Friday, December 28, 2007

Never Been to Los Angeles (and now I never will)

It's becoming increasingly likely that if I ever return to the State of California or ever actually make it to Los Angeles, that I will be arrested.

I think as far back as October, I received a notice of a parking citation with the City of Los Angeles. An oddity as I have never actually been to Los Angeles, and certainly not in my own car. I once went to Anaheim, but there I took cabs and never left the Disneyland Resort area.

It seems that when I traded in the Forester, the car made its way out to Los Angeles either as part of a fleet deal, or as a rental. I'm not sure. At any rate, at some point in September, someone driving my former ride received a parking violation. And as the City of LA doesn't maintain updated State of Texas tax records or whatever, they've sent me the violation.

Not wanting to pay someone else's $70 ticket, I sent the City of LA a letter saying "I didn't own this car at this time. Thanks for playing." This, of course, did nothing. And so Jamie sent in a copy of the trade agreement. Here's where things get wacky and where bureaucracy falls apart.

About two weeks ago I called to follow up after receiving a letter that essentially said "Oh yes, you do too own that car." I talked to a person named Lupe on the phone who said "Oh, yes. We do have the right documentation. Call back n 3 to 5 days and we'll get this straightened out."

I called back in seven working days to give them time (hey, I'm busy... they're busy...). Apparently the state of California looks for some document called a "Transfer of Liability" which we don't have in Texas. Because I didn't submit this document, the city of LA doesn't seem to know what to do. In addition, because the transfer of title wasn't from California, Lupe (who I happened upon again) said she couldn't read the document, but from what she described, she was looking at the right document. At the time, I agreed to send in a copy of some other documentation, but upon returning home figured out that I HAD sent in the right documents.

I called back today to check on things and tell them what I had sent them, and today Jessica said "Sir, you said you'd send in the documentation..."
"Yeah, that was before I realized you had my paperwork. You have all the paperwork I have. That's all we have in Texas."
"But you said-"
"I know what I said. Now I'm telling you, you HAVE the paperwork you asked for before. I was calling from work and wasn't sure."
"You said you'd send a FAX-" (I actually never said that)
"It doesn't MATTER what I said before. You have my documentation."
"All I have from you is a letter and two pieces of blank paper".
"Why would I send in two pieces of blank paper?"
"Sir, I don't know."
"I can't help it if your scanner doesn't work, but you guys had this documentation before."
"I don't see it, sir."
So I am kind of wondering what the @#$% is going on at the City of Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau.
I do know its run by nitwits, and that in order to speak to a supervisor, I will have to wait 72 hours. 72 HOURS.
But here's the kicker. I could hear people discussing my situation in the background during the call. I kept hearing "Austin" and "Texas". Pretty clearly whatever system they have going isn't working. And has already passed some deadline which means I will have, at best, an arrest warrant out for my name in LA. At worst, they could put this against my credit score.

What I am trying not to do is spend a huge amount of time on this problem, but I am increasingly frustrated with my inability to prove I did not own a car the City of LA's least impressive public servants claim I owned.

If an attorneys want to start sending letters on letterhead, I can send you the address.


JAL said...

You realize this is the setup for a Chandleresque tale, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Crazy. I have something similar here in Houston. The guy who bought my college car/"death trap" did not file any of the paperwork. Who can blame him, it actually costs money to do that. The Houston Police impound lot calls me to pick up the hunk of junk and to pay several tickets. Hours of tedious paperwork later and one not so convenient visit to the notary and I think I have submitted enough proof that I do not own the car. WTF? What is wrong here? => Government at its best.
I feel your pain.

The League said...

Good God. I think the way they have it now, you literally detach a piece of your title and send it to the State. You basically absolve yourself of ownership after that. Although, I don't know what happens if the other person doesn't get their part taken care of. I guess what happened to you.

Now I'm wondering what became of my Eclipse from college... I didn't exactly follow up with the guy who bought that to make sure he tooks care of his part.

Michael Corley said...

I'm glad it is taken care of. If they give you more crap, forward the information to me and I will pretend to be an irate attorney. I have some small ability in this regard.


Anonymous said...

I'll tell you, the city/county/whatever of Los Angeles is completely screwed up when it comes to traffic violations. I did drive a car with expired plates in L.A. and received a ticket for it. I let it lapse and had a warrant for my arrest (note, I lived in N. California at the time and had only been visiting L.A.). Eventually, a few years later, I paid off the ticket and thought that was the end of it. About a year later I started getting notices from L.A. asking for their money. I explained that I paid them, they said I didn't. I contacted the California DMV in Sacramento and asked them if anything outstanding was on my record. They said no. I called L.A. back and told them Sacramento said I was clear and that they (L.A.) must be in error. They said no, Sacramento was in error. At this point I gave up. I didn't drive in L.A. again until after the statute (or whatever) of Limitations was up.


Munki said...

Many of us do understand how messed up the City is when it comes to PARKING violation... Therefore, I inquired the City of Los Angeles Mayor's office for assistance... four times over 2 months of period, they promised to get back to you... NONE as of today.

I truly feel City of Los Angeles, especially Parking Violation Bureau uses non-democratic and unconstitutional tactic to get back to its resident.

Ticket payment is RECEIVED DATE and not POSTMARK DATE. This means, if the mail is lost, made to other department or wrong address... GOOD LUCK...

That is what happened to me and they have NO mercy... could we all get together and fight this battle... to get it changed to POSTMARK DATE as we do not control US Postal Service or Mailbox that is Federal authority... I got run around and being penalized for paying parking ticket... RECEIVED LATE and their letter of warning was LOST in mail... April 2 dated as of today is lost in LALA land.

You are responsible... They should have a better system... a Democratic and Not Communist system.

City uses whatever virtual authorities to not able you to renew registration, harassing in letter forms and so on... absolutely incredible... WHO knows our mail time is? 3 min and got ticket... paid $50 then now saying... it was received late.

I am absolutely disappointed with our system. This is the worst City... to live.

Please investigate how to have the law changed? I wrote to Sacramento, Mayor and Governor...
I do not wish to recommend LA place to live to anyone... SO unfriendly city.