So I got the below document in the mail yesterday. It was not forwarded from my former address on Belvidere Street in El Paso seeing as I haven't lived there in 18 months and I think they only forward your mail for six. It was sent to my address in Arlington, Virginia - an incredible community where Joyce Wilson was once a deputy city manager and apparently grew up - FYI.
Here's the document:
Looks like I have an unpaid red light traffic violation and that my ability to register my vehicle in Texas has been suspended until I pay them $100. But there's a little more to it than that - the infraction took place on October 9, 2008 - during the Bush Administration. Wow.... it's been five years since I (or my wife, but she never does anything wrong so it couldn't be her) ran a red light in El Paso and I'm just now hearing about it for the first time.
I went through all my records and we had red light violations after that date (paid them on time), speeding tickets (paid them - defensive driving is more expensive than paying them and your insurance still goes up) and we registered our vehicle in 2009, 2010 and 2011 without a a problem. How is this now a problem? Obviously if I hadn't paid the ticket by October 9, 2009, I would have been 12 months late and not able to register my vehicle. Ditto for 2010 and 2011 when it should have gone to collections by then. And I was notified in 2012 by the State of Texas that I needed to pay my bad driver tax in order to keep my license and register my car - they mentioned nothing of the four-year-old unpaid red light infraction in El Paso. (note: I sent them a letter saying "you may all go to hell, I'm going to Virginia" which cleared up the matter.)
So what gives? Is the red light camera system five years behind? Or is there something more sinister going on? Does a certain police union official who hates me and my mother have a way of making these things appear?
So, I talked to the very nice lady at the Red Light office in El Paso. She told me that I'm getting notice now because there was a measure passed by the county called the "Scofflaw" something or other in 2012 allowing them to put a hold on a person's vehicle registration until they paid the fine.
Well - that explains the punishment, but it doesn't explain why I never received any notice of this before and how I was able to do business with the city, serve on boards and commissions and have a debt owed to the city. Some of you may know that you can't do certain things with the city if you owe them money. They checked me out in 2009, 2010, and 2011 - NOTHING.
What's weird is that the lady said the ticket was issued when I lived at an address on Espada Street. Thinking back - the date coincides with the time we were about to move into our new house on Belvidere. My mail was forwarded and I knew the owners of the old house, so any notification of a violation would have gotten to me unless in some miracle coincidence of mathematics and paranormal activity I got all of my mail except the notice of this red light ticket. Hmm... maybe this was all my fault. I got every single issue of the 20 or so magazines I'm signed up for, Christmas cards, Easter cards, investment and banking statements, but I didn't get any of the notices that I ran a red light. That's totally feasible, right? For six months after moving from Espada I had not a single issue getting all of my mail except for this one notice of a violation. So weird...
Then I noticed the letter is addressed to my Belvidere address. However, the envelope I got last night in the mail was my correct Virginia address. The lady told me that because they didn't know my address after I moved from Espada, that's why I never received notice. But wait - they do know my Belvidere address. They would have known it when I registered my vehicle in November of that year at my new house. At the least they'd know in 2009 or 2010. They never sent anything.
What gives? Five years after the fact I learn of a ticket?