I knew was going to get a ticket. But I did it anyway. After searching and searching for parking, I found a spot with a meter. Grabbed 75 cents and noticed the meter was flashing "FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL." Well, that's not going to work and it is unlikely I'll be able to stay here safely. A number on the meter says to call LADOT and report it. As I do my civic duty, why not ask if I can still park there legally or not. Operator 006 - Helda - picks up as I see a parking enforcement officer drive by and get distracted to talk to her as she pulls over. I ask her if I can park at the failed meter. She says with a sneaky smile and half-laugh, "You've got two hours."I never ended up winning that ticket. My letter contesting the ticket stated DOT operator 006's reporting of the broken meter, my conversation with the Parking Enforcement Officer, and the contractor, who was a witness, with his private phone number. With two City of Los Angeles employees telling me I could park there and one witness, I was pretty confident I could win this case. That was until I was floored by this letter in response:
"You're smiling, are you tricking me?"
"No Sir, you've got two hours."
"Okay, two hours. I will be out in a hour. Don't you ticket me."
"You've got two hours," as she kept on smiling and drove away.
Back on the phone, "Did you say she was smiling as she told you that?...I wouldn't trust her," Helda said with confidence.
PAUSE - Hold on, why is one City of Los Angeles employee telling me not to trust another City of Los Angeles Employee? - UNPAUSE
"But I just reported the meter broken in my records. You can contest it if you get a ticket, I'm operator 006."
"Thanks." Click. I walk into La Frite in Sherman Oaks to a meeting.
"I bet they ticketed me," I murmured to my boss as we walk out. "They did! They did!!!" A contractor doing work on the sidewalk who saw me earlier came to me as a witness and gave me his name and number... I am going to win this ticket.
WE HAVE CONDUCTED AN ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION REGARDING THE CITATION LISTED BELOW. OUR INVESTIGATION INCLUDED A REVIEW OF THE METER REPAIR HISTORY AND, IF INDICATED, A FIELD TEST OF THE METER. THE INVESTIGATION HAS CONCLUDED THAT THE METER WAS FUNCTIONING PROPERLY. THEREFORE, THE CITATION IS CONSIDERED VALID.I never ended up going through the hearing process because I lived in Castaic at the time and I was busy with travel for work(even if I could have sent in a written declaration). And why go through the process again after having some pretty solid evidence? I was extremely disappointed with the City of Los Angeles in regards to parking enforcement (sometime I will talk about my other bogus parking ticket dealing with unreadable Preferential Parking District signs because of graffiti.)
I do admit that when I came out of the restaurant, the meter was magically working. Whether someone came out and fixed it or some glitch in the computer system made it work, the officer writing the ticket was not at fault (I did confirm with the eye witness contractor that the officer writing the ticket was a male, not the female who I had spoken to in person).
However, I am disappointed that whoever reviewed my letter contesting the ticket did not take the time to call a fellow city employee (in the same department) who allowed me to park there and/or call an eyewitness to a Parking Enforcement Officer allowing me to park there. I believe in parking enforcement and I believe in the process. But when there is this much blatant doubt and evidence, shouldn't the stakeholder be innocent here?