Stop Los Angeles Parking Enforcement Corruption


Los Angeles, Unsafe in Park - My Letters

Here I present the text of my letters to the Mayor's office, my city council member, and various offices in the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles Municiple Court.


Letter one. Copies sent to the Mayor's office and to my city councel member. June 24, 1999

Mayor Richard Riordan
City Hall
200 North Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

June 24, 1999

Dear Mayor Riordan,
Councilman Hal Bernson
City Hall 237
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

June 24, 1999

Dear Councilman Hal Bernson,

I am writing because I have just discovered that the reason why I recently received a parking citation when I was complying with the law was:

  1. The sign is incorrectly marked,
  2. The incorrectly marked sign was pointed out to the Parking Enforcement Officers some time ago.

The sign in question is on the North side of Weddington Street, about 115 feet west of Lankershim. There are four signs along the street, three say no parking 10-12, one sign says 12-2. Once a motorist has observed the sign that says 12-2, he/she expects the others to match and should not be expected to walk the length of the block, drive around the block to check, or back-up to insure that the other signs do match. The street sweeper cleans the entire street at once, it doesn't skip a section and come back two hours later. If there is a conflict, the sign closest should prevail.

While photographing the offending sign, another person told me that he too had received a citation for the same reason and when he pointed out the sign, the Parking Enforcement told him to "write a letter to complain" - so I am writing the letter. It is the responsibility of the Parking Enforcement Officer to see that the sign is corrected, it is not the responsibility of the occasional motorist. This happened some time ago, Parking Enforcement is still writing citations and the sign has never been corrected. If a Parking Enforcement Officer knows that the wrong sign was installed, then he/she should report it to the appropriate supervisor or agency. He/she should not continue writing citations for a violation that he/she knows was not committed. There were four or five other cars that day also getting a citation, the drivers also believing that the sign to be valid and that they were legally parking. Parking Enforcement collects about $200.00 every week from this sign that they know is improperly posted. That is wrong - that is entrapment.

I should point out that the law refers to the times posted. In this case, while the times posted may not be the times intended, they are the times posted and therefor, the times are the law. The signs further down the street refer to parking spaces further down the street. The sign I observed, refers to the section of street where I parked. The sign should be corrected, then the new sign will be the law. Until the sign is corrected, it is legal to park where I did at the time that I did.

If anyone should be punished, it is the City worker who put up the wrong sign and the Parking Enforcement people who have continued collecting revenue without correcting the error. The punished should not be the innocent motorist who observed, read, comprehended correctly, and obeyed the sign. Punishing the victim does nothing to encourage the obeying of the law and does encourage the city to install more incorrect signs.

To continue punishing people for obeying a law is unconscionable, improper, immoral, illegal, just plain mean, and quite literally, entrapment. It would be no different than posting a higher speed limit sign and citing a driver for excessive speed. Had the sign been correct, I wouldn't have parked there.

This sign should be corrected and Parking Enforcement should stop issuing citations until it is. The Parking Enforcement Officers should be compelled to be honest and to report incorrectly marked signs immediately.

Had this been reported in a timely manor, I would not be in this position now. I will now loose a day of work going to court, photography, travel, postage, and other expenses, and I should be spending this time looking for a real job. I feel I deserve punitive damages. Every fine collected on that section of street should be returned. This in the United Stats of America and it stands for justice, not corrupt government.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson

(My city councilman's office sent a letter saying that they had forwarded my complaint to the Department of Transportation.)


Letter two. Copies sent to the Mayor's office and my city council member. 8-1-99

Mayor Richard Riordan
City Hall
200 North Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Aaugust 1, 1999

Dear Mayor Riordan,

Councilman Hal Bernson
City Hall 237
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

August 1, 1999

Dear Councilman Hal Bernson,

I am writing because I am appalled and angered by the incompetence and dishonesty of the Parking Enforcement in this city. Their actions make them look more like a revenue device rather than a law enforcement agency. It is impossible for a civil servant to do a job conscientiously.

