Parking Ticket Scam in Hollywood? Or Just Bad Luck?

imagesI’ve written about my frustration with our fine city’s parking control and the overpriced, frequently broken meters in Hollywood before.  But now, after my experience two mornings ago on Hollywood Blvd, I’m beginning to think that there is something more sinister going on.  Is it possible that parking control officers are giving tickets to cars parked legally, with the required amount of money in the meter for the time, figuring that people will just pay the $50 fine?  Is this a new fund-raising racket that’s on the down low in City Hall?

Because as we all know, paying a ticket is way easier than contesting a ticket.  It takes far far more time in frustration, just getting someone on the phone and sometimes going to a courthouse to physically contest it, than forking over your credit card.  It’s a no win situation and after one try at it, most people will just give up and pay the damn fifty bucks.  I know I did last time. After several fruitless tries, too much time on the phone, I gave up and paid.

But then, it happened again.  Monday, I stopped on Hollywood Blvd around 11:20 am.  I put in 8 quarters for 20 minutes… giving myself an extra 40 minutes.  I was gone 17 minutes.  When I returned I had a ticket.  Fifty bucks.  The ticket was issued seven minutes after I put in my money.  When I checked the meter, I still had lots of time left.  You can imagine my frustration.  It’s as if the city just wants to milk the public, good will be damned.  They know good and well that most people will just pay.  I immediately started down the road of thinking about how much time I was going to have to devote to this.

This time I don’t want to just give up and pay.  Yes, I will contact my council person (Thanks Eric Garcetti, for your offer last time to get in touch, I was working on a show and slammed, so after a phone call to parking control, I just paid).

But really.  What the hell is going on here?  Do these guys get bonuses for volume?  Do they check the meter at all before issuing tickets?  But most of all I was just disappointed.  What kind of city has LA turned into?   Grrrrrrr.

8 Replies to “Parking Ticket Scam in Hollywood? Or Just Bad Luck?”

  1. Be sure to double check (if you haven’t already) that the ticket is for your vehicle. People are known to pull a ticket off their car and put it on someone else’s thinking that the person might just pay it. I’m sure you checked but just in case…

    And speaking of parking enforcement conspiracy theories… Lately about 50 percent of the meters I pull up to say “Fail” on them. No exaggeration. So many that it seems like there might be something fishy about that too. I read a story online recently about someone that parked at a failed meter and somehow when they were in getting their coffee the thing magically re-set and they had a ticket when they got back. Hmmmm…..

  2. I’m sure I’m not the first to say this and I won’t be the last, but my street has “street sweeping” every Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to noon, and the Parking Violations cars hover like hyenas around a fresh kill starting at about 9:50.

    I’ll let you all guess as to when was the last time our street was actually swept.

  3. Pasadena is notorious for writing tickets before the meter expires. They don’t even have the courtesy to respond to letters questioning such a ticket. I got burned that way once, didn’t notice on the ticket until I was in the freeway that it was written for a time 20 minutes in the future. Parking tickets are big money makers for cities.

    Once burned is enough so now I either ride with friends when we go into Pasadena or we just don’t go into Old Town.

  4. Is it possible that parking control officers are giving tickets to cars parked legally, with the required amount of money in the meter for the time, figuring that people will just pay the $50 fine?

    Absolutely. There was a post/comment thread here a few years ago that was packed with stories about various BS tickets, including people getting tickets for expired meters in other parts of town that the one in which they were parked. Personally, I think it’s directly attributable to the fact that parking management is run by a subsidiary of the for-profit Lockheed megacorp rather than the city itself, but that’s probably just because I’m a paranoid left-winger.

    I’ll let you all guess as to when was the last time our street was actually swept.

    FWIW, both sides of our street are swept without fail because it wakes me up every Monday and Tuesday morning.

  5. Spencer, that’s no paranoia on your part. Lockheed ran the red light camera concession in DC, earning a % off each ticket (DC getting the rest), and either Lockheed or the City was then discovered to have shortened the yellow light time (“phase”) at the lights where they had installed cameras, risking the life of every area motorist, in order to cause more tickets.

  6. wow… Spencer & Matt.. I’ve heard about both of issues… seems impossible, but must be true. It just makes you feel so helpless as someone who actually tries and obeys the laws. And immensely irritated.

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