Gold Card Parking Ticket Dismissals for City Hall VIPs Over, Says Mayor Villaraigosa
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday pulled the plug on a controversial "gold card" program that allowed City Hall VIPs to essentially get parking tickets voided.
The existence of the program was revealed yesterday by City Controller Wendy Greuel, who said about 1,000 tickets had been dismissed for City Council members, their staffers and other high-ranking officials.
In a letter to L.A. Department of Transportation interim chief Amir Sedadi, Villaraigosa ordered an end to to the special treatment:
I am ordering you to discontinue the Gold Card Desk immediately and to establish a uniform system available to everyone for contested parking citation intake and adjudication. Every member of the public deserves equal treatment and even the appearance of preferential treatment is unacceptable.
Greuel denied knowing about the program and called out other city leaders for taking advantage of it, but City News Service reported yesterday that at least one of her staffers had contested a ticket via gold card.
Also, following Greuel's revelations that lax parking enforcement and loopholes cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid tickets, the mayor called for a "top to bottom" review of the LADOT.
"We are well beyond the point of isolated incidents or a coincidence of events," the mayor wrote of the department. " ... There are systematic management weaknesses at LADOT."