and just why they might be compelled to donate to candidates who don't even represent them.


  21. Hello Pffft,

    “I am not 949 but 1103 why if you hate anon posts do you post anon? Why not dob in hypocrite as you name?”

    I don't always post anonymously. The person 9:49 anonymously attacked Robert Powers by his name without identification. That seems untoward to me.

    I do identify myself when posting regarding specific individuals and at some other times as well. I hope you now understand the distinction.

    Anon 11:03


  22. Anon 11:03

    That seems quit inconsistent to me why post your name everytime you post rather than anon when you feel like it?

    Also Robert Powers was never attacked as you portray. He was named, so what?
    Does his name in fact appear as a campaign contributer on a list that is public? And what if Anon gave his/her name would the facts somehow change? Or could some “wealthy” entity use it influence and or wealth to attempt to silence the commenter?

    Content trumps Identity on blogs. Until patch.com the knowledge of soccer mom = martha ross was virtually “anonymous” too, so what?


  23. I posted this story the last time SM posted a parking ticket story on her blog, but it bears repeating since some of you are advocating to simply ignore the tickets.

    My wife's car was towed from the private lot behind the Apple Store for having ONE outstanding ticket.

    For us – lessoned learned. #1 plug that meter, #2 pay those tickets on time – it's a lot less expensive than bailing your car out of North Main Tow.


  24. So… you're gonna shirk the consequences of your actions like all of the homebuyers who signed contracts for loans that they knew that they couldn't afford.



  25. So… you're gonna shirk the consequences of your actions like all of the homebuyers who signed contracts for loans that they knew that they couldn't afford.



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