First, a city worker installed a no parking sign with the wrong time listed.
Second, Parking Enforcement continued writing parking citations even after the error was pointed out.
Third, when I went through proper channels and requested it be investigated, the person did a field inspection and after seeing that the sign had been recently corrected with a sticker, negligently and dishonestly failed to show "good faith" by inquiring that the correction was recent. The citation stands because the sign is now (and only recently) correct. They failed to do an honest investigation.

Enclosed are copies of two photos of the same sign. One, showing the wrong time, was taken a few days after I received a citation, the other photos was taken a month and a half later showing the correcting sticker. The sticker was applied crooked and wrinkled, showing the same lack of care as the worker who installed a sign with the wrong time, a Parking Enforcement who didn't care that the sign was wrong, and the field inspector who only conducted half an investigation.

The investigation was flawed and insincere. There must be records that indicate that the correcting sticker was applied recently. As you can see by the photos, it was.

The entire process is designed to discourage honest people from defending their rights. I will now have to take a day off work and show a judge the two photos (from two rolls of film that cost about $10.00 each to buy and process). It will cost me several time the amount of the $40.00 fine to correct this wrong. It is not the money, it is that I have to expend so much time, money, and energy to defend myself from an inept and dishonest city bureaucracy. I am not alone in this mistreatment.

It was a city worker who installed the wrong sign. A city worker who ignored the error, and a city worker who conducted only half an investigation. Now I will be punished for living in LA. It's small wonder that people don't like to pay taxes and don't take the time to vote. When the government shows no respect for the common citizen, the citizen loses respect for the government.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson

(Their reply pending)


Letter three. This letter accompanied my photographic evidence to City of Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau along with the declaration for the formal hearing. August 9, 1999

City of Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau
P.O. Box 30247
Los Angeles, CA 90030

August 9, 1999

I, Kenneth Larson, declare that on June 18, 1999, approximately 9:30 AM, I turned the corner, from Lankershim south to Weddington west. I observed available parking spaces, looked at the adjacent parking sign, read it, and obeyed it. The sign said "No Parking 12 noon - 2 PM Friday Street Cleaning." I showed good faith and returned to my car a full one quarter hour before the beginning of the no parking period listed on the sign. This allowed me 15 minutes margin for error. It tuned out, unknowable to me at the time, that a city employee had installed a sign with the wrong time listed. Had the sign displayed the correct time, I would not have parked there at that time. Any average intelligent person would have believed the sign to be correct. I was legally parked in accordance with the "Times posted." I am being punished for a mistake made by a city employee. Further, the city later acknowledged their mistake and applied a sticker to the sign to correct the posted time. This correction occurred some time after the citation was issued.

The enclosed photographs show the above statement, as to the wording of the sign, to be true. I have tried to include a sufficient number of photographs to support the facts and to establish that it is the location stated. The door that says "5303 Lankershim" is a side door to a corner building facing Lankershim. The side door is on Weddington as careful examination of the photographs will clarify. There are photographs of the same sign before and after the city corrected it with a poorly applied sticker. All were taken after the citation was issued. I returned to the site twice and documented the scene on two rolls of film about a month apart.

While taking the photographs, a passer-by said he had previously had the same discussion with Parking Enforcement who told him to "Write a letter and complain." I did write several letters and it is possible that the correction was made as a result of my letters.

I declare, under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California, that the forgoing is true and correct. I further declare that the enclosed photographs were made at the times and location stated and are a truthful image of the situation.

Kenneth Larson

Citation #781012444

(Their reply is still pending.)


Letter four. Copies sent to the Mayor's office and to my city council member. August 31, 1999

Mayor Richard Riordan
City Hall
200 North Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

August 31, 1999

Dear Mayor Riordan,
Councilman Hal Bernson
City Hall 237
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

August 31, 1999

Dear Councilman Hal Bernson,

I am writing on this matter for the third time. Your office has responded to my earlier letters and I thank you, but the problem still persists. It is on the matter of an incorrect "No parking" sign that listed the wrong time. I have jumped through all the many hoops that the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation has required. They have, at every opportunity, made it difficult for me to challenge this undeserved citation. I made my phone calls; requested a field investigation; and sent my check, statement, and photos requesting a formal Administrative Review.

