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L.A. parking ticket refunds can now be researched online

October 15, 2012 | 12:16 pm

New parking meters in Los Angeles that not only accept credit cards but can send text messages to your phone. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Drivers who want to know if the city of Los Angeles owes them a parking ticket refund can search for their names on a new online database.

The Department of Transportation's Parking Violations Bureau on Monday posted the names of nearly 1,100 people who prevailed in their challenges of parking tickets between September 2007 and August 2008.

The City Council voted last month to shift more than $56,000 in refund proceeds into the city budget without notifying those who were owed the money. Since then, council members have asked transportation officials to do more to let people know about the refunds.

So far, the information on the new database is not always clear. One entry says $360 is owed to a "resident" of Park La Brea, the apartment complex located in the Mid-Wilshire area. Another entry says $50 is due to an entity named "Progressive E." A third said $100 should be refunded to "Yum Inc." restaurant brands.

Bruce Gillman, spokesman for the transportation department, described the Park La Brea entry as "a mistake." He also could not verify that an entry for "William Bratton" referred to the city's former police chief.

Los Angeles has increased parking fines six times in the past seven years, far outstripping the inflation rate during the same period. The refunds in the database were approved for motorists who challenged their fines during a session with a city hearing examiner,  Gillman said.

Those who took part in that process had to pay their tickets up front. Transportation officials will post the names of people who received refunds since August 2008 next week.

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— David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

twitter/davidzahniser

Photo: New parking meters in Los Angeles not only accept credit cards but can send text messages to your phone. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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