Saturday, September 30, 2006


Right after my last post I went to a series of fundraisers here in the Bay Area for progressive political candidates. Where I should have been enthused and enlivened by the candidates, I came away severely depressed about the dark realities of our times.

The first event I attended was for Jerry McNerney, an environmentalist, businessman and once-dark horse candidate running on the Democratic ticket against deeply entrenched, well-connected and vile Richard Pombo. In 1994 Pombo was a freshman Republican Congressman representing California's 11 district, a member of the so-called Republican Revolution. A signer of the GOP's "Contract on America," he has spent the last 12 years attempting to multiple gut-stab America's environmental and endangered species protections while diverting funds to enhance the value of his family's property in the Central Valley. The Pombos are said to be the largest landholders in California's 11th district.

Clearly another 'favorite son,' Richard Pombo is a textbook example of the American peoples' love affair with royalty. Like any scullery maid madly in love with the young heir-apparent to the manor, the voters of the Central Valley have returned Little Prince Pombo to Congress regularly while he has done little to nothing to benefit them. That’s not to say Pombo hasn’t been busy, he has worked his butt off ensuring that America's landed gentry, people like himself, are treated like royalty, rewarding the rich with tax breaks, tax exemptions, tax credits, the taxpayer's land and the common citizen’s hard earned and highly-taxed dollars while exempting the lords of the manor from any legal oversight.

I probably don’t need to say that Pombo is good friend of disgraced Republican House Whip Tom Delay, who was force to resign from Congress after being charged with felonious crimes, nor do I need to introduce Pombo as a good friend to Jack Abramoff, the former Republican lobbyist currently headed to prison after pleading guilty to bribery and corruption charges. Needless to say, Little Richard Pombo is also a darling of the White House where another little prince petulantly rules our once noble land, using our Constitution and Bill of Rights as little more than nose tissue.

A few days after I attended Jerry McNerney’s afternoon fundraiser I attended a fundraising dinner party in Mill Valley for California Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen. Ms. Bowen promises to ensure that our votes will be counted accurately and fairly. She’s running against Republican Bruce McPherson, who was appointed to the elected position of Secretary of State by a newly elected Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The careful reader will recall that Republican Katherine Harris was Secretary of State (and a member of the Bush election team) in Florida when our current president wsa selected.

Schwarzenegger won a special election after former Governor Grey Davis was recalled by the voters in mid-term. Mr Davis hadn’t been charged with or convicted of any crime but the voters decided he wasn’t royal material.
Mr Schwarzenegger was formerly Mr. Universe and had become a Hollywood actor of sorts, famous for his bulges and his gropes.

Already Mr. McPherson has certified several different electronic voting machines as suitable for use in California, most recently as September 22, 2006, despite that all the electronic voting machines are widely noted to be failure prone and susceptible to fraud.

At the dinner party for Bowen, very much a Mill Valley affair, there were several health care professionals, working at very high levels in the system, as well as numerous other successful professional and business people of all ages. The unofficial topic of the evening was the catastrophic state of America’s health care system.

While these folks, for the most part, all had decent health care plans, nearly every one of them knew of a peer who had recently suffered a medical set back that was devastating, not to their physical well-being but to their financial viability.

One example was given of a man charged approximately $25,000 for a short visit to the Emergency Room at Marin Hospital. He was only there for a few hours!

In another case a woman forced to spend the night in the hospital after a medical emergency received a bill for more than $50,000. Marin Hospital told her they would work with her on a payment plan, they offered her three months to pay up rather than insisting upon cash on the barrelhead!

In both cases the people in question had medical insurance, but their medical bills far exceeded their policy limits, even for non-life threatening incidents.

A successful and very well-connected lawyer present told the other members of the dinner party that such bills were not uncommon, nor was it uncommon for those sums to be disputed.
“The hospitals will negotiate those bills,” he said.
But no one at the table had even considered that as a possibility.

Now, like bartering in Mexico for trinkets, the average American is expected to argue with hospital administrators for the cost of their medical coverage, after the fact! No wonder I was depressed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Seeing ain't necessarily believing

During World War II British intelligence operatives noticed Adolf Hitler make an odd misstep while being filmed accepting France's surrender. Within days the Allies released a newsreel featuring the Austrian martinet dancing a victory jig in celebration of France's defeat.

