Want 'special attention' for L.A. parking tickets? Get a 'Gold Card'
Forget the Platinum Card. Most Angelenos would rather have access to the "Gold Card."
The plastic parking bureau "Gold Card" has been distributed to city offices and includes a special phone number. The obscure Gold Card Services Desk allowed the mayor and other elected officials to expedite citation reviews.
On the back side, the card notes that the holder may have an "urgent need to resolve any parking citation matter which requires special attention." It promises "you will be immediately connected to our Gold Card Specialist."
A report released Thursday by City Controller Wendy Greuel found that approximately 1,000 Los Angeles city parking citations were dismissed over a two-year period -- some without justification -- as part of the Gold Card operation. The program was started about 20 years ago to permit officials and their staff to expedite constituents’ appeals of parking tickets and possibly have fines reduced or eliminated.
"You should not need political pull to expedite the investigation of a ticket," said Greuel, a possible candidate for mayor. "There were no specific policies to guide the review of these citations … we believe, causing a rift for inappropriate cancellations."
Greuel's audit said the Gold Card referral service is provided exclusively to the mayor's office and council district offices.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office challenged that assertion Thursday afternoon, providing figures it had received indicating that about 90% of some 5,600 requests for Gold Card reviews came from within the transportation department and other sources in recent years, though it did include hundreds of requests from the mayor and City Council offices.
The transportation department's interim general manager, Amir Sedadi, said the department will discontinue the program in its upcoming contract.
-- Ari Bloomekatz
PHOTO: City of Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau Gold Card. CREDIT: Office of Councilman Richard Alarcon