Was having a wonderful mother/daughter day in the garment district of LA. We had been parked in the garage all day for the required $5. It was closing time and most of the stores were closing. My 13 year old and I had seen a particular fabric and wanted to find the store again but were too tired to walk any more and the stores were closing very rapidly so we decided to get in the car and drive around to look for the store.
We found the store right around the corner where we had been talking to some helpful merchants. We drove around the block and I saw in large green letters a sign that said "1 Hr. Parking". I parked and my daughter put a quarter in the meter. We ran around the block and asked the price of the fabric. We determined the price to be more than we could afford and then walked back to the car. As we turned the corner, my car was being booted to a tow truck. I became frantic thinking my car was being stolen. Two officers were standing there and the tow truck driver was starting to strap my car up.
I yelled "what are you doing". The officer A. Linnear told me to "Read the Sign Lady". I told him I had read the sign and it read "1 hour parking". He told me to look again. By this time, my daughter was crying and I was crying because I didn't understand what I had done wrong. I looked again at the sign and above it was a second sign that read "No Parking Mon-Fri 4pm to 6pm" in small red letters about 1/4 the size of the green lettered sign. I tried to explain to him to look at the meter --we were only gone 4 minutes!!! Even the merchants were listening to the conversation and were pleading with them to stop because we had only just walked away from the car minutes before. He told the police ---"Look she just told you she was from Lancaster and that she came to spend her tax paying dollars down here--can't you cut her some slack--she was only gone for a few minutes. She told you she didn't see the smaller letter sign over the much larger green lettered sign!"
My daughter and I were both in tears because she knew we could not afford the $150 that the tow truck driver was demanding from us to put our car down. He never moved it one inch and was just beginning to hook it up when we happened upon the scene. The police had not even begun to write the ticket yet and we did not know until a few minutes later that we were being hit with another $70 fine from the city. Upon hearing that we were going to have to pay the other $70 my daughter also began to tearfully pleed with them that we have only one income and have four kids!! She had only known tow truck drivers and police to be our friends because the only contact she had had with either one in her whole life was when they were helping us from being broken down somewhere.
I understood --after the fact-- that where I parked did have a sign but I never saw the smaller red lettered sign. I know ignorance of the law is no excuse but honestly looking back, this whole thing was a scam. There were businesses closing and the only traffic going through that street was the vendors after closing their shops. The streets were totally empty and the officer said he has orders to clear the streets for the traffic. What traffic? I asked him. This was such a bogus scam to make money. They had to have been watching us walk away from the car and jumped the minute we walked away. They were cold, condescendng, and completely unethical in their money making scheme.
If I was to have to suffer the consequences for my lack of having seen the sign then punish me the $70 but to charge me $150 for not having moved my car an inch is fraud. He told me if he towed it to the gargage it would have been over $300. Does this not sound crazy. To tow my car seems like complete money making scheme. There was no justification for it since it was not blocking any exits, fire hydrants, etc.
If anyone has had a similiar experience and has fought this, can you please write to me? I have only until tomorrow for the 21 days to be up and I have to pay the $70. I could not get my car down until I gave the man the $150. $220 seems EXCESSIVE and not fair for this violation.
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