Ticked Over Tickets? Get Streetwise on WeHo Parking Tickets

parking meters

Parking tickets! The bane of our existence. We bitch to our neighbors about them. We curse the officers who hand them out. We pray we don’t get one whenever we venture out in this city of ours.

With enforcement of extended parking meter hours set to begin on Tuesday, parking tickets are on people’s minds more than ever.

Oscar Deglado, the city’s director of public works, knows the city’s parking rules are a source of consternation for residents and visitors alike. But he says parking rules and tickets are a necessity in a city where parking can be scarce.

“Let’s let everyone disregard parking enforcement for a day and see what happens,” Delgado said.

If people don’t understand the rules, Delgado encourages them to call City Hall.

“We’ve always prided ourselves in the city that you get to talk or vent to a live person,” Delgado said. “You don’t get that in a lot of other cities.”

“I have found most of the time when I sit down with a resident and explain this is why we enforce these regulations, this is why we have these rules or these fees, there’s a better sense of understanding,” said Jackie Rocco, the city’s parking operations manager. “They don’t always like it but they understand why the rule is there.”

WEHOville asked Delgado and Rocco for answers to some of the most  frequently asked parking ticket related questions.

parking meters

Big revenue: The city makes $4 million annually from parking meters and $8.5 million annually from parking tickets. But that’s not all profit for the city.

Of the $4 million in parking meter money, the city only keeps about $3.75 million as it has an $188,000 contract with the city of Beverly Hills to collect the meter money and an $89,000 contract with the city of Glendale for meter maintenance.

In case you’re wondering, the extended meter hours are expected to generate an addition $1 million per year.

Of the $8.5 million in parking tickets, the city only keeps about $3 million. The $5.5 million the city pays out for ticket-related services is as follows:

  • $25,000 for adjudication services goes to Judy Sherman, who has had the contract to hear ticket appeals since 2012.
  • $1 million for citation processing goes to Xerox Corporation, which has had that contract since 2009.
  • $2 million for parking enforcement goes to the Reston, VA-based Serco, Inc., which has had the contract since 1992.
  • $2.5 million goes to the State of California. The state gets $12.50 of every ticket written, regardless of the amount of the ticket.

Most common tickets: You’re most likely to get cited for having an expired meter or parking in a permit district without the proper permit. Here’s a breakdown of the top tickets and the price those tickets bring:

  1. Expired meter – $53
  2. Permit parking – $58
  3. Street cleaning (not moving car during street cleaning hours) — $63
  4. Parking on grades (not curbing your wheels on a hill) – $23
  5. No front license plates – $25 (can be reduced to $10 if proof of correction is submitted).

parking meters

Quotas: While some think parking enforcement agents give out more tickets at the end of the month to meet their quota, that’s a myth, says Delgado. It’s also a myth that the city specifies a certain number of tickets be written each month. Delgado says the California Vehicle Code forbids quotas.

“The only thing that we stress to Serco is consistency,” Delgado said. “They enforce equally throughout the month.”

Commission: The city pays Serco a flat fee. The Serco employees don’t get commissions and thus don’t have any incentive for writing more tickets.

Serco employs 32 people in its West Hollywood office at 8235 Santa Monica Blvd. at  Harper — 26 parking enforcement officers, four supervisors and two administrative staffers. They work in three shifts daily; one supervisor and 4-5 officers on each shift.

parking sign

Conflicting signage: Say you park at a space at 7 p.m. and the info on the meter says it’s enforced until 8 p.m. but the sign on the meter post or a nearby pole says the meter is enforced until 6 p.m. Should you feed the meter or not?

To be safe, Rocco said, “Always go with the most restrictive sign.”

Delgado adds that conflicting signage is unlikely because the city just finished changing all the signs in town to reflect the extended hours. But in case there is a conflict, you can contest the ticket.

“In our city, if we have conflicting signs, we always give it to them,” said Delgado. “I can’t speak to how other cities handle it, but here we give it to you.”

Broken meters: West Hollywood has never ticketed people for parking at broken meters, although other cities, including Los Angeles, have. However, starting Jan. 1, 2014, it will be illegal in the state of California for cities to ticket you for being parked at a broken meter for the legally allowed time limit. Sacramento passed that law to encourage cities to fix their meters rather than gouge people for meters that stay broken.

