Yeah, that's the ticket.

Let's talk about parking tickets, shall we?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Verify This!

There are all kinds of signs in our city. Most of them just sit there year in and year out and nobody ever seems to read them. Maybe they take them for granted like they do their spouse (But I digress, and rather well, I think). No, there is another type of sign that now and again makes an appearance. Yes, I'm talking (writing, actually) about the Temporary No Parking signs. You've all seen, I'm sure, those red and white beauties. These allow us to cite you AND to tow you away so read them please, because some of my colleagues live for this.

The local economy must be doing okay because lately The Desk has been sending a lot of us to "verify" that they are indeed there (the signs not the folks who sit at The Desk), and that they are filled out correctly (the folks who sit at The Desk are also pretty filled out but I will not cast aspersions on them. They have a hard job.) So, we copy down all the info we are given and off we zoom (read: slog) to the location or locations. You are lucky if there is only one location and only two, three or four signs. I've been sent to long stretches of road to verify over a hundred signs when there is some big event that needs the parking space there. And don't get me started on the parade route when that comes around!

I realize now that I need one of those clicker counters that people who work the door of various venues have. It would be much easier than trying to count the number out loud - there's so many distractions like the police radio, the radio radio, the people stopping you to ask inane questions, you get the idea.

Then, you have another problem: when The Desk tells you one thing and the signs say another. Or, they are not filled out correctly or completely. Or they are not placed properly on cones, delineaters, sign poles or telephone poles or even trees. No, sometimes the people posting them think it's okay to put them on the wall or the fence of their business, you know, where the parker won't notice them! I actually saw one recently on the handrail of the stairs leading into the building! You might see it if you were inclined to park right there on the sidewalk but otherwise, forget it!

So, sometimes we have to go back and re-verify them when they are corrected. It's such a waste of time. I'd like to quit all this nonsense. Maybe I should take all this as sign.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


The title of this post is NOT about what some of you are thinking about (those of you who troll the Internet looking for salacious material [Hello Anthony, I'm talking to you! Dummy.]). Besides, if it were, there would be an ampersand (&) between the letters. No, a T.A. refers to what the police call a Traffic Accident. The police respond to many of these on a daily basis, this being the Los Angeles area and people are constantly being distracted by a cell phone call, a text, or a pretty girl or guy walking on the sidewalk in a skimpy outfit (okay, that's as salacious as this is going to get). But we Parking types don't really respond to T.A.s unless we need to block a street or help direct traffic around the incident.

The reason I'm writing about this today is, the other day I was the first one on the scene at a pretty bad T.A. that happened right by the police station. Here's what happened: I was heading in to end my work day when I turned up the street and noticed people trying to get my attention and pointing up the street. Usually when people point at me they are using one specific finger, but this time they seemed to be trying to tell me something. I got further up the block and saw just what it was. A car had obviously been t-boned in the intersection and the young lady was still in the vehicle, which was now pulled onto the side street, the one I was on. I pulled over and jumped out of my city vehicle and immediately got on the police radio. I called in and asked them if they had a report on the accident. They said no. I told them about it and that I was checking for injuries. Then I got closer to the girl. She was badly shaken up, had cuts on her face and head, and there was blood.

Now, I like scary movies but not bloody ones. I got a little shaken up myself but I held my composure in order to help her. I asked her if she needed a paramedic. Her answer caught me by surprise. "Do I have to pay for it?" This is what our country has come to folks. I don't mean to get political here but this is telling. I told her, "I wouldn't worry about money right now. Let's worry about your health." I got back on the radio and called for paramedics, I called in the license plates of the two vehicles involved (the cops need this in case one of the parties is wanted), and I called for the tow company the city uses to clean up the intersection of all the debris (glass, metal and plastic that other cars were now driving over).

I tried to keep the young lady calm while she called her father and told him, through sobs and tears, about the accident. Her boyfriend, who was unharmed, then told me what had happened: they had swung wide in the intersection to make a u-turn and the pick-up behind them kept coming (obviously at a pretty good clip) and smashed into them. Then he asked me if it was illegal to make the u-turn there. It wasn't but one of our motorcycle officer told him that all parties in that situation have the responsibility to be safe about it. The other driver, the one with the large pick-up, was unharmed as well. The cops were speaking with him. The paramedics and a firetruck arrived, the tow truck was there and the tow truck driver was out sweeping up. The intersection got jammed with cars and the sidewalk with on-lookers. It was a mess. One of the officers directed traffic and they told me I could go, without so much as a thanks or a "good job." As I said, it's routine for the officers but not for us. Certainly not for me. And blood does bother me, mine or other people's. But, it all goes with the job.

I am part of what they call the "First Responders." I like it better when they say "Everyday Heroes." I don't ever feel heroic on my job, believe me, but that day, I kinda did.