Making Cents of Fine Fails to Pay Off

Randall Cornelius wanted to put in his two cents’ worth about a parking ticket he got in San Gabriel recently. Actually, he wanted to put in his 2,000 cents’ worth.

He did so last week, when he ambled into the San Gabriel police station with a box full of loose pennies to pay his $20 fine.

Paula Bock, Police Department records clerk, said Cornelius is not the first person to try to pay in pennies. In fact, it happens often enough that the department has instituted a policy against accepting loose change. “We don’t have time to stand here and count pennies,” Bock said.

Cornelius, 28, who lives in Upland, maintains he was unfairly ticketed for overnight parking


on a San Gabriel street. He said the city should post warning signs about the law. Bock said San Gabriel, like other cities with restrictions on overnight parking, posts signs at major entrances, but not on every street.

Bock said Cornelius--who is so far refusing to budge--has a choice of paying his fine in easy-to-count money, or ignoring the citation, which would then be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, preventing Cornelius from renewing his car registration.

A spokeswoman at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving at the U.S. Treasury Department said the city can legally refuse to take pennies.