Street Curb Robbery: LA’s Exorbitant Parking Fines

I seem to be on a roll these days with getting the worst deals in town.  Case in point: the $68 parking ticket I got from the City of Los Angeles. Hey, I’m all for money for the public good. It isn't that I endangered the public safety by parking too close to a fire hydrant. It isn't that I stood in the way of the public health and welfare by parking in a place marked for street sweeping exercises. It isn't even as if I was parking in a permit zone that is not my own. This is a ticket for a parking permit that expired over Labor Day weekend while my car was parked in my own neighborhood.

Ever since my peach of a landlord evicted me from the spot in the garage where I parked my car for thirteen years with his knowledge, I have seen fit to purchase a permit for street parking in my neighborhood, which is mostly all permit only parking at one time of the day or another.

When this unhappy event occurred, I trotted on down to the city's parking office in Koreatown and got a permit. Not a bad deal - $34 for the year. The months went swimmingly by - or not, as the case sometimes was - until this past Labor Day weekend when I was away. The lapse between permits was short; and I now have a new permit. Still, there is the matter of the ticket - $68!

I have a real problem with this. In fact, I have decided to contest it - throwing myself at the mercy of the court. The purported reason why preferential parking even exists is so that residents will be able to park near their homes. In this economy, especially for those at a certain income level, these variables should be taken into consideration.  

Sixty-eight dollars is a painful punch for many people today. The median income range in this country these days is $42,000 to $100,000. That is for a two-income household, folks.

I would venture to say this is a real bad deal for most residents of Los Angeles, where 38% live below the real poverty line. The real poverty line comes in at $22,000 for a single person and $44,000 for a family of four. Pretty tough to make ends meet in Tinseltown with this kind of money.  

A struggling actor like me makes nowhere near that much. The average Screen Actors Guild income for an actor in 2011 was $5,000. The rest comes from being scrappy, going into debt, or a little of both.  

In my view, Mayor Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council are dishin’ out a bad deal on the plate of LA residents with these continuing parking fine hikes. It’s one of the worst deals in town during these hard times.


The Coalition for Economic Survival has been spearheading efforts to stop these exorbitant hikes. Get involved.

Coalition for Economical Survival

514 Shatto Place, Suite 270
Los Angeles, CA 90020 (map)
Telephone: (213)252-4411

(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at Facebook: - Twitter: @CheckingTheGate)


Vol 10 Issue 74
Pub: Sept 14, 2012