Part I – The Attack
As readers of my blog know (see Parking Bureau Commits Violations) I discovered, three months after the fact, that I had been issued a “stealth parking ticket” of which I had been completely unaware. Once I became aware of it, the Parking Bureau attacked in force, and only after I banged on doors till my hands were bloody was I finally able to appeal.
The following letter is that first written appeal, which takes you through our wonderful government’s illegal activities, no due process or right to know the charges against you, we’ll just steal your car and let you guess the reason why!
708 S. Mariposa Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
May 10, 2012
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am contesting citation 1086679005. I got two letters from the Parking Bureau on this, one giving me a hearing date of May 31 in Van Nuys and one offering trial by written declaration. I am choosing the second option, for which I present the following material.
There is an interesting paper trail from this case, and I have attached copies of all of it. Let me take you through the case with the following timeline.
1.December 4, 2011: I did not receive a parking ticket. Not having received a ticket (call me crazy!) I did not contest a ticket!
2.March 3, 2012: I went to the nearest Parking Bureau, on Wilshire two blocks east of Normandie, to protest the fact that I was still getting letters demanding payment on a previous parking ticket I had contested and won. When I told this to the young lady at the window, she looked up my case and found that the ticket was still open, even though I had won in court—and then she dropped the bomb, “Do you know you have another ticket?” I was shocked, needless to say. I told her I had no idea, had received no notification, and asked her what I should do. She gave me two forms to fill out to contest both the one I had already won, and the one I didn’t know I had—wonderful situation, yes? These are enclosed. The copies are hard to read, but you can clearly make out the word “NEVER” in all caps referring to the present ticket, as in I never received it, never knew of it, was never informed of it.
As for the first ticket, that was finally taken off, but as for this one …
3.March 9, 2012: Parking Bureau sends out a form letter, saying I can’t contest ticket as I didn’t contest it within 21 days—COMPLETELY IGNORING the fact that I didn’t even know of the ticket until three months later, as I had stated, and still didn’t know what the ticket was for.
I immediately wrote a response on the Bureau’s letter, noting that I contested the ticket the first day I became aware of it (copies of all these are enclosed).
March 16, 2012: I receive another of the same form letters, COMPLETELY IGNORING my previous letter, and saying I can’t appeal because 21 days have passed, even though I appealed immediately once I learned of the ticket.
March 22, 2012: I wrote a careful and legal response to the Parking Bureau in a four page letter listing all the facts of the case (note at this time I still didn’t know what I had been charged with, as that information had never been included in the letters I was receiving). I wrote to Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, to Steve Lopez of the LA Times, and I posted my letter and an account of the struggle thus far on my blog, TimothyTaylorArtist.com. My account attracted great interest, as it turns out many people have been victimized by these “stealth tickets” which seem almost impossible to fight—you don’t know what you’re charged with, but you’re not allowed to contest it!
March 27, 2012: The Parking Bureau sent another letter, which, you guessed it, COMPLETELY IGNORED my four page letter, my previous letters, etc. and threatened to impound my vehicle and deny my car registration. They haven’t stolen my car yet (I park in a garage) but they have carried out the threat to cancel my registration. According to the DMV (see copy) I can’t renew my registration unless I pay this $185 parking ticket (I remind you, at this point, I still didn’t know what the ticket was for).
April 7, 2012: I wrote a follow up letter, sure that it would be ignored, and it was.
However, a few days later, I did receive an undated letter from the city of Los Angeles (see copy) which contains the following astonishing lie: “Despite repeated notices from us, you have not responded” !!!!! NOT RESPONDED! As you see, I have been nothing if not diligent in my responses. Furthermore, while the many letters from the parking bureau ignore the content of my letters, they do acknowledge receiving them, so there is no excuse for this egregious falsehood.
Nonetheless, there was one good thing about this last letter: at long last, for the first and only time, I was informed of what the ticket was for: No parking on Mariposa south of 8th St. I have NEVER even driven on Mariposa south of 8th St., as I will explain a bit later, but first, let me continue the story.
Armed with this information, I took a day off and went to the court off Santa Monica Blvd. where I had previously won against the other ticket. They said they couldn’t do anything, and referred me to the Beverly Hills Courthouse. I went there, and they said they could do nothing but referred me to the original Parking Bureau office where I had discovered the ticket. I went there, and a young man named Blake said there was nothing they could do, but gave me a number to call.
