Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Visitor Beware of Aggressive Parking Ticket Writing in Hermosa Beach

The Great Recession has many cities throughout the country seeking ways to increase income or decrease costs, which at times stirs anger among taxpayers and users of services.

The City of Hermosa Beach, CA., opted to rid itself of workers that collected parking fees from visitors and install an electronic parking meter system, that increased revenue to $1,956,290.00 in 2012 from parking citations, according to the cities finance department. This was an all time high in citation fees, and helped the city regain lost revenue, at the cost to visitors to the city.

The 1,671 older coin fed parking meters apparently worked too well and did not bring in enough parking fines for the needs of this financially struggling city.

Last summer as I parked in the parking structure to visit the Lighthouse I noted my parking space number and proceeded to the pay station. For some reason the pay station was not running as usual, took five or six swipes of my debit card before I was able to make my payment. This electronic parking system does not accept cash, debit or credit card payments only, and the user does not receive a paper receipt.

Redondo Beach on the other hand has a user friendly electronic parking system that gives you a paper receipt, and to top it off requests your cell number, to notify you well in advance of your parking space fee expiring through a text message, thus avoiding a citation.

When Dionne and I returned to my car after leaving the Lighthouse I was dismayed to discover a parking citation, even though I had an hour left on the meter, for $53.00. This really put a damper on what was a festive day, and after considering the time and costs associated with contesting this error, I decided to just pay the fine, as I'm certain most others do as well.

Living in San Dimas is just over fifty miles from Hermosa Beach, and I assumed it would take two trips to the beach city to contest this, and paying for parking twice, at a cost of $45.00. With the City of Hermosa Beach having my arm twisted behind my back, it wasn't worth the gamble of contesting this parking ticket scam, they won, or did they?

For the past twelve years I was a visitor to the Lighthouse on Sunday's to listen to Reggae music by Jahmark and the Soul Shakers, DetourPosse, and Urban Dread, some months I would visit Hermosa Beach four times. Since being taken for $53.00 in September of 2012 I have not returned even once, as I dislike cheaters and liars. 

For some reason I forgot about the ticket tucked into my glove compartment, but Hermosa Beach didn't forget, they sent a nice notice with an additional fine of $35.00 my way. I paid both fines, with the word "CROOKS" on the additional fine, which to my surprise was returned and the $35.00 late fine waived.

Here's what an elected official had to say regarding the new electronic parking system on May10, 2012: http://www.easyreadernews.com/50747/parking-meters-declared-unreliable/

"Hermosa Beach City Treasurer David Cohn has called for an overhaul of the parking meter system, saying that many meters do not function properly, $2 million a year in revenue is not properly audited, and there is “an unusually large backlog of disputed parking tickets.”

If the City of Hermosa Beach wants to increase revenue, don't do it on the backs of your visitors, scrap your current electronic parking meters with the same system Redondo Beach uses.

Hermosa Beach Official Claims Parking Officers Make Nearly $100K

More Credit Card Parking Meters Coming to Hermosa

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