Have You Gotten a Ticket Lately For Parking on York Boulevard?

The Department of Transportation dismisses two parking citations against a local mother and daughter.

Officer Espinoza photographed on York Boulevard.
Officer Espinoza photographed on York Boulevard.

Shortly before noon on Thursday, Dec. 5, Lilly Martinez  drove down from Mount Washington to Highland Park in her Nissan Quest sedan for the “teacher’s lunch,” an errand that she runs weekly with practiced ease as an administrative assistant and office technician at Mount Washington Elementary School.

It took Martinez a little more than five minutes to reach Schodorof’s Luncheonette, a popular deli on York Boulevard, from where she was to pick up sandwiches for the school’s teachers. Because she had already placed her order over the phone, as she did every week, Martinez parked her car in a 5-minute loading zone on York and went inside the deli.

Two minutes later, she was back in her car, looking forward to enjoying her sandwich, which the school’s teachers had paid for in return for her running the errand. And that’s when Martinez noticed a parking ticket on her car’s windshield—a $58 citation, evidently for overstaying in a so-called white zone.

The problem was that Martinez knew well she had not parked for more than two minutes in the zone. She looked at the receipt from the deli and noticed that it was time-stamped at 12:05 p.m. The time-stamp on the ticket was 12:02 p.m. Clearly, she reckoned, she had been given a ticket while she waiting for barely two minutes to pick up the sandwiches.

Martinez was distraught. “I’ve worked at Mount Washington for 12 years and never gotten a parking ticket,” she says. “I got a fix-it ticket about four or five years ago—that’s all.”

Martinez contested the citation—and her ticket was dismissed. And that’s when she began wondering if the parking enforcement officer who had given her the ticket—identified on the ticket as "Espinoza"—had been citing other drivers unfairly. 

Her own mother, Martinez recalled, had got a ticket nearby on Avenue 51 and York in August 2013. That ticket, too, had been written by Espinoza—and it had been dismissed. What was going on?

Patch contacted Los Angeles Department of Transportation Communications Director Bruce Gillman for an explanation. According to Gillman, Martinez's ticket was dismissed because the parking enforcement officer had failed to record the "time marked" on the ticket. That is, the officer had not stated the time at which he saw Martinez's car parked in the white zone for more than five minutes.

"She got off not because she's right but because of a technicality," Gillman told Patch. Parking officers are "human beings and people do make mistakes," he said, adding that LADOT has 560 full-time officers writing an average of 2.7 million citations per year.

According to Gillman, this is the first time that LADOT has received a complaint against Espinoza regarding a 5-minute citation. Asked if the officer was perhaps trying to meet some year-end department "quota" for the number of citations, Gillman replied: "He has no quotas—they are illegal in the state of California."

But what about the ticket that Martinez's mother got last summer? On Aug. 9, Lilly Tejadilla (Martinez's mother has the same first name) parked her car in a lot on Avenue 51, on the corner of Meridian Avenue, to get her hair done at Elena's Beauty Salon. Located at 1311 N Ave. 51, the salon is barely a five-minute drive from Tejadilla's home on Avenue 56, and she's a regular customer there. 

As she always did when going to Elena's, Tejadilla put two quarters into the parking kiosk, which earned her an hour in the parking lot overlooking the beauty salon. "It takes about 25 to 30 minutes to do my hair but I always put money for an hour," says Tejadilla, who is 83 years old. 

At 11:15 a.m., Tejadilla's stylist told her that she could see a parking enforcement officer giving out tickets in the lot. "I told her I had one hour," Tejadilla recalls, adding: "So she kept on combing my hair. I got out at 11:25 and went to my car and as soon as I sat down in my car I saw this ticket in my windshield."

When Tejadilla looked at the parking meter, she says she saw it still had a little less than 30 minutes of time left. (See accompanying photo of the parking meter, which shows she had 22 minutes, 28 seconds left.) "I was so mad I started crying," she recalls. "I cried for about five minutes. Then other people started walking out and checking their meters. They all got tickets."

