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Call Kurtis investigation reopened: Los Angeles silent in face of parking ticket problem

Call Kurtis investigates parking ticket problems
Call Kurtis investigates parking ticket problems 03:34

DIXON — A Dixon viewer said he and his wife were having lunch in Vacaville when the City of Los Angeles wrote him a parking ticket.

It was time for Kurtis Ming to reopen an investigation from more than a decade ago, and this isn't the first time CBS13 has returned to the issue. In fact, viewers have been calling Kurtis about this problem since 2006.

Randy Gentry said he and his wife were shocked when he received a delinquent parking ticket notice from the City of Los Angeles for a violation back in February, written at 11:58 a.m. in the red zone near 448 S. St. in Los Angeles.

But there was just one problem.

"At the same time they were writing the citation in L.A., we were sitting in a Vacaville restaurant," Randy said. "Four-hundred-something miles away."

In fact, they have picture proof. A security photo was generously provided to them by the staff of Murillos Restaurant in Vacaville at exactly that time.

But he says the City of L.A. won't accept his time-stamped photo as proof.

"We weren't down there, so, obviously, we couldn't get the ticket," he said.

This is a problem CBS13 has reported on for quite some time — going back to 2006, in fact. Here's a look at past coverage of this issue.

It was such a problem that Kurtis went down and paid the city a visit to get some answers. He got the city to admit that sometimes the number one can get mixed up with the letter I, and zeros for the letter O.

"Once somebody were to receive a citation and contact us - and tell us they were never in the city in that time frame — we will definitely spend more time in trying to eliminate those difficulties for the individual," a senior official for the Parking Bureau said back in 2008. 

In 2012, he reported that out of the 7,200 tickets L.A. was writing each day, about 21 were written in error. After Kurtis paid them a visit, the Parking Bureau promised to do better in responding to our viewers who encountered this problem.

CBS13 wanted to know the error rate a decade later and pulled the numbers. In 2022, the city of Los Angeles was averaging 5,200 tickets a day, 2,000 fewer than in 2012, and said it's dismissing an average of 56 of those. So the dismissal rate has more than doubled over the last 10 years.

And when the bureau was pressed about why the numbers are going in the opposite direction after their big bold promise to do better, they ignored the question.

But after Call Kurtis got involved, the city sent Randy this: "Our investigation has verified that the citation was/were not issued to your vehicle license plate."

Ticket dismissed.

Over the years, Kurtis has also uncovered that sometimes the agencies behind these tickets only pull up a shorter DMV record, which can put a former owner at the top. And in some cases, those former owners can receive tickets they weren't responsible for.

It's maddening. It's frustrating. But Kurtis' tip is to fight it. Don't get bullied into paying a ticket you didn't get. 

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