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No More Tickets At Broken Meters


Until this last July, meter readers in Los Angeles ticketed people who parked at broken meters. Democrat Assemblyman Mike Gatto argued the practice should be illegal.

"There were a number of cities across California that were considering policies like this that would have undone almost 90 years of parking meter law," said Gatto.

"Since the dawn of parking meter, it was just an accepted fact that if the meter was broken and if the city had failed to fix it, that you could park there for free."

~Assemblyman Mike Gatto  

The law protects against any meter failure including power or phone service interruptions to newer, multi-space kiosks.

At a kiosk in Sacramento, Dave Whitin considered the concept of paying twice for something that doesn't work.

"I pay for taxes that supposedly maintain things and then when things get broken down, I pay a second time," Whitin said. "What kind of sense is that?"

Assemblyman Gatto said Los Angeles was the largest city to allow broken-meter tickets, but other cities had considered or implemented similar practices. He calls them unfair.

"They do I guess what's called 'congestion pricing' in San Francisco where the price of certain digital meters goes up if there is fewer digital meters online," he said. "So, what was happening in San Francisco is they were leaving the meters broken so that the price of the existing meters could go up."   

The Los Angeles City Council repealed its parking ordinance in July -- after the State Assembly and Senate had passed Gatto's bill. 

The State Legislature will likely review this subject again in the next few years. The law expires in 2017. 


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