Parking Ticket Chaos Leads to Federal Class Action Lawsuit
Plus, a Comcast NBCUniversal scandal. And more reader mail!
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Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Upper Darby Parking Ticket Debacle
Parking enforcement operations in Delaware County’s Upper Darby Township sound like a real mess. Last August, I told you that many parking meters in Upper Darby (in case you are forgetting exactly where Upper Darby is, two words: Tower Theater) somehow thought pennies were quarters, allowing motorists in the know to park for a 96-percent discount. Officials seem to have resolved that problem. But now there’s another problem afoot.
The parking violations process in Upper Darby used to be pretty simple. If you received a ticket, you could simply pay a fine. If you wanted to fight the ticket, you had to wait for paperwork to show up that would get you a court date. They call it due process.
But something changed. No one seems exactly sure what happened or why, but drivers who received tickets stopped getting that paperwork in the mail. So they never had an opportunity to go to court. In January of this year, a CBS3 investigation revealed that in one of Upper Darby’s district courts, judges heard zero — yes, zero — parking violations cases in 2022.
Now, thanks to one Delco woman, the whole mess has landed in federal court.
Mary Candido, a resident of nearby Clifton Heights, has filed a federal class action lawsuit against Upper Darby, alleging that Upper Darby has violated the civil rights of numerous drivers by failing to provide them with due process.
“Without ever being provided notice (i.e., a summons) and a hearing to contest a parking ticket, individuals are denied their opportunity to appear in court and challenge a purported parking violation,” reads the suit. “Instead, they are left in limbo and remain liable for ever-compounding fines and live under the fear of prosecution.”
In the lawsuit, Candido says parking enforcement agents have given her multiple parking tickets in Upper Darby since early 2021. But she says she’s never once received anything in the mail allowing her to contest the tickets. Candido argues that some residents who would otherwise fight their tickets have simply given up and paid the fines.
She also cites the example of an Upper Darby barbershop owner who claimed in that CBS3 report that the township towed one of his two cars over unpaid parking tickets, tickets he had no way to contest. The matter lingered on, and he said he eventually owed $4,000 in towing, storage and violation fees and penalties.
Candido also accuses Upper Darby of negligence, for failing to properly supervise its employees, as well as unjust enrichment, arguing that the township is racking up money without giving citizens any way to fight the tickets.
The suit seeks unspecified damages. An Upper Darby representative did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Jeff Shell Out at Comcast’s NBCUniversal
If the name Jeff Shell rings a bell, it’s because he’s the head of NBCUniversal, aka the division of Comcast responsible for huge movie franchises such as Harry Potter, Fast & Furious, and Despicable Me and hit TV shows like Law & Order: SVU and America’s Got Talent. Or at least he was until Sunday.
Over the weekend, we learned that Shell is leaving Comcast due to an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman — said to be CNBC Middle East correspondent Hadley Gamble, according to a report citing anonymous sources.
Shell, who is married, issued this statement on Sunday:
Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret. I’m truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down, they are the most talented people in the business and the opportunity to work with them the last 19 years has been a privilege.
Gamble, who interviewed Vladmir Putin shortly before the invasion of Ukraine, has yet to publicly comment on the messy situation.
If all this sounds a bit familiar to you, it could be because CNN prez Jeff Zucker bid farewell to the network last year after the revelation of a relationship he had with a CNN exec. Or because of Les Moonves, who resigned as head of CBS in 2018 following allegations of sexual misconduct.
For Drag-at-the-Library Fans
What do you do when much of the country is up in arms over drag queens reading to kids? If you’re Philly’s innovative Bearded Ladies Cabaret, you develop a gender-bending musical on wheels and drive it around to Free Library branches to perform for neighborhood children.
We thought that the Fox 29 mayoral debate was going to be the only one of its kind. But it turns out that 6ABC is hosting one on Tuesday night. Matt O’Donnell moderates. 6ABC will live-stream the debate at 7 p.m. You can watch the recorded version on TV Sunday morning at 9 a.m. If you can handle more of this, tune in! (Don’t worry: I’ll keep you posted on what happens.)
