Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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By David Ganezer
Observer Publisher 

Publisher's Column

City Continues Trash Collection, Meter Maids on Veteran's Day


November 10, 2014

City Hall will be closed tight as a drum on Christmas, New Years, and especially MLK Day. However, the City's trash collectors continued to work on Veteran's Day. So did those denizens of the Cushman, the city's tireless ticket givers. I know, because I saw them both working last Tuesday, November 11, 2014. Rumor has it they get paid triple time to collect the trash on holidays.

Separately, this reporter can assure to you with absolute certainty that if you get more than five parking citations in a year (I get that many in a month), any California city can tow you off the street without further notice. I know this because it happened to me last month in Beverly Hills.

I was at the Beverly Hills Municipal Courthouse, to get an extension on a FixIt ticket which had gone to warrant. In late 2013, a CHP officer cited my vehicle for taillights not working, after stopping me on the 405. I paid the Toyota dealer to fix the problem, then went to the CHP in Culver City, where an officer said he couldn't sign me off because my citation "was not in the system." Apparently I was in the system, because the DMV suspended my license for not fixing the fix it ticket. Got that?

When I returned from the Courthouse fixing that disaster, a couple of dudes from the Beverly Hills Police Department were towing my vehicle from a legal parking space on Burton Way, right in front of the courthouse. I don't know that the City of Santa Monica is enforcing this statute by seizing and towing vehicles with 5 or more parking tickets, which is in fact under attack at the California Court of Appeal as unconstitutional.

I called all my friends and relatives to see who would pop the bail on my Prius. None of them would. So I took a deep breath and called my wife, and to her credit, she came and bailed out me and my ride.

The BHPD seized my drivers license, however. After all, it was suspended. "But I came to courthouse to pay the fine on that citation!" I said. My plea fell on deaf ears.

The BHPD officer who towed the vehicle, said "just between us, the City of Beverly Hills has a lot of money and a lot of staff. That ordinance might not be enforced in another town, but in Beverly Hills, frankly, we don't have enough to do."

We all know intuitively that it's just as bad in Santa Monica. I mean that the staff has nothing to do. The next time you see them rousting a drunk from the sidewalk, count carefully. You'll find there are six officers and a paramedic, all earning top notch salaries that you can only dream of. Which is why they have to give scofflaws like me six parking tickets a month, and chase me away from dumpster diving in the electronic recycling bin out behind affluent beach town's City Hall.

And we all know how important it is to get our trash picked up on a holiday. Surely we can all dig down, law-abiding citizens or not, and pay a few hefty parking tickets in order to make sure we can keep this crucial benefit.


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