Computerized graphics weren't necessary, the propagandists simply ran the film backward and forwards in a loop to create a notorious dance that served to unify the citizens of Allied countries against a common enemy. But make no mistake, the little jig never happened despite what millions of people saw projected on the screen.

Hitler demanded to be filmed accepting France's surrender at Compiegne because he wanted to use the undoctored film to motivate his own followers in their war of global domination. Germany surrendered at Compiegne, ending the Great War, WWI, a matter of great shame for the Nazis. Hitler was looking for payback.

These pernicious vanities, not unlike being flown on to an aircraft carrier to announce Mission Accomplished (less than a mile off the coast of California), serve to unite a diverse and often divisive group into a team with common goals. These types of images create a sense of purpose, a source of identity, a common enemy, a common belief.

Recently a video was released of Osama bin Laden meeting with the hijackers of 9-11. This video depicts an event that necessarily had to happen more than five years ago but I certainly don't know if the video shows what actually happened. Unlike "Alien vs. Predatory", or "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," there wasn't any "bonus material" I could select to see how the movie was made. I find it fascinating that after originally denying they were involved in planning 9-11, bin Laden and Al Qaida, five years later, two months before America's mid-term elections, would release a video showing the hijackers meeting with bin Laden. Seeing ain't necessarily believing.

On one of my earlier posts there's a picture of Dick Cheney dressed in full Nazi regalia. I didn't get a picture of the Vice President attending a costume party with England's Prince Harry. A few minutes research for photos on the internet coupled with a copy of Adobe Photoshop and I had the image I needed.

For those who hate Nazi Germany and all it stands for, seeing the American Vice President in Nazi uniform must have a chilling effect.
For me seeing what this administration is doing to my country has the same effect.
For those folks who wonder whether Al Qaida was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center's twin towers, seeing bin Laden chatting up Mohammad Atta could be just enough to quiet their questions.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

be mine, inhaling

you have me
suffocating in desire
throw me a lip line lest I wither
don't let my fingers stray
too far from your side
be mine, be mine, be mine
walking in my dreams
talking, my skin sighs
and hungers
and my breath falters
halts and
gasps again
and again
take my breath away
leave me aching
for the smell of your hips
for the brush of your lips
for the wanting
and wanting to…
and waiting to be close
to you

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 -- as a Hallmark card

Can I be the only American who is disgusted by the media circus's morbid and obscene obsession with September 11, 2001?
I know the Republican Party desperately needs to scare the shit out of every possible voter to keep control of Congress (and therefore the White House) this coming November, but this 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week orgy of falling building flashbacks and 'where-they-are now?'s that's plaguing every news outlet has turned my stomach.
I suspect I'm not the only person who feels this way.

Frankly, if you put it in perspective, it was never that big a deal anyway.
What? 2,992 people died in several incidents spread across the country? Big deal.
More than ten times that number of Americans died in 2001 by firearms. Over 45,000 Americans died that year from automobile accidents. A much, much larger and still uncounted number of Americans die every year from exposure to toxic chemicals and manufacturing bi-products contaminating our environment including 123,013 people from chronic respiratory diseases and another half million from cancer in 2001 alone! The very same year as 9-11! Ever hear those stories? Is ABC doing a five-hour mini-series without commercial interruption to examine those horrific disasters?
Don't count on it.

If the American people actually cared about the people who died on September 11, 2001, they'd hold someone accountable. (Blaming Monica Lewinsky doesn't count.) But as a people, we just don't care. After all, everyday we go about our business,quietly complicit in the murder of 2670 Americans. (Click the red number to see today's body count, 2670 dead American soldiers was the total on September 11, 2006).

And who is counting the damaged lives of our returning American soldier-heroes? Who's talking about the poor boys and girls who are already coming home with incredible, unbelievable physical and psychological damage? It's certainly not "News at 11"
Did you know that it's estimated that for every dead soldier there are seven to eight soldiers who have suffered catastrophic physical injury? Many of these people will never fully recover. And that does not include Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome sufferers, who are estimated to number at least one out of three returning soldiers.

Those soldiers are the boys and girls we sent off be killed in an illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. For those folks who don't know Iraq is an independent and autonomous country that also is known as the historic forge of modern civilization.
These soldiers are someone's children -- perhaps yours, perhaps your neighbor's, or your friend's children. I have friends whose children are in Iraq.

