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Thread: The Bureaucracy and Fighting Back

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    elkmont
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    506

    Default The Bureaucracy and Fighting Back

    As most of you know by now, the Alabama State Troopers did not appreciate me trying to run away from Angie and her bold attempts to keep up with me. To lessen damage to our driving record we are going to appear before the Winston County judge next week and plead for an opportunity to go to remediate driving school. On this thought we decided we needed a copy of our sterling driving record to help our case. So on Thursday we went to the driver's licensing department at Limestone County to obtain a copy.

    The bureaucracy part:

    Limestone County Driver's Licensing Office can not issue a copy of the driving record, we would have to go the State Troopers office in Huntsville. We wer given the address (115a SW Church St.) and a mapquest strip map and told the office closed at 5:00 p.m. Drove to Huntsville and searched the 100 block of SW Church for about 20 minutes for the address. Finally parked and went into a municipal building and asked. Wer told the State Troopers office is on the north end of Church Street unsure of address. We find the office (1115a NW Church) and go into the office at 4:29 p.m. Told the receptionist what we wanted. We were told the desk which handles these request had already shut their computer down for the day. We explained we had driven 40 miles one way and told the office closed at 5:00. Basically we were told tough luck and come back another day. Angie asked to see the supervisor. Were told would do no good because there weren't going to start the computer back up to help us. These are our fine civil servants which we are taxed to give them good salaries to "help us." We picked up an application and took it home with us.

    The fighting back part:

    Noticed on the application they would accept charge cards, cashier checks, money orders or cash in person to pay the cost of $5.75 each. Have I got plan for them.
    We have a bag of pennies which have been accumulating around the house for a few months and need to get rid of them. Friday I rode back to Huntsville with $10 bill and 150 loose pennies in a sandwich bag. Turned in our applications and was told that would be $11.50. I handed the lady the $10 and the bag of pennies. She said they had never taken in pennies before and that she would have to take them to the bank on her lunch time. I just smiled. After receiving our drivers' records, she held up the pennies and frowned. I asked her if they weren't considered to be cash. She acknowledge that fact at which point I told her that her own application stated that cash would be accepted. She then told me that her supervisor would be unhappy because her having to go to the bank was inconvenient. I couldn't hold it any more so I told her, "Lady, let me tell you about being inconvenient. I drove 40 miles one way yesterday to do this and was sent to the wrong part of town by your agency. Then once I located this office you had shut down your computer 30 minutes early and would not serve us. That's inconvenient." She said she was just trying to be nice. I just smiled and left.

    I know others have been hassled by our bureaucrats so let's hear your story. How about it Jamie or is that Ms. Jamie?

    Gary
    Charm and Mr. Congeniality

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Grant, Al
    Posts
    182

    Default

    I wanted to add a boat to my driverse license. I was told over the phone that since I was in the Coast Guard and had all the boating safety courses I did not have to take the written test. All I had to do was bring proof that I had these courses. I brought my DD214 which clearly stated that I had finished the Boating Safety and Boarding Officer schools. I was told at the drivers license office that a DD214 was not proof. The lady even called her supervisor who agreed with her. I have not fuigured out a way to get back, but I know if I can talk face to face with someone with half a brain and get them to look at the DD214 thay will see that it is proof. I feel that the DD214 is my most important document next to by Birth Certificate. The only time I remember using my Birth Certificate in the last 20 years was to get my Passport. Maybe the DD214 is the most important.
    Bill
    72 Honda CT90 (Orange Crush)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    716

    Default

    Gary, the reissuance of my Alabama Drivers Liscense as a female is just one of the many challenges that I have faced at the Courthouse.

    Even though it was their mistake, they would not change it back without two letters of affidavit from separate doctors stating that I have had a sex change. After almost getting arrested (several times) for disorderly conduct by the deputy at the courthouse , I finally got the "nice" supervisor to get Montgomery Department of Public Safety to pull up my old liscense from the archives. Since it showed that I was male, and they did not have any letters on file to change it, then someone within the system had obviously violated the Alabama Code. At this time they decided the best route was to reissue my liscense as a male. And then...and then...told me I would have to pay $9.50 for the replacement. They promised that if I would stop yelling and screaming that they would waive the charges. (Almost got arrested again!)

    I have many other equally interesting accounts of courthouse beaurocracy. Ask me sometime about trying to obtain a tag for a trailer that was purchased out of state. They never know how much tax to charge because their ad valorum database contains very few trailers and they will not accept the bill of sale as an indicator. Their closest reference may be a Winnebago with a similar name and your taxes may be a couple of hundred dollars - for a motorcycle trailer.

    By the way, the little round holes in the glass partition is there to allow you to talk to the clerk but limit you from draging them over the counter where you can beat the crap out of them.
    Last edited by Bikebum; 12-09-2007 at 05:02 PM.
    Jamie
    02 K1200lt
    82 R100RT

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    716

    Default

    Bill, I also had quite an experience at the Marine Safety place. Because of my birth date I was grandfathered as to testing so it would just be a matter of going by to get my DL updated. It took four trips because of very unusual hours of operation at the office but I finally battled through huddled masses and reached the lady that could fix it. Very courteous and knowledgable, she asked me for my Drivers Liscense, did the paper work, charged me $5.00 and handed me my paper work and my DL cut in half.