I mailed the required papers, check, and photos by Certified Mail over three weeks ago requesting a formal Administrative Review. I have yet to receive a receipt from the Post Office that they signed for receiving this. I'm sure their next response will be that they didn't receive it within the short time period required and reject it. I had about two weeks (21 days from the date on the letter and it took a week to deliver their letter) to photograph the sign for the second time, get my papers together and deliver.

I demand a full investigation in this department - the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation. They are either dishonest or incompetent, probably both. They are corrupt and only interested in revenue.

Let me review this matter.

The next thing I know, I will probably be arrested for not paying the fine and I have done everything I can to try to follow procedures and correct this wrong. These people need to be brought in line.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson


Letter five. Copies sent to the Mayor's office and to my city council member. September 25, 1999

Mayor Richard Riordan
City Hall
200 North Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

September 25, 1999

Dear Mayor Riordan,
Councilman Hal Bernson
City Hall 237
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Sepytember 25, 1999

Dear Councilman Hal Bernson,

I'm sorry to be writing on this matter for the forth time, but the Parking Violations Bureau has yet again chosen to make the process more difficult than necessary. In short, my reason for being so upset is that they seem to be deliberately making the process so difficult, that no one will take the time, money, and effort to challenge them. They control the process and do so to protect themselves and hurt the innocent.

At every opportunity, the Los Angels Department of Transportation and Parking Violations Bureau has made the process as complicated as possible. Why? The answer is, to maximize revenue.

Finally, an Administrative Review has looked at my laboriously and expensively gathered evidence and seen it my way. Yet, they still require one more level of bureaucracy to return my bail. I am require to use another stamp and request my refund. Who, after expending this much time and money, wouldn't want their bail returned? They should send it, not require a request and then allow another 30 days to refund the bail.

By making the process so difficult, time consuming, expensive, and complicated, they discourage innocent people from defending themselves. I have invested about $60.00 in expenses and twelve hours of my valuable and irreplaceable time to defend myself over a $40.00 citation. Not everyone has the time and money to endure the process. I did this because this is not the first time that various government agencies have punished me for obeying the law. There are countless other people, also innocent, who simply pay the undeserved fine instead of incurring the expense of defending themselves.

The Los Angels Department of Transportation and Parking Violations Bureau does not issue citations to encourage people to obey the law, they issue citations to generate revenue. They want people to park illegally so they can issue a revenue generating citation. They start each day hoping people will break the law so they can issue a citation. If their interest were to enforce the law and protect people, then they would place greater emphasis on enforcement and not fines. In my case, they knew for some time that the sign listed the wrong time, they neglected to fix it, and generated about $200.00 a week on that one wrong sign. If they really wanted the street clear of cars for the street cleaner, they would have gotten the sign fixed when it was first pointed out by another victim who I talked to, they would not have said, "Write a letter and complain." The Officer would have stopped writing citations and reported the incorrect sign if he was concerned with keeping the street clear for cleaning.

If the Los Angels Department of Transportation and Parking Violations Bureau was interested in encouraging people to obey the law, they wouldn't be so ruthless in their actions. They wouldn't give tickets when the signs are wrong or confusing. They would give warnings when it is clear the driver didn't understand. They would make the process less complicated. Investigations would be conducted in good faith. Bail would be returned promptly without requiring a separate request. If the department was honest, they would instruct their officers to report inaccurate, confusing, or obscured signs. They would instruct their officers not to write citations when they know the sign was wrong. They would instruct their officers to void a citation when the driver points out that the sign was wrong. If the Department was honest, they would obey the laws they are entrusted to defend.