According to Tejadilla, at least three of them still had sufficient time left on their meters. She says she doesn't know if any of them contested their tickets. What she does know is that "a lot of people don’t complain and pay up because they don’t want to go through the hassle."

As Tejadilla tells it, Espinoza is constantly giving out tickets. That's his job, of course, but "the lady at the beauty shop says he’s always there at around 11 o’clock in the morning and gives out tickets," says Tejadilla. "Then he comes at 2 o’clock and gives tickets again."

According to LADOT's Gillman, however, the department has only ever received two complaints against Espinoza, besides the complaints from Tejadilla and Martinez. The first was in 2012, when he issued a citation for stopping in a peak-hour lane. And the second was in 2013, regarding a citation for parking in a red zone.

"The complaints were not about the officer's professionalism but about getting tickets," Gillman says. Asked why Tejadilla's ticket was dismissed, Gillman acknowledged: "The reason for the dismissal was that there was time on the machine." (LADOT has the ability to electronically check how much time was in a meter at the time a citation was issued pertaining to the meter.)

Little or none of that is comforting to Tejadilla, who says she couldn't sleep for two nights after getting her ticket and had to have her son drive her all the way to an LADOT office on Wilshire Boulevard to contest the citation. 

"They sent me a letter saying my ticket was dismissed," she says. "But there was no explanation. The officer [Espinoza] should apologize to people for giving tickets like that."