    She said I would have to get it renewed so they could emboss the marine endorsement on it. Yep, had to wait in another line to get DL renewed to the tune of $9.50. My old DL was only two months old. This is our service center in action.

    Wanna hear more? Just ask me around the next campfire. I even found out why they passed the law requiring marine endorsement. I know, you are thinking safety, but it was strictly about revenue.
    Last edited by Bikebum; 12-09-2007 at 04:30 PM.
    Jamie
    02 K1200lt
    82 R100RT

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    elkmont
    Posts
    506

    Thumbs down

    I love it. Remember folks we are being taxed to pay the salaries of these bureaucrats for the fine service they are providing us. It's time we kicked 3/4 of them and their political bosses out on the street, but ain't gonna happen .

    Let's hear from some of you others. Maybe if we get enough responses we can send them to Bob Riley and the directors of some of the departments.

    Fight Back!

    Gary
    Charm and Mr. Congeniality

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Creola, AL
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Don't even get me started. I recently moved into the state from GA with 5 motorcycles, a Jeep Liberty, a F150 Ford pickup, and a Winnebago MH. It took me over 6 months to get the titles switched over and plates purchased. Most of the vehicles were registered through the Eight Mile Tag office in Mobile County. Every person that worked there had a different interpetation of what the rules were. All bikes had to be brought down one at a time for inspection. I only prayed each time I went that I would get the same woman, which almost never happened. It was a real trip.
    Tim

    2012 G650GS BMW
    2012 Harley FLHTCUSE7 Ultra Classic CVO

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    95

    Default

    Makes me glad I live in Mississippi!! I have never had bad experience with the license branch in Starkville. My last title came in the mail to me in two and a half weeks.
    '15 R1200RT
    '82 Honda CBX
    '00 Kaw. KLR 650
    17 Honda CRF 250L

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Helena, AL
    Posts
    2,667

    Default

    Outlaw, you have stirred it up!
    The case that comes to mind to me about this same stuff has to do with the sales tax collection in Alabama...an issue that I deal with each month...yep on a recurring basis..each month!
    In its infinite wisdom the state has agreed to allow each county to collect its own sales tax. Now this is done in a variety of ways by a variety of collectors. At least two private companies are allowed to contract with counties and cities and of course the counties and cities may choose to collect it themselves. It is incredibly hard to keep track of who collects what and they all want to us to file a report each month even if it is zero due. Our sales are individual in nature and once a sale is made there may never be another! Quite the quagmire....
    My previous employment was in TN and they collect the tax for all the agencies and then distribute it accordingly...a much less cumbersome system!
    Never had much DL trouble though......
    Current Bikes
    '16 BMW R1200GSA "Buck"
    '18 BMW G310GS "Tiny"

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    elkmont
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    Default

    Mentioning sales tax.

    I do the books and payroll for my brothers' concrete finishing business. A couple of years ago the government imposed an environmental fee of $4 per load of concrete regardless of the size of the load. In my book any fee established by the government is a tax. We primarily buy our readymix concrete from three separate companies. One of these companies (I'll name it -USA primarily owned by Paul Bryant Jr) insists on totally up all charges for the concrete and any extras plus the environmental fee before they calculate the sales tax. Therefore, they are taxing the tax. I have been in a two year pissing contest with them over this issue and refuse to pay the sales tax on the enviro fee. To do this I have to recalculate each invoice and write them a note on what I have done. They refuse to accept my reasoning and tell me there auditors insist they collect this tax on a tax. We keep the bills screwed up because they want to charge a late charge on the amount I didn't send. I have tried to get my brothers to quit using this company, but I really don't have any say so. Fortunately, they buy a whole lot less from them than the other two companies.
    Honestly, I think the lady at their accounting office hates me and secretly hopes I get killed on the motorcycle.
    Guess my question to Bob Riley is "Can you tax a tax? I thought a sales tax was on a good that was provided."
    Charm and Mr. Congeniality

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    299

    Default

    I'll add to this thread --

    Some years ago, AL switched to using the "Red Book" to calculate the ad valorem taxes on motor vehicles. This was primarily to capture the inflated values of H-D's at the time, but all other bikes were caught in the the process. My 5-year old (at the time) Triumph Trophy was valued at about $2k above the MSRP for 2001. When I protested the valuation (at the time I was renewing my tag at the time), I was given a sheet of paper clearly explaining how to officially protest it. I did my "due diligence", scheduled a hearing at the tax office in Columbiana, collected "comparables" from all the Trophy's I could find in the SE, brought my bike down to Columbiana on the appointed day, presented my case, and prayed. The Board of Equalization (3 or 4 good ol' boys) listened to me, reviewed my paperwork, and LO AND BEHOLD! They agreed that my bike should be valued at a lower value, wrote up the paperwork for me, and I was on my way! Of course, for the last 5 years, I've been riding a "Speed Triple" that just happens to look like a Trophy, but that's somewhat okay, as the VIN matches, and that's the most important part. So you can fight City Hall and win, sometimes.

    Now, if you really want to get p-o'ed, contact AL-DOT and try to get someone to tell you why they screwed up the surface on Alabama's Skyline Drive and the Pig Trail up Cheaha. That's a real hoot, IF you can even get someone to answer your questions.
    JGoertz
    2012 Triumph Bonneville SE
    2015 BMW R1200RT

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