I called the number, and an honest Parking Bureau employee (I found one!) said that he would put it in, and I would be found guilty automatically, but then I would at least have a way to appeal!
I thanked him profusely, and indeed I was immediately found guilty of parking on a street I’ve never even driven on, and so I finally got the chance to appeal, which is what I am doing right now.
So here we are: As noted, I never received any ticket. I am alleged to have parked on Mariposa South of 8th St. I NEVER drive or park there. Why? I pay $95/month to park in the Standard Parking garage, the door of which is one half a block (at Seventh and Normandie) from where I live. I would never chance street parking two blocks away. Furthermore, I never drive or park south of 8th St. since 8th St. is the border between Koreatown, where I live, and the Spanish area below. Nothing against Spanish people, but I don’t speak Spanish, have no business there, and would never even look for parking in that incredibly densely populated area when I have safe parking ½ block away.
As far as I can see, the ticket never existed—it was certainly never placed on my car, and my car was never in the place where the violation allegedly occurred.
Please dismiss this ticket!
I got quite a quick response to this from one S. Krieger. This “Hearing Examiner” who, I understand in this rigged system, works for the parking bureau, needless to say found me guilty. I’m not going to retype all the pathetic ravings of this parking fool, or parking tool, but I’ll put in the low points. It wasn’t enough for the supercilious S. Krieger to find me guilty of something I never did, but he (or she, we know now that evil comes in two genders!) went the extra mile by embroidering his lies with personal invective!
So the senseless S. Krieger writes: “a complete citation establishes the facts listed upon it” (!!). In other words, a traffic cop can make up anything he wants on a citation, and what he makes up becomes “fact!”
Referring to the fact that I wasn’t aware of the citation for three months, the secret agent S. Krieger states that I “received a notice dated 12/28”—what a secret agent! Apparently, while wearing a trench coat and smoking a cigarette, S. Krieger spotted me receiving this notice … when as I stated under oath, I never received such a notice.
The smarmy S. Krieger goes on to “advise me” to “carefully read further notices!”
Finally, needless to say, SS style S. Krieger finds me guilty, dismissing my entire four page letter above full of compelling evidence with the single line that my case is “supported only by thinly veiled racist comments.”
I hit the roof at this one!! Racist? The scum S. Krieger is screwing me over on a parking ticket but takes time to call me a racist which I most assuredly am not! My good chess friend Carlos Garcia and my occasional employer Danny Alvira would be quite surprised to hear that! Apparently my line in my letter that I have “nothing against Spanish people” means, in S. Krieger’s opposite land, that I am a racist!
So the slimy S. Krieger ordered me to pay the full $185.
Part II – Proof and Resolution
The only good thing about the S. Krieger sleaze fest was that there are instructions after the letter to appeal to a regular (that is, not parking) court and of course I did so; I paid my $25.00 and filed at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, and got a hearing date of July 10, 2012 at the West Los Angeles Court on Purdue St.
This presented a problem. The case had gone on so long now that my car registration was due in June and the hearing—where I was sure to be exonerated—was in July! To register the car in a timely manner would require me to pay the $185 for something I had never done!
In this way the Parking Bureau essentially extorts motorists to pay up.
In my case, my wife and I were having financial difficulties at this time, and paying registration plus insurance plus fake ticket was all too much. So we were forced to sell the car, and our family of four has been on the bus ever since. The Parking Bureau is not completely responsible for this, but they certainly played a significant role.
Finally the big day comes: I will be heard in court! I take the long bus ride: the 720 from Koreatown to Santa Monica Blvd, then the 704 to Barrington, from where I will walk back up to Purdue. I go over and over my case, convinced it is airtight. I look over slanted S. Krieger’s letter one more time, and notice that a copy of the original parking ticket is attached. I had glanced at this before, but having plenty of time on the bus, I decided to read it closely—and there was proof, right on the original ticket, which I never received.
I noticed first that this was a regular LAPD ticket, not a brownshirt ticket. Then I saw the license plate was mine, but knowing I had never parked there, I knew that was wrong, and had long suspected some kind of driveaway situation. And then, there it was: finally proof.