The process is overly complicated. As I carefully looked over the paper work, there were no instructions on how to challenge a citation, you have to call. When I called, I found myself on a phone menu that didn't offer the option that I needed (to challenge a citation). The menu said for more options press a specific number. That number yielded a new menu with the same options, for more options, press a specific number which returned me to the first menu. After a half hour, I hung up and redialed, not pressing the number for a touch-tone phone and got an operator. I was not sure which address to send items to. I sent by certified mail and never got a receipt that they received it. I requested a review which they didn't conduct in good faith, requiring me to expend more effort, time, and money as I had to gather even more evidence.

When they make the process difficult, they expect people to pay the fine instead of defending themselves. They want innocent people to just quietly pay the fine and go away. Once they believed that people wouldn't endure the system to defend themselves, they got sloppy. They know they have to issue a number of citations each day, so they need people to park illegally. If one day, no one parked illegally, they would have to fabricate violations. Once they know that people won't challenge the fabricated citations, they will start to write citations when the car is clearly legally parked. They will give a citation to every car in a parking lot because they know most people will pay the fine. People must challenge every unjust citation. When the process becomes so difficult, innocent people can't challenge a citation.

The process must be made more honest. The process must be made more efficient. The innocent person should not spend more money defending himself than the cost of the fine. I demand a full investigation in this department - the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation and Parking Violations Bureau. They are either dishonest or incompetent, probably both. They are corrupt and only interested in revenue. They are punishing innocent people to gather more revenue.

When a democracy discourages checks and balances, it ceases to be a democracy.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson


Letter six. Copies sent to the Mayor's office and to my city council member. November 9, 1999

Mayor Richard Riordan
City Hall
200 North Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

November 9, 1999

Dear Mayor Riordan,
Councilman Hal Bernson
City Hall 237
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

November 9, 1999

Dear Councilman Hal Bernson,>

I am sorry to be writing on this matter for the fifth time, but the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation continues acting inappropriately. I am so unbelievably frustrated by the dishonesty, incompetence, and bias nature of this department. Your office has responded to my earlier letters and I thank you, but the problem still persists. It is on the matter of a "No parking" sign that listed the incorrect time.

I finally received the enclosed letter telling me that the citation has been "permanently dismissed" and that I could write for a refund. I thought this nightmare was over. Instead of a refund, a month later, I received the other enclosed letter telling me they found me liable. Isn't that double jeopardy and against the US Constitution?

I enclosed to the department many photos showing the sign as it was the day that I received the citation and a month later after it was corrected with a badly applied sticker. The sticker is crooked, wrinkled, and part of the old wrong time still shows. They said that because I showed them two photos of the same sign with different times listed, they don't know which was in effect when the citation was written. Clearly the sticker was the second photo and I wouldn't have photographed the sign before I received the citation. They should have the records of what the times are supposed to be and that the times haven't changed for some time. They should have the records of when the sticker was applied. I don't have access to these records. Even these incompetent people are smart enough not to apply a wrong sticker to a correct sign. Why would I take a photo of the sign with the correct time when I had no way of knowing the sign would later be changed to the wrong time? I didn't photograph the sign with the correct sticker and pull the sticker off and take another photo - it would show scraping marks if I did that and I'm sure the sticker is still there if they want to check.

I have jumped through all the many hoops that the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation has required. They have, at every opportunity, made it difficult for me to challenge this undeserved citation. I made my phone calls; requested a field investigation; and sent my check, statement, illustrations, and photos requesting a formal Administrative Review. They found in my favor, told me to write for the return of my bail, then reversed their decision. They seem determined to find against me no mater how much evidence I can present. They consider me guilty until I can prove beyond all possible doubt that I am innocent. They are seeing only what they need to see to find against me. Does the city need my $40.00 so much that they will ignore the US Constitution and ignore justice and morality?

