By David Goldstein

LOS ANGELES ( – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that the city should refund potentially hundreds of drivers who may have been wrongfully ticketed by a faulty photo-enforcement camera in Watts.

On Monday, CBS2 exposed a faulty photo-enforcement camera at the Metro Blue Line crossing at East Century Boulevard and Grandee Avenue. At the intersection, the traffic light remains green at the same time the crossing gates come down.

CBS2 learned that in 2015, 34 photo enforcement tickets were issued at the intersection. In 2016, there were 807, an increase of more than 2,000 percent. If all paid, that equates to almost $400,000 in fines.

Last August, William Taylor of Watts received a $490 red light citation in the mail. Taylor decided to fight the ticket, pushing his case before the MTA. In January, an agency chief admitted, “I have reviewed the merits of your claim and frankly, I agree with you. I believe the light phasing is confusing for traffic and that you should be refunded.”

MTA spokeswoman Paula Tonilas told CBS2 that because of Taylor’s case, the intersection is now being redesigned. Another traffic light will be added to remove confusion. However, since last month, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has not stopped issuing tickets at the intersection despite the ruling on Taylor’s case.

On Wednesday, Garcetti, who is the first vice chair of the MTA Board Of Directors, told CBS2 that wrongfully ticketed drivers should “absolutely” get their money back.

“I would encourage MTA to refund those dollars, and for the sheriff to stop issuing those tickets until it’s fixed,” Garcetti said. “Certainly I would vote for that as an MTA leader.”

In 2014, CBS2 exposed city traffic officers issuing tickets for street cleaning in areas where the tickets shouldn’t have been written. Garcetti ordered a refund there as well.

“The cost was a couple of million dollars, but I think it was the right thing to do and I think Metro should as well,” Garcetti said.

When asked earlier about why people who may have wrongly been issued tickets were not being given refunds, Tonilas responded, “Well, we’re not going to be in the practice of letting people off the hook who broke the law.”

The MTA issued the following statement to CBS2 Wednesday evening.

“While Metro believes the light phasing and traffic light placement at the Century/Grandee crossing conforms to industry standards, due to concerns expressed, Metro will stop issuing citations at this intersection while we continue to review this matter and work with the City of Los Angeles to enhance the intersection with an additional near side traffic light.”

David Goldstein

Comments (2)
  1. Yj Draiman says:

    If you want to improve your lives and the lives of your fellow residents of Los Angeles, you must be willing to change the current administration which is a political machine for the present and previous elected officials; a political machine which will fight any attempts to change it; and will fight to make sure no outsiders gain entrance into this politically exclusive club.

    Ask yourselves what major change or project that advances the prosperity and vitality of this city has been accomplished in the past 4 years? The answer is a resounding NONE.

    For years the administration of the City of Los Angeles has failed the people of Los Angeles. It is time to elect an administration from the working people of Los Angeles, the non-politicians, the ones who owe their allegiance to the people of Los Angeles and to no one else. It is time to put into office a Mayor and administration willing to tell the people the way it is without any sugar coating or hidden agendas.

    The City of LA has been going downhill for at least the past 15 years and more. The budget and revenues do not cover the costs of running the city. The past political-machine administrations promised to turn L.A. around and back onto a path of fiscal responsibility. Yet, they failed and continue to fail in keeping those promises. Their promises are as hollow, as the rust is thick on their political machines.

    We must operate the city with responsible financial management and complete transparency. We must promote new businesses; fix the infrastructure, and our transportation system. Most importantly, we MUST improve our educational system and in so doing, give our children and grand-children the opportunity to succeed which they so richly deserve.

    I ask you to give me the chance to be your Mayor and put into place an administration truly representing the best interests of ALL the citizens of Los Angeles, not just those who are part of and support a political machine. It is time, for your sake and the sake of our city, to elect one of us and push the ineffective, rusted political machine to the curb.

    In this spirit of change I am promoting, I gladly reach my hand out to all of the candidates to form a cohesive force willing to work together to improve your lives, and to improve the city of Los Angeles with a relentless, UNIFIED effort to achieve this goal.

    Thank You!
    YJ Draiman – For Mayor of Los Angeles 2017

    YJ Draiman for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2017

  2. Molly Walker says:

    City and for-profit camera companies that take money from safe drivers with deliberately or accidentally improper engineering of the for-profit cameras rarely give back money that was essentially stolen from safe drivers with the improper engineering. If refunds actually happen in this case, it will be exception for returning money stolen from safe drivers under false pretenses.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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