And for what?
For Iraq's role in the destruction of the World Trade Center?
Even the CIA has recently admitted Iraq had nothing to do with the destruction of the WTC.

Perhaps we invaded Iraq because they had "Weapons of Mass Destruction!"
We all remember Condi Rice's histrionic "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud!” (On CNN with Wolf Blitzer, televised September 7, 2003.)
Nope. Taint so.
It's now widely acknowledged that we'd wiped out all of Iraq's weapons facilities and even their "weapons programs" in the early 1990s.
It's true, the Prince of Darkness, Dick Cheney, our very own Hermann Goering, still claims Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but he's alone in the world. Every other knowledgeable and credible authority has acknowledged loudly and clearly that it ain't so. Then again Cheney claims the world is safer now because we've destroyed Iraq causing the deaths of more than 100,000 civilians. I guess he never heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys.

So there has to be another reason we're doing this. There has to be another reason we're squandering our youth and our national treasure: $313,580,559,350 as of September 11, 2006!
It's because we want Iraq's oil, right?
You've seen the bumperstickers: "How did our oil get under their land?!"
You heard the White House's original name for this new war: "Operation Iraqi Liberation" or O.I.L.? Right?
There's plenty of oil. Besides the folks who own America don't want or need Iraq's oil. The more limited or unstable the oil market, the more money the oil companies, and the oil producing nations make. And after all, didn't we elect the "Oil President" so he could chat with his pals in the business and make sure we got fair and reasonable gas prices?
What a crack-pipe fantasy that turned out to be.

So why did we invade Iraq?
Why has the American media circus turned September 11th into a national holiday -- half Easter, half Halloween, all nightmare playing everywhere all the time?

It's for the fear, baby.
As long as we're scared witless we seem to be willing to give up anything and everything for the promise of safety, including the very qualities that made us Americans. And the Republican Party sure knows how to pretend to be a strong and powerful Daddy.

Father knows best!
So who's your Daddy?
Who's keeping us safe now?
A new attack on America inevitable, experts say.

feeling queasy?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Eat a horse, go to prison

Eat a horse, go to prison
I'm very amused that our U.S. Congress spent the first week after its August recess deciding to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. As is so often the case, despite the fervent wishes and wet dream fantasies of the Great Fly Over, once again California led the way while the rest of the nation blindly and stupidly stumbles after in lockstep.

The other thing I find ironic, is that none of the wrinkled old gals and geldings that support this ridiculous piece of legislation have any idea of the profoundly Christian and historic precedents of this decision. For it is only horsemeat that the Christian religion (actually the Pope for all you anti-Papists) prohibits Christians from eating!
In 732 after the Frankish and Burgundian Chevaliers (horse riding knights) turned back the Muslim Hordes (also on horse back) led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi at the Battle of Tours, and allegedly saved Europe from total domination and subjugation by the Muslims, Pope Gregory II issued a Papal Bull declaring that horse meat was unfit for Christian consumption.
Of course the Muslims ruled the rest of Europe, and especially Spain until roughly the Renaissance.
Did you know that Spain was the site of the first European university? Another Muslim invention.
And did you know that all religious beliefs were accepted and allowed in Spain during Muslim rule.
Of course then the Catholics took over and forced the Muslims and the Jews from Spain ...oh and invented the Inquisition.

Welcome to the medieval ages, boys and girls. Looks like we're in another Crusade.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Word

Check out the real dope from one of the great wise men.
The Truth!

Bees in my backyard

A path to heaven without questions

Shooting stars
     straight from the earth
dive bomb the sky and disappear
not in a flash, like a bomb with a boom,
into the air
     like nothing.

Shooting stars
     flashing, bejeweled sparks
each on a mission from sweet heaven
aflame with the wisdom of hearth and home
     on business for the queen.

Shooting stars
     a-flight by the thousands
light up my mornings and enlighten my heart
as/like a bee should/each bee
     does her duty
     without question.

Our enemies are a godless people

When I was young, the Russians were our mortal enemies. They were an impoverished and filthy people who practiced a godless religion called Communism. And they wanted us dead.

