The Pothole in My Pocket

So last week I spent over $100 on parking tickets for parking on my own street. I got one ticket for parking when there was street cleaning (which incidentally never came) and one for parking in the red. About 7 inches in the red, to be exact. If you live anywhere in Hollywood or where there just isn’t enough space to park then you probably understand how I feel right now. But I guess it was my fault for not smashing the bumper of the car in front of me to save those 7 inches. I mean, I guess I could have parked on Lexington, but then again, I like my car stereo, so…

The real problem I have with this situation is that even though I and everyone I know pays hundreds of dollars each year to the parking gods I still have enough pot holes on my street to literally knock off my hub caps and shake me ruthlessly every time I drive home. So my question is this: where the F*@c does all that money go? I mean, I understand that LA is a big city, but it’s not like I live in the ghetto. I live on the corner of Fountain and La Brea (welcome, stalkers!) which is a pretty heavily traveled area, yet the streets there are absolutely wrecked! I mean, does all this money just go to paying the salaries (salaries, yeah right!) of the people who ticket poor Hollywood residents? If so, I say we just do away with the whole process. I mean, it’s bad enough that I pay taxes for the roads and have to deal with this crap, but then to realize that I’m paying even more money for getting in the way of a non existent street sweeper and STILL having horrible roads just makes me want to scream! Anybody with me on this?

11 Replies to “The Pothole in My Pocket”

  1. I’m certainly not savvy in regards to how the revenue generated from paid parking fines is dispursed, but it would be my guess that since potholes are repaired by the city’s Bureau of Street Services and parking is enforced by the Parking Violations Bureau, the monies generated by the latter. agency aren’t seen by the former.

  2. i drive past la brea and fountain on my way to work, and i can attest to the crappy pot holes in the area (and the rest of hollywood, silver lake, los feliz, etc). there’s a killer one on fountain just east of highland, and a bunch of generally poor conditions up and down la brea, although i’m sure that’s not news to you.

    as for your ticket, you can try to contest it, although i’m not sure if its worth the effort. a friend of mine contested a bunch of her parking tickets and won just the other month, so who knows.

  3. It is the Bureau of Street Services, not the Department of Transportation, that fixes potholes. Call 311 from the road or call our office at 323 913 4693

    As for the city budget, the award-winning presentation (yes, apparently there are awards for budget presentation and we have won nationally five years running) is on-line at http://www.lacity.org/cao/budget2004-05/Proposed_04-05_Budget.pdf
    (this was last year’s proposed budget–we changed the final budget in council deliberations). It is pretty fascinating, actually. The city budget is about $3 billion in departmental funding and about $2 billion in other funding (paying off bonds, money we get from the state, etc.). The easiest way to think about the budget is that for every dollar we get in revenue, we spend about 47 cents on the police department, another 19 cents or so on fire and paramedic and 911 services, about 15 cents on public works (the bureau of street services fixes roads and potholes and gets about 4 cents of that dollar), and 19 cents on ALL the rest (libraries, parks, cultural affairs–this one gets about a tenth of a cent of every dollar–aging, zoo, neighborhood councils, youth programs, etc.).

    In reverse, to get that 1 dollar of revenue, we get about 13 cents from property taxes, 11 cents from the utility users’ tax, 8 cents from licenses, permits and fees, 7 cents from sales tax, 7 cents from business tax, 4 cents from the state motor vehicle fee (car tax–down significantly since the state cut this in half. Many folks don’t realize that this is a local tax, and that until the passage of Prop 1A the state cut it and took what was left from us more or less), and so on. I think that parking tickets are part of the $114 million (about 2 cents of the dollar) collected under “municipal court fines”.

    For this, you get about 35,500 employees (down from the peak of about 36,000 a few years ago)–though in reality, the budget situation in Sacramento meant that thousands of these “authorized” positions are vacant and part of a hiring freeze to squeeze more out of the city in these tough times (people are working very hard shifts in general, from cops to pothole-fillers).

    And for the potholes, do call us if you are in the 13th District or driving through it (anyone can call 311 for any part of the city). If you don’t know your council district, go to http://www.lacity.org and type your address in the “my neighborhood” box. And the pothole crews are really working around the clock with the unprecedented rains. I called about the massive pothole just north of the 101 on Silver Lake Blvd. about a month ago (I gave my name just as “Eric”, not as a councilmember), and it was fixed three hours later when I drove by it again. In normal times, we get a 24-48 hour turnaround (especially if you can tell them that it is a big one), but that is a few days behind due to the rains and due to understaffing in these lean budget times.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Uh… I live in the “ghetto” and don’t have to worry about getting my car broken into… LaBrea and Fountain? Not exactly Beverly Hills.

  5. Amen. The streets are a f’ing mess! I live just south of there, and driving between home and Culver City, I had a rock from a pothole put a hole in my oil pan, thrashing my engine in 30 seconds flat. Thank you City! Fix the friggen streets!

  6. I HATE, Loath & despise POTHOLES!!
    I loved Pasadena, the streets are pretty smooth there.
    Now that I live in an area where there is grafitti, occassional gunshots, old toilets on the curb, not to mention dead mattresses, & POTHOLES I begin to wonder where any of my tax payer dollars are going.
    When I see road work happening, I say “Ah, I see my tax dollars are at work.”
    I drive a vintage “sleeper”, & I just have to accept that every 6 months I get the brakes & axle readjusted/replaced.
    Those potholes RIP UP all the workings of my wheels.
    When I see a pothole I get all tense & brace myself for the big bang. Usually it’s the right front tire taking the beating.
    (and no, the $150 shocks I have make no difference)
    Anyway, it’s all still cheaper than owning a newer car…but let’s not get into the insurance aspect – my insurance doubled when I moved to this area from Pasadena – because my congested, POTHOLED neighborhood has the most cases of claims in all of LA County.
    Well, at least it’s cooler (?)

  7. Anyone have experience contesting a parking ticket in Santa Monica? I received a ticket this weekend for being parked too far from the curb and being over the white “hash line” which I take to mean the bike lane. I was a bit far away from the curb (late for a meeting!) but I was certainly not in the bike lane, I made sure of it. Alas, I did not have any high-tech accessories at the time such as a camera phone to save myself. Can I still contest this?

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