I know the first thing city cops look at is the registration date, in the hopes of catching someone with an expired registration, which is an expensive ticket—I know, I got one (a legitimate ticket in that case, though still painful) and right there, clearly written on the original ticket, was the registration renewal date: 4/12. That is, April 2012.
But my registration date was June 2012.
Suddenly everything fell into place. The cop pulls up behind a car, checks the registration—and the driver of the car, knowing he’s parked illegally, peels out. The cop quick writes the license plate, and gets one or more numbers wrong. Voila! My nightmare commences.
Now, a few blocks from the courthouse, I finally had the proof of what I always knew: it wasn’t my car.
I mentally added this new and convincing wrinkle to my case, and sat down in the courthouse to wait—a long wait. Moving violations were done before parking, so it was about three hours before the former were done.
The judge then took a recess to review the parking appeals.
We were then called back, and the judge called my name first. And so, on July 10, 2012, more than eight months after the stealth ticket was issued, the issue was resolved: in thirty seconds.
I can remember what the judge said, and my responses, almost verbatim, as it was all so short. I never had to present my case, as it turns out.
I wrote the words down right after, and just now said them aloud while watching the sweep second hand of my clock—yes, just about half a minute.
Here is the exchange:
Judge: I have reviewed your case, and there is nothing in the record to indicate that you ever received this ticket, or that the ticket was meant for you. Therefore I am reversing the verdict.
Me: Thank you, Your Honor.
Judge: Have you paid any fees?
Me: Yes, I have, $25,00 filing fee to contest the case.
Judge: That money will be returned to you—Next!
Thirty seconds to end months of hell. And what if, during the bogus ticket time, my car had been stolen by the city? What recourse would I have had then?
Easy answer: nothing.
But in this case, despite months of aggravation, constant writing and copying of letters, anxiety over the possibility my car would be towed, spurious claims by S. Krieger—justice finally prevailed: It was over.
I kicked S. Krieger’s butt! I won! The judge was as good as her word, and I got my twenty-five dollars back!
I felt some small satisfaction—but if you think the story ends here, you don’t live in L.A.
Part III: Horror
There is a certain kind of seventies horror film that starts like this: a phone rings, and a girl sleepily reaches for it in the early morning hours. A voice on the phone invites her on an adventure to a mysterious island, or a haunted chateau—the girl is excited and agrees and goes on the adventure—
Which turns out to be pure horror, as all her friends and co-adventurers are killed, and she finally staggers back home, blood stained and weary, and collapses on her bed—but that’s not the end of the film!
After a blackout, one hears the sound of a phone ringing, then in gray light, the girl sleepily reaches for it—and the same unseen voice invites her to the same mysterious adventure …
Roll credits, as one wonders if the whole main story of the movie, the horror, was all a nightmare …
So there I was, minding my own business, planning on writing a victory parking blog, when … cue sinister music … I received in the mail a notice from the Parking Bureau. I opened it with trepidation. It was dated, Aug. 8, 2012, that is, over a month past my court date when I was completely vindicated.
You can see it below, but let me tell you what I saw first—in blood red capital letters: FINAL WARNING.
An unspeakable sense of Poe like horror descended on me but just to make sure, I checked the original ticket. It was the same citation number.
For some bizarre insanity known only to the Parking Bureau, it was the same ticket, numerically, but had a different amount–$80.00, not $185—but it ordered me to pay this $80 immediately, or face dire consequences.
I know now the horror will always be with me … I knew what I had to do, and like a zombie, I did it. I made copies. I wrote my defense, noting that I had already been cleared of this trash ticket.
I went to the Parking Bureau. The same nice girl, Berenice (I’m going to know all these people by name eventually) told me I had to fill out a form to contest it—and I did, and I filed it then and there.
You don’t have to know your horror movies to know what will happen next; I will protest fruitlessly. Double jeopardy, anyone?
Finally S. Krieger or one of his ilk will find me guilty again of what I have already been cleared of doing.
I will pay $25.00, appeal and go to court.
The judge will throw the case out in exasperation in thirty seconds, citing double jeopardy.
I’ll get my $25.00 back and then …
One day in the future, another letter will come, blood red and all caps …