My elementary school in Scottsdale, Arizona held air raid drills regularly so that young patriots in the third and fourth grade would know what to do when nuclear hell fires rained out of the skies. We would be safe from the atomic bombs ... but only if we tucked our tiny bodies beneath our little school desks and covered our faces with our hands.
On occasion, when the school's siren wailed, instead of crawling under the desk we'd go outside and line up in neat rows on the schoolyard, divided by grade and classroom teacher.

Jimmy Cooper was a friend of mine at that time. His father built a bomb shelter so the Coopers would survive the coming apocalypse.

Their salvation started out as a huge hole dug in the back yard into which a crane placed a large steel drum approximately seven foot tall and maybe 12 or 15 foot long. The floor of the bomb shelter was a poured concrete slab, which filled and flattened the bottom of this tipped-over can. There were narrow steel bunks bolted to the metal cylinder sides, and supplies of emergency food were stacked under some of the bunks.

Getting into the tomb-like sanctuary buried in their backyard required climbing down a steel ladder which was only accessible from the round steel 'hatch,' approximately level with a new-mowed lawn.

The circular hatch locked from the inside, which was important because when the end of the world came all your neighbors were going to try to get into your bomb shelter. You had to prevent them from doing that, Jimmy told me. There just wasn't enough room or food or air for everyone. Some people were going to have to die.
Even though we were friends, I knew there wasn't a place for me in Jimmy's bomb shelter.

I never forgot that secret vault buried in the Cooper backyard. A few years later his family moved to California and a new family moved in but I recall the bomb shelter, hidden behind the fence of the house on the corner ... even today, 45 years later.

Before I was old enough to be afraid of Russians, Americans were afraid of the Koreans in Southeast Asia. We were in a war to bring freedom to Korea. We were fighting to keep them from turning into godless Communists. The truth was we were actually fighting the Chinese. Even I knew that we were really fighting China, even in the fourth grade. The Chinese were an impoverished and filthy people who practiced a godless religion called Communism. They weren't god-fearing Christians and they were friends with the Russians, who wanted us dead.

After Korea it was Cuba and then Vietnam and then Granada and Iraq (the first time) and Panama and Cuba all the time. They all were impoverished filthy people who practiced a godless religion. And they wanted us dead.

Now the Russians and the Chinese and the Koreans and the Vietnamese are our friends. Our former mortal enemies have opened shops in our towns and they've purchased homes in our neighborhoods.

There are Vietnamese- and Korean-owned shops on Main Street. Pho, a Vietnamese one-bowl meal, is widely available, inexpensive and delicious. Korean barbecue joints are nearly as popular as soul food once was. Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Russian technicians handle our customer service complaints.
Asian concepts have influenced our clothing options and our religious and social beliefs.
American men now send off for young, white and lovely Russian brides; and for submissive, brown and lovely Asian brides.
Even the fabulously wealthy and powerful Rupert Murdoch, the master of America's 24-hour media sideshow and circus, recently acquired a young Chinese bride. These beautiful young women don't frighten American men.

What's more Coca Cola and McDonald's and Boeing Aircraft and Microsoft make hundreds of millions of dollars selling consumer products and practices to our former mortal enemies, in their own homelands.

When we began bombing Afghanistan I was working as a news reporter at the San Francisco Examiner on Market Street.
It was clearly the beginning of a whole new era of wars, this time in the Middle East. Now it was the Afghans, an impoverished and filthy people who practiced a godless religion called Islam, to whom we were bringing freedom. They were responsible for what we in America refer to as '9-11.' And they wanted us all dead.

Immediately below the Examiner's offices was a shop called 'Afghan Imports.' The frightened family of folks who owned and worked in the shop downstairs changed the name of the shop to 'Global Imports' a few days after American bombs started falling on their original homeland. When I asked they told me they still had family in Afghanistan.

To show my sympathy for their plight, I bought a traditional men's Afghan outfit -- a long flowing white shirt elaborately covered with white stitching, a pair of loose flowing white pajama-like pants and a thin white-knit skullcap.

I planned to be ahead of America's next fashion craze.

