Scene of the rhyme

When Denver resident Chris Baumgartner protested the $10 parking ticket he got while visiting his grandmother in Laguna Beach, Calif., his complaint prompted a little poetic justice from Laguna Police Chief Neil Purcell (with some help from secretary Jude Gardner).

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


A Poem in Disputation of Parking Citation LB003065438

What a day for a drive, a trip to the beach!
So off to Laguna we beat a retreat,
Grandma Adeline in tow (she’s 88, you see)
Sharp as a tack, but slow as can be.

Where to park, where to park? For this men have fought.
What’s this? One space? In Glenneyere lot!
Quick as you can! Not a moment to spare!
Out of the car, Granny, tell your hip I don’t care!

How many quarters to feed the machine?
Timing is everything, in these days obscene.
Five should do — no, six to be safe
Then off to lunch we made our escape.

A glance at my watch, “Back by 2:10.”
I thought as we walked, “We’ll make it by then.”
A glorious meal served up in style,
We left a good tip, a wink, and a smile.

Casual return, plenty of time
But back at the car, what’s this? What a crime!
A ticket? For us? Have you gone raving mad?!
Left at 1:37? Now this is just sad.

The outing spoiled; the day caught a blight
Fined 30 minutes too early — it’s simply not right!
But, nonetheless, ’tis the cause of this prose
Silver lining and so forth, or so I suppose.

The end is near, it’s your ball I’m afraid.
Will the fee be forgiven or must it be paid?
Will the joy of our day be fully returned?
Should Adeline rest easy, or will she be spurned?

Dear Mr. Baumgartner:

When we got your poem we couldn’t hesitate
To write you back and set you straight.
We appreciate your efforts and all your time,
But you’re blaming us for the wrong “crime.”

 Our parking program may have its flaws But we've never been known to bend the laws. There was time on the meter, to that we agree. Look closely at the ticket and you will see... 

Your time was fine! You were not late.
The problem was with your license plate.
The citation was valid, so do not bicker…
The plate on your car had NO MONTH STICKER!

 Regardless of that and 'cause we like to be fair The citation was voided, so have not a care. Just remember Laguna is about the best. Now let Adeline know so she can get some rest! 
 Neil J. Purcell Chief of Police 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate