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Council committee demands details of all dismissed 'Gold Card' parking tickets

May 24, 2011 |  6:21 pm

The Department of Transportation has been instructed to provide a full report within 30 days on the roughly 1,000 parking tickets dismissed over a period of two years by a controversial review service known as the Gold Card Desk, according to L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine.

Zine, chair of the council’s Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee, said during the panel’s Tuesday meeting that he wanted details on each dismissal, including “who was it, what was it, where was it, who requested it.”  

The Gold Card Desk, which was mostly unknown to those outside city government, allowed the mayor and other elected officials to fast-track citation appeals. The program was started in 1996 and was intended to provide officials with a way to deal with constituent complaints about parking citations.

It was highlighted last week in an audit by City Controller Wendy Greuel, who said some of the Gold Card Desk dismissals were granted without justification or documentation and that the program opened the door for "inappropriate cancellations."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter to the Transportation Department the day after the audit was released, ordering the Gold Card Desk to be shut down immediately.

“Every member of the public deserves equal treatment and even the appearance of preferential treatment is unacceptable,”  Villaraigosa wrote to the department’s interim general manager, Amir Sedadi.

The mayor also asked Greuel to hire an independent consultant to do a “top-to-bottom management review” of the transportation department.

Sedadi said Tuesday he ended the Gold Card Desk at the mayor's request and welcomed an overall review of the department.  At one point during the committee meeting Tuesday, Zine asked if Sedadi needed back the laminated parking bureau Gold Card he had borrowed to show the public.

“You can tear it up,” Sedadi said.

-- Ari Bloomekatz