Monday, September 04, 2006

good to eat

I woke up and found you in my mind
like the light from the refrigerator
in the middle of the night
rummaging through the tasty bits
looking for something good to eat
you were in my mind

I got up and hurried least you be waiting
at my door or in my car or anywhere I might find you
maybe in the shower I gave myself
making myself fresh and clean,
waiting for you to step through the curtain
and soap down my back
and kiss me
all sudzy and slippery and wet

I sat down to work
and listened for your footsteps
I could almost hear your voice
I could almost smell your skin
like the breath of star jasmine
sweet and musky and full of desire
riding lightly, barely touching the air
swept by faint currents
carried far from where you were

and then the phone rang
and it was you
and the sun came out
and made a glorious day

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Doggy Dookie

Dogs shit. That's one of the reasons I don't have a dog. We had dogs when I was a kid, a goose, too. They crapped all over the place. I didn't care too much for cleaning up the dog turds. I cleaned up a lot of dog poop as a kid. My parents insisted it was 'one of the responsibilities of having a pet.'

My little brother and I with our first dogs, Omar and Khayyam. 1956

Later in life, when I was a very young adult, I lived with 11 other so-called adults of various ages ... and 17 dogs. We all lived a large lovely rented home with a swimming pool on Santa Cruz Avenue near Stanford University. I didn't own a dog, but several of my roommate had more than one, ranging in size from little Lucifer, a tiny wire-haired pound refugee, to two giant grey wolfhounds, each weighing well over 100 pounds.
None of the so-called adults ever cleaned up after their dog(s). Basically they pretending their dogs didn't crap. Eventually the neighbors called the Health Department and the house was declared a public nuisance. A weekend flurry of cleaning kept us in our home for the short term but not long after that incident the landlord decided to sell the property.

If you're getting the sense I'm not a dog lover, you're wrong. I like dogs.
I like other people's dogs. Let other people clean up the crap.

Back in the day, if you had a dog and your dog needed to go, most folks just looked the other way while the dog did it's duty. Hopefully the dog had the good sense to leave its gift somewhere besides the middle of the sidewalk.
If you were a good guardian of your canine friend you would 'curb' your dog -- that means you'd drag the dog by its leash over to the gutter and encourage the dumb creature to use the street as a toilet. (Dumb meaning can't speak, can't complain about its idiot owner, not stupid.)

All in all, it wasn't so terrible. The sun and the wind and the rain did their part and in a short while the dog droppings were dried up and turned to dust or washed away.

Sometime in the last ten or fifteen years it became unacceptable to leave your pet's excrement in the public view. Now dog owners tote little plastic bags in which to enounce the organic material in a soft and flexible but impermeable and nearly permanent covering, sort of gift-wrap for the ages if you will. I'm sure Coprologists of the future will be quite pleased at the care with which we preserved the record of our pet's digestive processes but in the here and now I am not sure it's a good thing.

See, people didn't actually change. The average dog owner makes a great show of doing the right thing and scooping up the fresh laid piles, but no one likes to carry around a warm, squishy, transparent bag of crap. Too frequently at the first opportunity they just hurl the loaded bag into a place they think can't be seen -- under the bushes, over the fence, into the river or bay. But now it's in a vessel for the ages. Plastic encased crap, a memorial for our times.

A few days ago I took my kayak out around the Berkeley Marina for an evening paddle with my wife. The rocky shores were absolutely littered with little plastic bags.

By the by, one of the most frequently used euphemisms for fecal material is caca. It comes from Greek and it just means No, No. Cacophony, meaning discordance or dissonance, has a similar prefix root.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Privatizing Hell

I received a bill the other day.
It came from the ominously named Law Enforcement Systems, Inc. (LES) based in Long Island City, New York, and it claimed I owed $109.

The letter warned me that if I didn't send Law Enforcement Systems a check or money order by September 25, 2006, LES planned to "Enter a Civil Judgment and execute against my non-exempt assets ... (and forward my) account to the State Franchise Tax Board for offset..." among other ugly threats.

I try to pay my bills on time although occasionally things go amiss, but I'd never done business with, or even heard of Law Enforcement Systems. Looking more closely I discovered LES was a collection agency, "retained by The City of Oakland, CA to collect delinquent, unpaid parking citations."

No. Not another privatized government service. These private agencies have no accountability, a huge profit motive and too much of the authority and resources of government.