My concern is that they have made this entire process so difficult, that only someone strongly driven by a sense of principle would pursue it. Most innocent people will just pay the punishment and be done with it. I sometimes feel that the only way to end this is to give up, but then that's what they want so I keep fighting. When the process becomes so complicated that innocent people don't try, it opens the process to abuse. When they know people won't fight, they get sloppy. If they are having a bad day and think people will not defend themselves, they might give citations to people legally parked because it's easier, knowing the victims will just pay the fine.

I demand a full investigation in this department - the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation. They are either dishonest or incompetent, probably both. They are corrupt and only interested in revenue.

Let me make this clear:
I'm not asking the citation be fixed, I am demanding that the Department be fixed.
I'm not angry that the sign was wrong, I am angry that they knew the sign was wrong and didn't fit it.
I'm not upset that the field investigation found against me, I am upset that it wasn't conducted in good faith and was incomplete.
I am not going through this to get back my $40.00 (photos, travel, postage, phone calls have cost me about $60.00 so far to fight it), I am going through this so no one has to go through it again.
I am upset that they are doing their best to discourage people from defending their rights.
I am upset that they aren't following the rules and the Constitution.
I am upset that they are more concerned for revenue generation than the law and justice.
If they really wanted the street clear for street cleaning, they would have corrected the sign when it was first pointed out to them by another victim and not said "write a letter and complain" and continued writing citations.

Since the city has chosen to punish me for their mistake, I am going to punish the city for their mistake. I am discontinuing my long habit of financial support to the LA City Zoo and the city owned museums, the Griffith Observatory and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. It may be unfair to these fine institutions, but it is unfair for the city to punish me for their incompetence and this has cost me, in time and expenses, the equivalent of many years of support to these institution. I have always tried to be a good citizen and am tired of being punished for it. If this matter isn't corrected soon, an audit performed of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and a few people fired, I am considering suing the city for emotional distress, expenses, and punitive damages. This entire process has been too complicated, lasted too long, and conducted in a biased manor.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson


Letter seven. Letter to the Department of Transportation requesting relevant data be delivered to the court. The information was not delivered. November 9, 1999

Attn: Supervisors
Correspondents
PO Box 30247
Los Angeles, CA 90030

November 9, 1999

Dear Sir,

Regarding citation # 781012444

Sometime between June 22, 1999 and July 30, 1999, a "no parking" sign was corrected. The sign is the second sign west of Lankershim, on the north side of Weddington in North Hollywood. The sign said "No Parking 12 noon - 2 PM Friday Street Cleaning." A sticker was applied between June 22, 1999 and July 30, 1999 to correct the sign to read, "No Parking 10 AM - 12 noon Friday Street Cleaning." I have photos taken on those dates showing the original sign and the corrected sign. Someone from City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation or other responsible department made the correction. There must be a work order for this correction. I need a copy of that work order. I also need a copy of the document that states the correct "no parking" period on the north side of Weddington, west of Lankershim in North Hollywood and how long that schedule has been in effect.

These correct and accurate documents need to be delivered to Los Angeles Municipal Court in Van Nuys, California before December 17 regarding citation number 781012444, court case number 99E10138.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson


Letter eight. Letter to the Department of Transportation reminding them that they also owed me for my filing fee which they later did not send. January 31, 2000

Correspondence
Parking Violations Bureau
City of Los Angeles
P.O. Box 30420
Los Angeles, CA 90030-0420

January 31, 2000

Dear Sir,

Regarding the enclosed. This is the third time I have been promised a refund within 30 days. First in late September, again when I won in court in mid December. This notice today, the last day in January. How long is 30 days?

I do hope the refund you intend to send includes both the original $40.00 fine and the $25.00 appeal filling fee which I am to receive if I win in count which I did. $65.00 total.

