Follow the money. It leads to the Parking Violations Bureau.

As happens about once every three months, I had an annoying and pointless run-in with a parking enforcement officer last night that left me steaming. I know everybody complains about the parking enforcement in their city, but I’ve been around a bit and trust me, L.A.’s sucks 2 tha X-Treme. I got a ticket a few weeks ago that was $65! Are you kidding me?! Fortunately for me, I could afford to pay it. But there are a lot of people in this city that can’t. Over the long term, don’t you earn more money if you ticket people an amount they can actually pay instead of an amount that makes them just ignore the ticket?

Anyway, I’m mad enough that the work is contracted out to a private companyó Lockeed Martin no lessóbut I also read something recently that implied that officers receive a commission on the tickets that they write. Jason suggested the same thing in reply to one of joz’s posts recently (although I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not). Does anybody have any empirical evidence that there is a reward system or quota for tickets given? I’m getting worked up to complain to my city councilperson, but I need ammunition.

11 Replies to “Follow the money. It leads to the Parking Violations Bureau.”

  1. Not to be a menace, or over-obvious, but perhaps, watching where you park, might help your situation. Or, Oh My God — Public transportation, oh the thought!!!

  2. I checked with the Department of Transportation about commissions, and out of curiousity, whether there are quotas as well. Neither is in fact the case (although there are “benchmarks”.) From a DOT management analyst:

    “The City of Los Angeles does not have parking citation issuance quotas . There are benchmarks for certain areas based upon historical issuance, business activity and violation rates. The Department’s policy regarding issuance is to issue tickets based upon violations only. This is true in all areas of Los Angeles.

    “The Department of Transportation does not issue any commissions or financial incentives to parking enforcement personnel based on issuance or other performance measures. I am not aware of any local municipality that uses commissions type payment for parking citation issuance. I believe it is not in the best interests of the City to have such a policy as the perception would be extremely negative.”

    Best,

    Josh Kamensky
    Communications Deputy
    Councilmember Eric Garcetti

  3. thank you, thank you, thank you Josh (and by extension Councilmember Garcetti) for keeping up with this blog and being visible…

  4. That is super awesome and helpful information, Josh! Thanks so much for looking into it. I’m glad to know the truth.

  5. Good to know. They still suck ass though. And the city is raising the rate at the garage I park at from $55 a month to $75 a month starting in August. The city will find one way or another to fuck it’s people… Hey Josh, didn’t I talk to you about using one of my photos on the Councilmember’s site a year or so ago? The one I took of them building the mall at Hollywood and Highland? Thanks for stopping by by the way!

  6. I wasn’t joking before about the comissions. I was told that by a few people in West Hollywood when I worked there back in 97. But I was fresh in from the midwest so it may have been “fuck with the country boy” day at the office.

  7. I thought parking tickets were meant to act as a deterrent? Shouldn’t they be a little difficult to afford?

    The alternative would be, park anywhere you damn well please, but don’t go complaining when the traffic congestion gets unbearable, because nobody’s dealing with illegally parked cars.

    I would agree it sucks major big time when you’re ticketed for having parked correctly.

  8. I wonder what they would say about speeding ticket quotas…?

    The whole “quota” versus “benchmark” distinction sounds a little iffy to me too.

  9. As a frequent patron of the ‘Fat and Cheap Comedy Traffic School’ (which, little surprise, is not fat, cheap, nor comedic!) the various police divisions in los angeles (LAPD, Sheriffs Dept, CHPrs, et al) do not have ‘quotas’ but rather ‘Performance Standards.’ Bullshit’s bullshit – they’re the same goddamn thing with a different name – both mean the exact same thing. I’m sure this applies for the Parking Enforcement assholes. Here’s my problem – i dont see how these minimun wage lackeys get such a kick out of their job. I understand the need to keep your job, but how many times have we all seen someone arguing with a Parking guy over being a minute late to the meter? In every case I’ve seen where a person is walking up to the car right as the Parking Enforcement guy is getting there, the PE guy has to get an extra big ‘fuck you pal’ smile on his face to write up the ticket. And the guys who lurk downtown, and stand by a meter for five minutes waiting for it to hit zero, already with all of your info in typed in so they can print out the ticket and make your day suck a little more… complete rubbish. WeHo is by far the worst – getting tickets for not turning your wheels in on a flat street, or for parking in front of a building/house at 3am is rediculous. Oh, yeah, try parking on USCs campus sometime – even with the superduper solid gold parking pass that I had to sell a kidney for, there is still a tome of restrictions, and plenty of 24 hr meters that give you 6 minutes per Quarter. Yeah, that makes hitting the library at 4am just a lil more peachy than it already was!

  10. A meter maid rakes in top dollar but not this GUY!

    Free Ticket Violation note!

    Welcome to the Enchanted Parking Enforcement Fairy of Merry West Hollywood. As the Good Fairy travels Down Sunset Blvd, he leaves little notes on the cars instead of tickets. WOW, what a pleasant and unexpected surprise! In his notes, he explains what the violation is and what the ticket would be for, if he had given it. Most people suspect that parking ticket officers get a commission on the tickets they write, I doubt it, they would be working a lot harder

    Wondering whatís wrong with the system? To discover the inevitable truth about parking enforcement and their ticket practices, you would have to start a career there. See first hand the ugly behavior of the people who donít think they deserve a ticket. Name Dropping is the best way to get out of a ticket ( who do you know in City Hall.)

    We know that parking enforcement is an unpopular, under-appreciated job but the city should at least demand that the contracting company fix the cars. No doubt there is room for improvement in the City of West Hollywood. The Parking Enforcement cars are an eyesore in the community of decorators and design divas. The vehicles look like bumper cars from Disneyland with all the body damage and parts hanging off. No, on second thought, Disneyland maintains their cars.

    The company probably makes the employees buy their own uniforms. Donít they look like gas station attendants from the fifties? From our observation weíre assuming there is no dress code, or maybe, sloppy Fridays, whatever you want Saturdays and, oh who cares Sunday through Thursday.

    We have put in a request at some of the News Stations asking that they do a story on the West Hollywood City Parking Enforcement Department. Hope fully they can expose the ridiculous methods used in ticketing. They could also have a hay day with the people who feel victimized by the efficiency of some of the cityís ticketing officers. Heck, it would make a great Sitcom. The illegal parking and irate individuals who feel ìthe rules donít to apply meî mentality is hysterically unbelievable.

    Maybe itís time for the city to upgrade and have a professional Parking Enforcement run from the city instead of contractors! Come on, take pride in your city.

    Lets Hope the City of West Hollywood has some positive changes in 2006

    And those humans are inevitably replaced with machines

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  11. Commissions have been used in Santa Monica to generate extra revenue when needed. How often, or what cities are using this strategy is hard to say. And if the city isn’t doing it, are the private contractors handling parking enforcement for the city doing it? Some of us deserve the tickets we get, but we all have been screwed by an overly aggressive system of parking/moving violation enforcement used to generate money for the city, which is technically what are taxes are for, aren’t they?

    Check this story, meter maid made 1.5 million in commissions!
    http://www.lalatimes.com/newsfea/me_2_metergross.php

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