Privatized governmental services are the Republican Party's dream cash machine and the average citizens' nightmare.
While municipal employees frequently are notoriously and frankly indifferent to your plight, the good thing is they just don't care. The folks who work for privatized government services are much worse. They care about your problem but only insofar as their masters can profit.

This Republican scheme, turning everything the government does into a profit center, is one of the most pernicious and horrific items of that party's agenda.

Whether it's military mercenaries or vouchers for private schools or for-profit health care or privatized revenue collection, the transfer of responsibility from the public sector to the private sector is an unqualified disaster. While the rightwingnuts love to talk about the incompetence of government, most governmental agencies are a paragon of virtue, competence, clarity and charity compared with the standard operating procedures of big business.

Need a great program to track your pogroms? Call IBM as the Nazis did during the WWII build up.
Need a nuclear reactor for your nascent weapons of mass destruction program? Call Halliburton as Saddam Hussein did during the Gulf War build up.

From General Motors to Monsanto, from British Petroleum to Westinghouse, from Anheuser-Busch to United Fruit, big business has never given a damn about the people it caters to or the people it steals from, and it's always been more than willing to brandish the biggest, scariest, sharpest sword in its possession, the U.S. military machine, when its profits are even modestly threatened.

And now I was dead smack in the sights of the privatized hell of contracted government services. Law Enforcement Systems is: "Recognized since 1982 as the leading violation collection agency in the US. First in violation processing, revenue maximization...," it claims on the first page of its website.

Having allowed parking tickets to accrue with horrific results during my misspent youth, I'm nearly religious about promptly paying parking tickets. That little municipal scam has cost me thousands and thousands of dollars so I don't let parking tickets age at all. If I get a parking ticket I pay it immediately, whether or not I believe the ticket was fair or reasonable. It's just cheaper and easier that way.

But this parking citation had a bad smell. The date, more than three years prior, didn't jibe with my annual car registration fees. As everyone probably knows, you can't register your vehicle if there are unpaid parking tickets. The other problem was the location of the citation. A rather seedy part of town that isn't anywhere near my normal wanderings.

Then I noticed license plate for the offending vehicle was completely foreign. I don't go around memorizing license plates but everyone has a vague sense of numbers and letters on their own license plate(s) and this wasn't at all familiar.

Bingo! This little misunderstanding was going to be easy to wrap up.
Not my car, not my problem. All I had to do was let LES know.

I called Law Enforcement Systems and spoke with a woman named "Ann." When I asked her how to identify her for my records by something other than "Ann," she allowed as how she was "Ann, in customer service." Great, we're clearly off to a less than perfect start. Ann tells me that it pretty much doesn't matter what I say, they're not going to back off until I provide them with written proof that I didn't own or rent the vehicle when the ticket was issued.... three and half years ago!

She tells me I have go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a printed history of the car, which I can send to LES, thereby proving I'm not liable. I tell her that ain't gonna happen. It's LES's bill, it's LES's problem. LES can get the history of the vehicle as easily as I can, and when they do they'll see it ain't me. She warns me. I warn her. Before we hang up I insist they correct their records and stop their collection efforts.

Not wanting to leave matters to chance I spend the next several hours surfing the DMW website and voice mail system for vehicle history request forms. Finally I get a DMV human on the phone. She says her name is "Tech KF", and tells me I need DMV form INF 70R, which I can download from the net (maybe, but I couldn't find it) or pickup at the local DMV (after waiting in line for hours). If I mail a completed form INF 70R and $5 to Sacramento, they'll send me a vehicle history report, which I can then forward to Law Enforcement Systems.

I ask her if she has any other information about the offending vehicle.
"It was a 1983 Nissan and it was junked for salvage December 6, 2004," said Tech KF.

Great. I've never owned a Nissan. Now I have a junked car with no provenance in one hand and a threatening letter from a collection agency in the other. And I can't even call the local City of Oakland Parking Finance and Management department to get a local human to fix this nightmare.

Refusing to surrender to the inevitability of my serf-like state, I sent an email detailing all the information I had to (Law Enforcement Systems) and (City of Oakland Parking Finance and Management). Both those contact addresses were available after a little searching on Goggle.

In closing I informed them both: "You are hereby ordered to correct your records and to immediately cease and desist in all collection efforts regarding this matter. You will be held liable for my time and expenses should you fail to follow this instruction."

We'll see what happens next.