And though all eyes seem to be on the mayoral primary, there’s one particularly interesting battle playing out in City Council. Republican Brian O’Neill has been the councilperson for the 10th District (think Northeast Philly) since way, way back in 1980. But Democrat Gary Masino, the business manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, is coming at him hard, and just survived a major court challenge that sought to eject him from the Democratic ballot. This will be one to watch in the general election in November.
On Friday, I called attention to Jeff Brown’s angry attack on Helen Gym from an event the previous day. And a reader named Philip took issue with my characterization of Brown’s remarks. Here’s what Philip had to say:
You don’t know what a good spirited debate is when Jeff Brown legitimately questioned Helen Gym on her qualifications in a strong fashion. It is good you weren’t around when Rizzo or even Goode was Mayor, you would have wilted like a flower. Philadelphia is rampant with crime and if Helen Gym is elected, there will be out of control lawlessness. I happened to be a Derek Green supporter, but unfortunately he withdrew. Philadelphia needs a strong mayor to get it back on track and the only ones who I know that fit this description who can win are Cherelle Parker or Jeff Brown.
You’re right about one thing Philip: It is good I wasn’t around when Frank Rizzo was mayor.
(If you want to send in your own reader mail for consideration, you can do so here.)
By the Numbers
$60,000: Surprise scholarship West Philly high school senior Damion Doswell Jr. just learned he’s receiving. He plans to attend Lincoln University in the fall and wants to be a neuroscientist.
5: Philly schools that have been forced to close of late due to environmental hazards. The count stood at four, but then students from the C.W. Henry Elementary School in Mount Airy learned they’d be going virtual beginning today thanks to asbestos.
0: Days this week that will see temperatures in the 70s. Boooooo.
40: Minimum age to join this local women’s double dutch club, which we awarded Best of Philly last year.
And from the Bats-Are-Banging Sports Desk …
What’s that you say? You somehow missed what happened in the Sixers-Nets playoff game on Saturday? Go here, quick!
Now, on to baseball. It was déjà vu all over again on Friday as the Rockies — that would be the last-place Rockies — jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Phils in the very first inning on a Ryan McMahon homer off starter Aaron Nola. Oops.
In the fourth, Castellanos took first on an error and Brandon Marsh singled with no outs, and Rockies pitcher Noah Davis hit J.T. Realmuto with a pitch. Bases loaded! Plus, manager Bud Black got tossed from the game for arguing that call. Alec Bohm lined out to second, and Jake Cave came up. Damn, Davis balked, and the run came home — the first one since last Wednesday for the Phils. Cave singled to left along the baseline and took first, while Marsh came home. Edmundo Sosa nearly homered, but the wind held it in, and nobody advanced. Bryson Stott’s turn! Pah, he struck out swinging. At least we were on the board.
Brent Suter came in to pitch for the Rockies in the sixth. Nola started the seventh, since there’d only been one hit off him since the first-inning flurry. In the bottom of that inning, a rocket homer by Kyle Schwarber off Suter’s replacement, Dinelson Lamet, tied it up at 3-3 before a gorgeous diving catch by left fielder Jurickson Profar of a Brandon Marsh foul fly ended the inning.
In the eighth, Nola came out and Seranthony Dominguez went in and allowed only a walk. Former Phil Brad Hand replaced Lamet, and Realmuto smashed a double off him, then stole third. But Josh Harrison struck out, bringing up Sosa, who blooped a single that brought J.T. home. Stott walked to bring in Trea Turner, who popped up to end the inning. Here came Jose Alvarado to close it out … hopefully. Sosa snagged a line drive and a pop fly for the second and third outs, and we had a comeback win!
In Saturday’s game, still against the Rockies, Nick Castellanos hit a homer in the second to put the Phils up 1-0—his first homer of the year! In the third, Cristian Pache hit his first of the year: 3-1 Phils! Alec Bohm tried to turn a single into a double and was called safe at second, but the Rockies challenged and won. The Rockies then added one in the fourth and another in the fifth to tie it off Connor Brodgon, who’d come in for Phils starter Cristian Sanchez. The Phils put two on in the bottom of the fifth on an error and a Pache single, and Bohm nearly herniated himself trying to bring someone home but ground out instead.