Related—for further reading: L.A.'s Over-the-Top Parking Tickets Spark Revolt

JMarsh January 18, 2014 at 01:05 PM
Seriously, I feel the businesses really need to get LADOT to look into this. I think he is counting on people just paying the tickets because they don't want the hassle of trying to clear them with LADOT. As I mentioned before I now take my business elsewhere as then I don't have to worry about parking.
Cris25 January 18, 2014 at 01:06 PM
Someone should do like a stake out and film yourself putting money in the meter when hes near by and from the distance film if he gives tickets and approach him with the camera, catch him red handed. Like an undercover news segment. lol.
bobo January 18, 2014 at 09:10 PM
There should not be any metered parking at all. They are lucky anyone even shops in this town. I had a busines in town and I had to pay to park. So dumb.
Fernando lopez January 18, 2014 at 10:02 PM
Its all about the Benjamins.
nonoise January 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Officer Drumfold is a hero. He cites people regardless of race and economic circumstances and regardless of religion. He even cites those violators going to church! He does not discriminate! He does things the right way.
Carlos Gutierrez January 19, 2014 at 03:51 PM
@nonoise what was it like raising parking attendant Drumgold?
Miguelangel Espinoza January 19, 2014 at 03:54 PM
Ok, i haven't had issues on York Bl, but.. Although I understand the city needs to generate revenue by various ways, and citing for parking violations may be one. I'm just frustrated at how high the citations are! I live on Ave 52 and have gotten numerous tickets due to being too close to the red, hydrant or curb on the correct side of the street all because street sweeping occurs in the wee hours of the morning between 4-6-30 am. It would be better for the residents if street services cut us a "break", especially when we're all sleeping anyway. Street sweeping should occur during business hours when most/all are usually at work and save most of us from frivolous +$60 ticket headaches.
nonoise January 19, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Speak to your local city council office.
Bob Roberts January 20, 2014 at 03:36 PM
Concentrate your anger and energy here. http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/15/local/la-me-holland-parking-20130216 http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/02/01/54488.htm Contact your city council member, mayors office etc.
andre chavez January 20, 2014 at 05:10 PM
andre chavez January 20, 2014 at 05:13 PM
I did some checking ..according to who i talk too..if your seen parking at a passenger loading only 5 min zone and you go into a sandwich shop..the ticket is automatic..no 5 min grace period because your not passenger loading lilly...
andre chavez January 20, 2014 at 05:15 PM
The meter spaces in the lot use what is called a pay station which does not always work properly..so the officers computer may show expired even if its paid...way to go vendors..so it wasn't the officers fault..that's why the ticket was canceled
andre chavez January 20, 2014 at 05:18 PM
I have no love of parking tickets, but i have less patience for those who rant and complain for things they did wrong and got caught at..check the codes..the books are everywhere..Or just ask an officer they are here to educate as well, you may not get the answers you want ..but they will be the right answers
andre chavez January 20, 2014 at 05:20 PM
To get any restrictions changed you have to talk to your council member, and do it with the same zeal that some of these negative comments were done with..the council people can take forever..or if you see espinoza ask him...
mels tequila January 20, 2014 at 06:13 PM
L.A.D.O.T. Communication Director Gilman's response to the Patch implies a critical situation which involves more than Espinoza issuing an incorrect citation. Complaints from customers/clients about a traffic officer are one indicator of a potential problem, but they are not and should not be the major indicating system. Whenever management sees an indicator of a potential problem, they need to initiate an evaluation to determine if the problem actually exists and what is the extent of the problem. Then management uses discipline/retraining to correct the problem. If the problem cannot be corrected after sufficient attempts, then the department can either reassign the individual to a task which better suits his abilities or they can begin the termination process. Gilman says that a citation written by Espinoza was contested and ultimately dismissed because there was still time on the meter. Gilman also said that they can view the parking meter record and see when the meter had time and when it was expired. Therefore, the department saw an internal indicator of a potential problem with Espinoza's citations written on that day at that location. The supervisor must make all reasonable attempt to review the other meter violation citations written at that time by Espinoza and check them against the record from the meters in order to identify any other incorrect Espinoza citations. If other incorrect citations are found, the department must take action to void the citations and refund any fines already paid. The Department must also initiate discipline/retraining of Espinoza in order to get his performance to an acceptable level. Gilman's response indicates that his supervisors did none of those things. The supervisors are not supervising. They need to be removed and replaced, all the way up to the head of the L.A.D.O.T. if necessary. They cannot ignore indicators of a problem and simply wait for citizens to file complaints. That is not supervision, that is grounds for the Mayor to fire the head of the L.A.D.O.T.
