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Villaraigosa Cancels Parking Ticket ‘Gold Card’, Orders LADOT Probe

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday cut up the “Gold Card” that helped a number of city officials get out of parking tickets and ordered an investigation of the Department of Transportation program.

Villaraigosa called for the probe in a letter sent to DOT Interim General Manager Amir Sedadi, saying the practice has gone “well beyond the point of isolated incidents or a coincidence of events.”

The letter follows a series of audits of LADOT by City Controller Wendy Greuel.

An audit released Thursday uncovered the existence of a ‘Gold Card Desk’ for city officials to call on behalf of constituents to expedite the review of parking violations.

Council members and the mayor’s office played down the controversial nature of the desk, saying it was poorly named and was used to help constituents with special needs, not to bestow special favors.

The mayor’s office released data Thursday showing that city council and mayoral staffers are the minority of users of the service.

About 90 percent of gold card calls came from LADOT over the last five years.

“I am directing you to discontinue the Gold Card Desk immediately and to establish a uniform system accessible to everyone for contested parking citation intake and adjudication,” Villaraigosa wrote.

The mayor said he ordered the city controller to hire an independent management consultant to do a “top-to-bottom management review” of the department, which is charged with issuing parking violations.

The review will touch on management policies and procedures, internal communications and protocol, record keeping and information systems, and contract and project management.

» RELATED STORY: Drivers Who Know How To Work System Make Parking Tickets Disappear


(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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