The Rockies matched with an error and a single in their half of the sixth, as the sky was darkening considerably. Brogdon pitched out of the jam, though, and in the Phils’ half, Castellanos let his second of the season rip!
Is everyone okay?
Castellanos just went deep for the second time today pic.twitter.com/jit1vUNAn5
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 22, 2023
Phils up, 4-3. Gregory Soto came in for Brogdon in the seventh and retired the side on 10 pitches. Efficient! Seranthony came in to pitch the eighth, and the Rockies landed two singles interspersed with two outs. Visit to the mound! A grounder to third made Bohm stretch like Gumby; the runner was called out, the call was appealed, and the out was affirmed.
In the bottom of the eighth, Castellanos doubled with two outs, but Realmuto couldn’t bring him home. That brought Craig Kimbrel in to pitch the top of the ninth. He got two caught liners and a called strikeout, and the game was over: Phils win, 4-3!
In Sunday’s game, Trea Turner homered in the first off starter José Ureña, and the Phils picked up another in the third on Kody Clemens’s first homer of the year, for a 2-0 lead. But Phils starter Zack Wheeler had a mess of a start to the fourth, giving up three singles, letting loose a wild pitch, walking one and hitting a batter, for a total of three Rockies runs. The Phils evened it at 3-3 in their half of the fourth, then went up 4-3 before Suter replaced Ureña.
And the Phils just kept pouring it on, adding two in the seventh on a two-run boomer by Bryson Stott and two more in the eighth on a homer by Brandon Marsh before Luis Ortiz finished the Rockies off. Final score: 9-3 Phillies. Did we mention it was a certain somebody’s birthday?
Tuesday kicks off a three-day home stand vs. the Mariners before the Phils start a West Coast road trip.
The Union were at a very, very soggy Subaru Park on Saturday night for a 7:30 match against Toronto. I thought for sure the game would be cancelled, because the weather forecast was so bleak — severe thunderstorm warning through 9 p.m.! But the thunder and lightning passed over just in time, leaving only a driving rain. Hey, those guys could have opted to play baseball. They chose soccer instead.
The Union had a slew of shots early in the first but couldn’t find the net. Know what I learned on Saturday? The Phils’ Nick Castellanos bought Ben Simmons’s house from him. Weird, huh? The great thing about soccer is that it leaves you lots of time to do other things while you watch it. Fifteen minutes in, Dániel Gazdag found that net — well, the goalie made a good save that careened off his own player into the goal. Never mind how — it counted! And five minutes later, another doop, on a shot from Mikael Uhre that was deflected in!
The refs handed a yellow card to Jack Elliott in the 35th minute, but it had been a very clean game. OMG, the poor Toronto goalie: another goal, this one from Gazdag. But he was deemed offsides. Never fear; Uhre racked another one up in the 42nd minute. There was an audible sigh from players and fans as the refs announced six minutes of stoppage — still no stoppage of the rain, alas. Union goalie Andre Blake made a nice save, just to keep his brain in the game. Good thing, too, because there was a last-second (literally) Toronto corner. Nothing doing! Halftime.
In the second, Toronto got a credible shot that went just wide, and Blake jumped up screaming at his teammates to turn it back on. Uhre responded with a hat trick at 56 minutes off a gorgeous Carranza assist.
MIKAEL WITH THE HATTY! ⚡️⚡️⚡️
Watch #PHIvTOR with #MLSSeasonPass on@AppleTV: https://t.co/SQXvLZSZam#DOOP | #PHIvTOR 4-0 pic.twitter.com/Iz4FQ7qg3p
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) April 23, 2023
Eh, Toronto answered with a goal at 65 minutes, an equally handsome bending strike by Lorenzo Insigne. And the Canadian club poured it on strong through the rest of the match, threatening repeatedly, but Blake stood firm through the chaos, and so did Kai Wagner, who stopped a shot with his face. That led to a Toronto corner, but again, nothing doing. Four minutes of stoppage? “Nobody wants any stoppage,” my husband muttered, and he was right. Especially Blake—a second Toronto goal, by Richie Laryea, made it 4-2. And there was the whistle, finally! On to Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal match vs. LAFC on Wednesday night at 9 p.m.
All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.