nonoise January 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Mayor Sam just gave out his clown award to CD1 Ex-councilmember Ed Reyes. He won the top spot. Congratulations!! http://mayorsam.blogspot.com/2014/01/2014-mayor-sam-political-ass-clown.html
Lightnapper January 21, 2014 at 01:24 PM
@MT, great discourse…but its logical-- so it will never work in Wack-Attack LA. The system is set up like this for a reason. $$$. Guilty until proven innocent is the system. Pay first…contest…lose…appeal…lose. All of this takes time and more $$$. For a mere citizen, proving innocence on a traffic citation is nearly impossible. I’ve seen it happen 2 times in my career. The effort required—Herculean is putting it mildly. Sisyphean is more like it. Most people fold and pay—guilty or innocent. I don’t know the current status, but Affiliated Computer Systems, a subsidiary of Xerox, did handle all the financial nuances of LADOT’s economic extortion. ACS expanded beyond banking and became a public company. ACS is best known for its Transportation Solutions Group (TSG). They support transportation services including electronic toll collection, management of cities’ parking systems, and photo traffic enforcement. Wonder which LA Politicos hold stock? Now take a baby step. Who actually calls the shots? Which city administrators confer regularly with ACS/Xerox executives giving approval to each new gimmick they offer for boosting the city's seemingly endless cash cow? i.e. Parkway Tickets; Pay Station tickets; conflicting signs; non-signage; ignoring “curb cuts”; tickets by mail; tickets to people who have never even been to LA, etc. An interesting video illustrating that citizens have a social obligation to monitor and to police our government is—“Sweet Sweet Justice Dealt to LA Parking Enforcement: Parking Tyranny (the documentary movie on LA parking enforcement). Now to my morning laugh. A member of the Terminally Double Parked-Red Zone UPS/Fed-Ex Clan-- says to trust LADOT officers because they always follow "THE CODE," never make mistakes, feel no administrative pressure to "perform," and they’re always honest; therefore, they are above supervisor or citizen oversight resulting in an occasional job evaluation which might result in verbal/written reproach or useful remedial training. As such, engaged citizens expressing their 1st Amendment rights who may have opposing opinions are merely whiners, naysayers and malcontents. Pause for “He Haw!” It gets better. These malcontent naysayers are merely uneducated and ignorant and they misunderstand these stellar officer’s (superheroes actually) motives. They merely need to engage in meaningful dialogue with LADOT Officers to better understand them. Pause for “He Haw!” I know every time I see a parking enforcement officer issuing a ticket they are just chomping at the bit to interact verbally with the cliental and to educate them on the many nuances of parking laws and how to be a good citizen. Here's an informative website: www.slapec.org (Stop Los Angeles Parking Enforcement Corruption) Just for s-n-giggles and an extra cup of coffee: VC Section 463 states: "Park or parking" shall mean the standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading merchandise or passengers. Does that include Double-Parking and blocking a traffic lane forcing people to go left of center, or stopping and exiting a vehicle in a “No Stopping Anytime” Zone, or in a Red Zone, or in a Fire Lane, or blocking a driveway, or stopping and exiting the vehicle on Street Sweeping Day, or stopping, parking, and exiting the vehicle while opposing traffic? "The Code, Boss...The Code!" LA…you can’t make this crap up!
Bob Roberts January 21, 2014 at 02:00 PM
Just thank Xerox personally. Xerox Corporation 2029 Century Park E East Los Angeles, CA 90022
Baird Martin January 21, 2014 at 02:12 PM
Andre, leave Lilly out of this, she's a good person, works hard, and the kids at Mt. Washington love her. If you want to blame someone, blame Ajay for writing the story and making this a big deal. At any rate, ah screw it. Why the hell even engage. You have nothing to say, neither does anyone on the discussion forum, so in the end all we are doing is getting worked up, spinning our wheels, and lobbying insults back and forth for something that no one will give a crap about in a week.
Lightnapper January 21, 2014 at 07:16 PM
@ Bob R...you peaked my interest, so I went to LADOT website and linked to their RFP's & Contracts page. On page 6 of 6-- at the bottom-- the payoff. Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc. C-119654 Express Park - Intelligent Parking Management System for downtown LA $30,500,000 2 years + 2 one (1) year extensions 09/29/11 - 09/28/13 Parking Meters & Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc. C-109574 Parking Management Support System and Operation of Parking Violations Bureau $90,000,000 5 Years (M-T-M) 03/09/06 M-T-M after 3/8/2011 Parking Operations Support and Adjudication. Dated 7/2/2013. That be some fine cash money being raked in. Thinking of buying some stock myself seeing as how the Big X is engaging in this lucrative business worldwide. $Cha-Ching$ As an aside, I then remembered a 2001 documentary by David Bret Egen called "Pain & Parking in Los Angeles." It aired on PBS and chronicled the impossibility of finding a place to park in LA. It's rather enlightening. Still have a video copy. But, then nothing in these comments is ever useful, especially to Dumb and Dumber in LA; disinformation 101, the saga continues.