Since West Hollywood installed credit-card-reading parking meters last year, very few meters have broken. Those that do are quickly fixed since they can be detected by computer easily, according to Delgado.

But in the case of a broken meter ticket, Delgado says to contest it and the city will check the records to confirm it isn’t working. If the meter was broken any part of that day, the city will tear up the ticket. It’s a myth that people try to deliberately break a meter to get free parking. State studies have found that doesn’t often happen.

Be sure to observe the posted time limits when parking at a broken meter however. If it has a two-hour time limit, and you’re parked there for three hours, you can still get ticketed there. The city won’t throw out a ticket for parking over the posted time limit even if the meter is broken.

parking meters

Parking over the red line: The red zone on the curb means parking is not allowed in that section. Many people think that as long as your wheels aren’t in the red zone, you’re good to park there, but that’s not the case. If the bumper of the car is hanging over the red zone, you can get ticketed.

“Don’t let any part of your car be in the red zone and you’ll be okay,” Rocco said.

Flashers: If you’re going to a party where the host has visitor parking passes for guests, just put your car’s flashers on while you go grab the pass and place it on your windshield. Parking enforcement won’t ticket you. However, if an enforcement agent comes back around later and the flashers are still on and there’s no guest pass displayed on the dashboard, you will be ticketed.

Cameras: The hand-held devices that print out the parking tickets also come equipped with cameras. When parking enforcement agents issue a ticket, they frequently take a time-stamped photo of the car in question. So, say you get a ticket for not curbing your wheels or for being in a two-hour residential zone longer than two hours. If you try to contest the ticket, it’s not just your word against the meter officer. It  can be verified with a photo.

Contesting tickets: Tickets must be paid or contested (in person, online, by mail or by telephone) within 21 days of issuance. If not paid within that time, the ticket fine doubles. If not paid within another 21 days, the price goes up again and the ticket is reported to the State of California. The next time you try to register your car, the Department of Motor Vehicles will make you pay the outstanding ticket first.

If money is too tight within the first 21 days to pay the ticket, contesting it will buy you additional time without the fine doubling.

Your right to contest a ticket ends after 21 days. If your ticket isn’t dismissed on the initial review, you can request an administrative hearing with the adjudicator. Be sure to bring any supporting evidence with you to the hearing (photographs, change of ownership papers, etc.). If the ticket is not dismissed by the adjudicator, then it must be paid. You cannot appeal a ticket a second time.

All the information about contesting a ticket is included on the back of the ticket and on the city’s website.

  1. How city of W.Hollywood justifies delivery people situations where there’s no parking place available at any given time anywhere on the major streets such as Sunset Blvd, Santa Monica, Melrose Ave,etc and they are forced to park on red zones for a minute or so and get $83 tickets which its equal of half of what they make whole day, city should provide lot more loading zone parking places and not lease the loading zones to restaurants for valet parking.

  2. I recently got ticketed on Santa Monica Blvd where the signs explaining the requirements and restrictions were somewhere between misleading and utterly incomprehensible. I thought I actually read the sign carefully, and ended up being wrong. Fifty-three bucks poorer for it.

  3. West Hollywood parking enforcement are sending me to the poor house. They target your car. Rub your plates for nothing. They have taken my whole life savings! In going to go to city council meetings and tell them Off! Then I’m calling LA Court

  4. WeHo became a major Nazi-Parking-terror town. Really sad how this Cityhall’s greed overcame what a minority oriented local government supposed to do: Serve its people, not its profit. This year in a city that is considerably richer than WeHo, I paid $10 for expired meter. City: Munich/Germany. Los Angeles’ Cityhall accumulated nearly $1/2 billion surplus from parking fees/fines. Now they are forced to reduce their fines heavily, by Jay Beeber. Don’t we realize we are being used and exploited, not served? Check out Jay Beeber and support his agenda. He is one of the BEST 🙂
    LET’S ACTIVELY VOTE FOR JAY TO FIGHT THIS SICK GREED! (btw, I have nothing to do with him 🙂

    1. I got a ticket on Sunset Blvd at an expired meter with flashing red and green lights and I took photos of the meter and what happened and it was fraud by the parking enforcement officer who wrote the ticket out with “meter expired” even though it was obviously broken and out of order. So city hall would do nothing even though I emailed and provided photos. It was extortion!

