Friday, May 20, 2011

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa orders end to 'Gold Card' program for officials to fix parking tickets

The gold card which was received by Ed Reyes office. Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News. (David Crane)

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has ordered an immediate end to the "Gold Card" program that allowed city politicians to request traffic tickets be fixed and is demanding a top-to-bottom review of the city's transportation agency.

The mayor's order came a day after City Controller Wendy Greuel released an audit that revealed the existence of the Gold Card Desk, a program that allowed elected officials and their staffs to file special expedited requests to have parking tickets dismissed or reduced.

"Every member of the public deserves equal treatment and even the appearance of preferential treatment is unacceptable," the mayor wrote to acting Department of Transportation head Amir Sedadi.

The audit said about half of the 2,000 requests for dismissal submitted through the Gold Card were granted over the last two years.

By comparison, the city issued about 2.3 million citations last year and of those, 200,000 were submitted for the normal administrative review process. About 40 percent of tickets under appeal were dismissed.

Villaraigosa sent a letter out Friday ordering the LADOT to halt the program and asked Greuel to conduct a full review of the department's management.


Ananda Lewis Jenny McCarthy Gisele B√ľndchen Rhona Mitra Ana Hickmann

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