Baird Martin January 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM
@Lightnapper: it's spelled "piqued."
Lightnapper January 22, 2014 at 01:43 PM
One mistake and all for naught, or is that not...or knot? I was debating between peeked, or peaked, or piqued, but my Spell Checker took over. Now I'm completely confused. But, thanks anyway, or is that any way? Did I just start a sentence with a discourse connective, invariable grammatical particle, commonly referred to as a conjunction? And-- damn or is that dam-- I did it again-- is that still a rule, or was that based upon non-historical and grammatical foundation? Drat...this's all getting too, to, two complicated! I better get to an Anal- Retentive Meeting quickly!
Baird Martin January 22, 2014 at 02:13 PM
I'm an editor by trade. It's in my blood.
Bandelier Pilferage January 23, 2014 at 02:51 PM
@ Baird Martin. Bandelier is going to give you a new calling card, the "Big BM. How do you like that Mr. editor? Have you always been nit-picking and AR? You've lost the spirit and substance of Lightnappers response to Bob R. Let's not get lost in triviality but rather stay focused on substance of the issue. Lightnapper has revealed some interesting points, namely the millions of dollars in contracts and equipment purchased by the city of LA with tax-payer dollars in the pursuit of generating income to support city services. And whose palms were greased with currency and favors after the t's were crossed, the i's dotted and all contracts filed and conforming in law? Follow the money trail, that's the story, not the meter-maid, who probably wanted to be LAPD and couldn't make the cut. At least he has a patrol car of sorts and the power to inflict monetary damage which is his mission dictated by his employer. The city will be justify its quest to generate income.The quota will be served. Writing parking ticket's is one source. Has Bandelier Pilferage treated you too harshly? Yes he has and deservedly so, but not nearly as much as Lightnappers brilliant retort to you. You may take his foot out of your ass, buffoon.
Ajay Singh (Editor) January 23, 2014 at 03:09 PM
Bandelier Pilferage—thanks for your comment, but could we please keep the conversation civil? There have been previous reminders about that in this comments thread in case you missed them.
Baird Martin January 24, 2014 at 12:04 AM
Bandelier, now that you are done publishing your trite drivel, let me comment on your analysis. It was a brilliant piece of stating what has already been said several times before. As for Lightsnapper, the critique towards him is well deserved. A professor once told me, "son, if you are going to use a ten dollar word, make sure you spell the 'sonbitch' correctly."
Bandelier Pilferage January 24, 2014 at 01:21 AM
@ Peanut Gallery. You white-folks are so damn predictable, don't want to hear a 'nigga' say his peace and word up. Get schooled. If any fools be fixating on a misspelled word and disparaging my commentary as 'trite drivel' and trying to censor my reality, then you all be 'fascist journalists'. My word will not be repressed.
Baird Martin January 24, 2014 at 12:21 PM
What does race have to do with anything?
Fernando lopez January 24, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Hang on guys let me go get my popcorn.
Lightnapper January 24, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Awww...come on now children..."can't we all just get along?" This sage wisdom from a guy who inhaled water as a Last Act. Talk about denouement! Would we rather carry on an enlightening discourse regarding corrupt city politics and dirty traffic cops, or debate semantics, grammar and a villainous Spell Checker--reminiscent of Hal 9000? It was just one misspelled word. I'm sure BM has never misspelled a word, placed an improper comma, or used a dangling preposition. Trust me implicitly and without revocation when I state that I completely understand the meaning of the word...really I do; and I'm sure everyone else did too. Besides, it's a writer's prerogative to rewrite language. Peeked-- as in it opened my eyes. Peaked, as in it took me to the pinnacle of understanding. And, of course, piqued, which got this whole weird ball of grammatical wax moving-- and in HP of all places! Woulda thunk! Radical writers-- it's in our blood to experiment with language. Editors and English Language Instructors have a completely different agenda...destroy creativity being one...spread disinformation being another. So, please...let's play nice. BM...Intellectually and scholastically I don't really think it's a $10 word; but to each his own. Prolixity...expatiation...garrulousness...logorrhea and my personal favorite--grandiloquence-- now dem be sum big city, fancy professorial words! Here's a blast from the past-- "@Martin, you might be dealing with a drug dealing, murdering, psychopath in Josef. You never know..." Is that "libel per se" or simply Trash Talking hypocrite? Larry...we having fun yet? FL...I'll have extra butter on my popcorn. Ya’ll be too much, specially BP, dat be one bad hombre! Gotta go earn a real living..."Dats All Folks!"


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