Now that the City of Los Angeles has thoroughly entangled nearly $500 of my labor in its pimp trap, I began my mission to get it back. The whole purpose of the street regulation they used to impound my car is to keep space clear for school busses to drop off and pick up students. However, there is no bus service for students during summer session. My first step was to prove there was no real purpose for this new summer enforcement. I woke up early the following Monday to make sure and document that my last 10 years of observation was correct. I hung out by the school 7:30am to 9:00am and then again from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Not only did they not have bus service, but not a single parent dropped their child off on either of the two blocks governed by these signs and both exit gates from the school to these streets were locked. In fact, a grand total of five students leaving the school even walked down either of the two streets after school let out. The following day I observed that parents with kids in summer school dropped off and picked up from the school parking lot off of Highland Ave.
Next I went into the school and made contact with the leadership. The receptionist gave me Vice Principal Samuel Dovlatian’s office number and I left a message. He called me back a few days later and informed me that Hollywood High School, in fact, does not have bus service during the summer school session. He was even nice enough to email me back so now I have it in writing. So it is an absolute fact that enforcing these signs during the summer had no constructive effect other than to put my hard-earned money in the City of Los Angeles’ pocketbook. I even caught a Parking Enforcement Officer seemingly about to tow a vehicle in the exact same spot my car was towed from. I tried to secretly film him as I walked past but when he spotted me, he got back in his car and left. It seems he knew what he was doing was wrong.
With my notions of a purposeless money grab confirmed, my next step was to contest the citation. I went to the Parking Violations Bureau’s office on Wilshire Boulevard, filled out their form and attached the LAUSD school calendar with the date I was towed circled in red. I also attached a letter with big bold print saying I would not be in town to request an in-person hearing within 21 days of a negative decision. I had a long planned trip coming up and knew it would interfere with my ability to keep up with their process regulations, namely that upon a negative determination, a person has just 21 days to request an in-person hearing or they forfeit their right.
My third step was to request a tow hearing, which is separate from the citation fighting process. The tow notice I received in the mail said to write or appear in person at the facility that impounded my car. I chose to appear in person so I went to the Department of Transportation facility at 411 N. Vermont Ave. The D.O.T. facility looks like a fortress with tons of intimidating signage and no apparent place to enter other than the vehicle ramp where city cars enter. Right next to this driveway is a huge sign that says “NO TRESSPASSING” along with the penal code indicating it is a crime. A person who has just had their car taken under the by people emphasizing that they didn’t read the signs properly would be overly diligent about reading signs and be intimidated from entering. Visions of being arrested for trying to request a tow hearing went through my head so I tried getting into a door next to the drive path but it just seemed to lead to a parking lot. Finally a Parking Enforcement Officer driving into the facility stopped and asked me what I was doing there. When I told her, she said I was in the wrong place and began explaining where I should actually be. When I explained that someone from D.O.T. instructed me to be there, she told me to walk up the forbidden ramp. When I got to the office, the staff was pleasant and professional. They facilitated the paperwork I needed and told me they’d contact me three weeks later. I informed them I would be out of town and they made note of it.
Unlike many Americans, I enjoy fighting the government. When you get bullied for so long, you embrace the lifestyle. It sort of like how kids turn into fighters when their parents beat them constantly. Perhaps I got it from ‘hood people’s philosophy towards bullying. Everyone knows that if you fight more-powerful bully, it’s unlikely they will continue messing with you. I figure if the City is going to take my money without purpose, they’ll at least have to fight me for it. My goal is to either win or make any pimp tickets a zero-or-negative net gain for the city. If all citizens did this, they wouldn’t ticket us so haphazardly. With all the seeds planted for my fight the City of LA’s attempted pimping, I left town.
Stay tuned for part 3 where go face to face with Hearing Examiner Silvia Vasquez