Reader discusses disabled placard law

     Q I would like to add to Bob Popewell’s (Monday, May 25 blog post) suggestion: tow, ticket, hand cuff and book these violators. I suggest you ask either the parking officers in Capitola or Santa Cruz about the violators they run into. You’d be amazed how many are illegally using Grandma’s parking placard while they park their SUV or BMW in a handicapped parking spot all day at the beach. Grandma is usually at the convalescent home and nowhere nearby. This is highly illegal, and you would be astounded how often it happens. Also astounding is how indignant people get when confronted by the officers who ask to see their permit and find out who it belongs to. They know they are in the wrong and get angry when the permit is confiscated and they are issued citations for misuse of the placard and the illegal parking. It happens a lot, Ramona. Just ask the parking officers, believe me.
Capitola Citizen
     A Thank you for writing in with your additional comments, Capitola Citizen. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, misuse of parking placards for disabled people is illegal. Disabled people who lend their placard to the able-bodied risk having it revoked or canceled. Non-disabled people caught using placards can receive a fine of between $250 and $3,500, up to six months of imprisonment or both. Read more about disabled person parking placards online at, then click on Publications, Vehicle Registration Brochures, Disabled Person Parking Placard or Plates.
     On another transportation topic, the Campaign for Sensible Transportation will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 for an hour-long discussion about the results of its commute habits survey. The group asked downtown workers about their commute habits as it tries to stave off a proposed parking garage at Cedar and Cathcart streets. The meeting will take place at the Calvary Church Hall at Cedar and Lincoln streets. View the survey results online at


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2 Responses to Reader discusses disabled placard law

  1. Maggie says:

    My husband has a placard and because his disability is not easily seen, he often gets nasty looks when getting out of the car. He has good days and bad days. Good days he does not park in a handicapped spot. Bad days he does and uses his cane. Either way he can not walk very far. He does not like to use the cane – it gets in his way. Once he gets into a store, he uses the grocery cart as his balance cart.

    So, just because someone does not look disabled does not mean they do not have problems.

  2. Capitola Citizen says:

    to Maggie:
    I wrote the above letter to StreetSmarts. I hope you were not offended. On the contrary, I totally agree with you. My dad uses a placard, he has heart problems and is very slow, but he doesn’t use a walker (yet). It is not appropriate for the rest of us to confront folks who don’t have an ‘obvious’ disability and ask why they have a placard. However, it IS appropriate for the parking officers to ask folks who the permit belongs to and confirm proper use– they and the cops are the only ones who are authorized to do this–and they should; to ensure parking is available for folks like your husband.

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