Got the brake light fixed. Got the ticket signed by an officer who agrees - my passenger-side brake light now lights up. Now I just have to mail in the ticket and pay a $25 fee.
Clearly I should not mail cash. The officer had no idea who the check should be made payable to. She said nobody has ever asked her about that. The ticket doesn't say who it should be payable to. The web site gives no clue. There's a "pay traffic tickets online" thing, but this isn't a traffic ticket and the citation number isn't in their system -- it says it may take six weeks to get into the system anyway, and this is required to be taken care of in a month.
("So I should make it payable to 'City of Fremont', then?" "No," said the officer, "definitely not City of Fremont." Well, okay, so that answer isn't right, even if there's no listed right answer.)
There's a phone help line (open 8:30-2:30, weekdays only) that could presumably help me with this. I've been on hold for about 45 minutes as it tells me repeatedly to use all these other methods that don't work to find this out.
Google seems to think nobody else has this problem. There's a Yahoo Answers page about several *other* problems people have had.
Does everybody just mail cash? There's no way to pay with credit card on the ticket itself. Are the Fremont police so overworked that I'm the only guy with a fix-it ticket in department history? Everything else they do is traffic tickets, robberies and murders?
I kid. Apparently I can go to the courthouse and hope somebody there is capable of helping me. But based on the police department, ticket, phone help line and various web sites, I'm not feeling hopeful.
As a desperate, Prius-driving criminal with a dubious brake lights, I know I deserve everything the criminal justice system can do to me. But I'd like to pay my debt to society. Society just needs to tell me who that debt is payable to. Or take a freaking credit card. Or let me use the web site that desperate criminals with a speeding ticket can use.