  5. I received notice in the mail of a parking ticket AFTER the 21 day timeframe to dispute the ticket and these d–kheads say I’m too late to fight it. Not only am I stuck paying the fine but fees and penalties on top of it!! Some process you got here WEHO, sucking money out of people is the priority, not public service.

  6. WeHo is the worst city in the LA area when it comes to Nazi-like parking enforcement. I absolutely HATE going there because their officers will go to EXTREMES to write you a ticket. For example, if your front wheel is ON THE PAINTED LINE of the alloted “space” they will write you up for “taking up two spaces” and crap like that. EVIL and NOT in the best interest of the city’s businesses when people like myself leave and say “Never again” when it comes to picking a place to eat or shop.

  7. this article is wrong that says it never gives tickets at broken meters as I got one in January 2012 and took photos of the broken meter that had red and green flashing lights and then I came back to my car and there was a parking ticket on my car saying: “meter expired” which was a lie and impossible because the meter was still broken, Oscar Delgado and city hall feigned indifference to my photos of the obviously broken meter and I had to pay a ticket based on fraud by the city and parking enforcement

  8. Notice how they forgot to mention that handicapped gets a free pass on almost all parking rules.
    There is a reason why they are called the parking gestapo. Why is a secretive private company playing “law enforcement”????

    I guess we now have mercenaries in law enforcement (see Katrina blackwater) and traffic enforcement

  9. City Council sucks, vote them all out. Can’t even park in my own neighborhood without being ticketed — it’s ridiculous. I’ll be supporting Tristan the next election and working to make sure that none of these clowns who don’t give a crap about West Hollywood residents aside from how much money they can extort.

  10. John M and Jerry R are absolutely correct–there is space for 4 cars near my building, but with no parking lines marked off and with the inconsiderate people who do not go right up to the red, only 3 are usually there. Make it a law to park to the RED!!! Also, Judy Sherman “heard” my appeal, accompanied with photos of the missing street cleaning sign, and still made me pay. Two years later the sign is STILL missing.

  11. I agree with John M. People pay no attention to where they are parking. They just park with no regard to the red curb or other cars and therefore waste a lot of space. Across the street from my apartment is space for 6 cars but often only has room for 4 because of the the haphazard way people park. You park 4-5 feet from the red curb, that is wasted space no one else can use. Why doesn’t this city start a “Park to the Red” campaign

  12. With a city leadership who loves to use the buzz words “were in the black” it seems anti-visitor to make it more expensive to visit our city in a troubled economy. And or charging the residents more to park their cars in their city is the unspun truth of the mega money begging made by the parking lobby and its contractors in #weho Who did the head or parking work for before his position in the weho city government? Take a guess?

  13. On Friday January 20th, 2012, at approximately 10:30pm in the evening I parked on Sunset Blvd. on the south side of the street just before La Cienega near the Tiffany Theatre and the meter was out of order flashing both red and green lights at the same time which means the meter would not take coins or my credit card and was malfunctioning and out of order.

    So legally I could park there. But when I came back later after midnight that night I had a ticket on my car by Officer Santana.

    I took a photo of the meter with my cell phone camera and even called the Sheriff’s Dept. to send a patrol car up to witness this extortion and fraud.

    I emailed city hall and no one would do anything about it.

    They’re all liars! Imagine this still goes on today.

  14. This is why I don’t even go clubbing in Weho anymore. Parking is so scarce, it takes me an hour to find parking. And now you have to pay for parking til midnight? Ridiculous.

  15. Why does Weho promote ill will with the new meters that can be easily programmed to let people know that they don’t have to pay for parking? For example, even though paying at the meters is waived on holidays, the meters still flash red, as though money is needed. The City of LA programs the same meters so that they are green or off during times when paying is waived. In SF, the meters specifically let people know that no money is needed. This just reinforces that Weho uses parking violations to generate an income regardless of the convenience of its residents and visitors.

  16. It would be nice if the city of West Hollywood would paint parking space lines on every “permit only” street in this city. Then give tickets to the idiots who don’t know how to park and take up 2 spaces!!! I should get something out of my annual permit fee and the pleasure of seeing them ticketed would make all the circling for parking every night worth it 😉

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