I have been severely punished for a mistake made by the city almost 8 months ago, I hope the city corrects its mistake soon.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson


Letter nine. Letter to the Department of Transportation telling them that they didn't send me the $25.00 filing fee to which I was entitled. March 19, 2000

City of Los Angeles
Bail Refund Account
221 N. Figueroa, Room 400
Los Angeles, CA 90012

March 19, 2000

Dear Sir,

I received my bail refund March 17, 2000. However, I am also entitled to a refund of my $25.00 filing fee. I paid a refundable appeal filing fee on November 10, 1999. On December 17, 1999, the case came to trial and the judge found in my favor. That means you owe me 25.00 to be refunded within 30 days of the trial. It has been over 90 days and I have only received a refund of the bail 2 days ago. I should have also received a refund of the filing fee over 60 days ago.

Citation # 781012444
Case # 99E10138

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson


Letter nine. Letter to the Mayor's office and my city council telling them that the Department of Transportation would not return my lawfully deserved refund for my filing fee. March 26, 2000

Mayor Richard Riordan
City Hall
200 North Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

March 26, 2000

Dear Mayor Riordan,
Councilman Hal Bernson
City Hall 237
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

March 26, 2000

Dear Councilman Hal Bernson,

I am writing to you on this matter for the sixth or seventh time because yet again, the city has chosen to violate my rights and do the wrong thing. I am again referring to the parking ticket I received last June. The appeal finally came to trial last December and again was dismissed. I paid a filing fee of $25.00 which was refundable if I won the appeal in court. I did win in court and was told I would received my refund within 30 days. After 90 days, I received a refund of the bail only - I did not receive the refund of the filing fee.

I received my bail refund March 17, 2000. However, I am also entitled to a refund of my $25.00 filing fee. I paid a refundable appeal filing fee on November 10, 1999. On December 17, 1999, the case came to trial and the judge found in my favor. I was to received a refund of the bail within 30 days, it's been over 90 days. I should have also received a refund of the filing fee over 60 days ago.

Citation # 781012444
Case # 99E10138

Let's review briefly:

When I first received this citation, everyone told me to "just pay it" even though I had committed no wrong. The reason is that it isn't worth all the time, expense, frustration, and effort to defend one's rights. I have made two trips to the court house, three days worth of time, countless hours of teeth grinding and lost sleep, driven over one hundred miles collecting my photographic evidence, spent $20.00 on photography, total expenses over $100.00, spent $25.00 on a appeal filing fee that is supposed to be refunded, all this over a $40.00 citation. A refund on a $40.00 citation after spending $25.00 to appeal is unacceptable.

I wonder how many other innocent people have "just paid it" when they were as wronged as I was. I believe the system is designed to be difficult, designed to discourage people from defending their rights. It's wrong and the city owes everyone an apology if not a refund.

Then on top of all this, as the city is extorting money from me, they are unwilling to pick up their toys. I am referring to the dozen or so abandoned and forgotten white plastic street maintenance barricades (Department of Public Works, Street Services ) that have been littering my neighborhood for months after the work has been completed. It seems obvious to me that the city is losing these things and extorting money from citizens like me to replace them. I have been unemployed for almost six months (and not collecting unemployment) and take my dog (who is slowly suffocating from a thyroid tumor in her neck and benefits from these long walks) on a daily long walk within a radius of about one and a half miles of my home. There is one barricade near Lassen and White Oak, there are two leaning against a utility pole near Kingsbury and Yarmouth, three on Etiwanda near Devonshire, and one at Superior and Etiwanda. There are more, but I forget the locations. Maybe I should collect these, remove the Los Angels name and sell them to recover the money the city stole from me. If the city can afford to loose so many barricades, they can afford to return my $25.00.

In a previous letter, I said I would stop my philanthropic contributions to four city owned cultural organizations. Since then I have received renewal notices from two of them and have told them why I am not renewing. I will tell the other two the same thing when their renewal notices arrive. This whole situation is wrong and unacceptable, and I will no longer support the city of Los Angeles.

Sincerely,

Kenneth A. Larson


Top Back Home
Web Design by Kenneth A. Larson Copyright © 2000 - 2017, Kenneth A. Larson. All Rights Reserved.
Website content including photographic and graphic images may not be redistributed for use on another website.

This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 09:31:42 EDT

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid CSS!