Dear Editor: Mission Impossible: contesting a parking citation in Downey.
Designed to ensure no revenue loss a long time ago. No blame on present council members for this fiasco. I tried for several months jumping through hoops, from May to September, all to no avail.
Received citation – no parking during certain hours – on May 24, 2014, a Memorial Day Saturday holiday weekend – at east side of 7-lane, extra-wide Paramount Boulevard, between De Palma and Cleta streets, adjacent to Warren High School swap meet.
Same day, went to Downey Police Station to secure form to contest cite. No personnel at reception desk, waited 15 minutes, then left. Returned May 26, spoke to Sgt. Miller, who told me no form there to contest cite, to write a letter to processing center in Huntington Beach.
Went to traffic bureau, second floor City Hall, gentleman clerk told me no form was available. Went home, wrote 3-page, hand-written letter stating my reasons for contesting cite. About a month later, reply came from Huntington Beach – denied, citation upheld.
Went back to Downey PD for a denial form, spoke with Sgt. Laughner, who said no such form available there or at window panel to right of reception desk, and to again write a letter contesting the denial to the processing center. He sympathized with me because he was going through the hoops to contest a parking cite he got in L.A. Went again to traffic bureau to see if they had a denial contesting form, no form available there. He said PTA benefits from swap meet revenue. Told me to see Melissa, who had just gone to lunch. Called her the next day, she said they do have a form, and she would mail it out to me. Wow, how about that! She seems to be one of the very few that knows what’s going on in matters such as this.
Filled form out, again giving reasons for contesting, checked place for a person-to-person administrative hearing on the form, sent my fine check to Newport Beach. About a month later, got a reply back: citation upheld.
Sometime in August, I went to see Adria, third floor City Hall, for some stats about cites at crime scene on Paramount “Sacred Ground” Boulevard under the Freedom of Information Act. A couple of weeks later, got a letter stating that there were only nine citations given out of the 100 Saturdays there. Interesting, huh.
I was prepared to go to court to further fight this cite, which I thought was unfair and unjust, until I read the kicker: the court was in L.A. and no way was I going to spend my life going there. You would think reasonably that all vehicle matters would be adjudicated in the local jurisdiction, not in Timbuktu.
My reasons for contesting cite was that in all the two years the swap meet operated there, I have never seen any vehicles cited there or on De Palma, so it appeared they were not enforcing in a constant and consistent manner, until the Memorial Day weekend when most cities do not overly and aggressively enforce parking problems. Never seen a cite of De Palma either, even at a fire plug.
True justice in this matter would be to quash all those cites given on that day and refund their fines. It’s not the money -- $38 – it’s the principle of fairness and right. There is no sign there that states no parking at certain hours, just no parking at any time. Paramount Boulevard from north to south allows parking on both east and west sides, why not this sacred spot?
Published: Sept. 25, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 24