Enforcement to Service: Rebranding Negative Views of L.A. Parking Officers

Jennifer Sabih speaks with LADOT Officer Enrique De La Cruz for a segment of KCET's 'SoCal Connected' | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

A segment on our award-winning TV show "SoCal Connected" has been produced in tandem with this story. Watch it here now.

It's an age-old story: Drivers think parking enforcement officers spend their time waiting to nail someone with a ticket. Enforcement officers, on the other hand, are disgruntled because they have a host of responsibilities outside of writing you up for parking in a space too long.

A new mandate from the city's Parking Enforcement and Traffic Control Division may be the catalyst needed to start reconciling both sides. Special Order No. 168 -- sent out earlier this month -- instructs all officers in the division of steps they must take to seek compliance from drivers when issuing them citations.

L.A.'s Demand-Based Parking Program Moving in 'Exactly the Right Direction'

A segment on our award-winning TV show "SoCal Connected" has been produced in tandem with this story. Watch it here now.

Two years into downtown Los Angeles' demand-based parking program seeking to reduce traffic congestion, lower air pollution, and boost transit efficiency, parking officials say the project is improving parking availability while bolstering the city's revenue.

Launched in May 2012 as part of a $210 million demonstration initiative, the LA Express Park program tracks downtown street parking through wireless sensors in a 4.5-square-mile area. Parking meter rates are adjusted using data from the sensor -- rates increase when demand is highest, while rates are lowered in areas with less demand.

Express Park is currently expanding into Westwood Village, with plans to extend to Hollywood in 2015, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

"Everything is moving in exactly the right direction," said Peer Ghent, project manager of LA Express Park. "Parking occupancy in all areas has gone up, and that's reflected by the general improvement of the economy and the impact of development downtown."

But while more people are parking downtown, it's hard to tell if that's because of the burgeoning program or other factors, Ghent noted.

"It's difficult without a control group to say what would have been if we hadn't changed prices," he says. "What I do know is that our revenue has gone up by 2.5 percent and the average price has gone down at about 11 percent of spaces."

Bill to Correctly I.D. Same-Sex Parents on Birth Certificates Heads to Governor

California birth certificates might see a few modifications pending a bill that is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
| Photo courtesy of the Office of Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez.

California birth certificates could be getting a makeover after a bill pushing for the accurate identification and self-designation of same-sex couples on birth certificates was sent to the Governor this week.

AB 1951 would eliminate the need for same-sex parents to inaccurately place a partner's name in the wrong "Father" or "Mother" field, according to the bill's language. Instead, same-sex couples would be able to fill out the following options on a child's birth certificate: Mother, Father, and a gender-neutral parent option.

Community Colleges Could Offer Four-Year Degrees as Bill Moves Forward

A bill authored by a San Diego lawmaker allowing community colleges to offer four-year degrees when a local workforce need is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after being passed by the Senate today.

State Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, described SB 850 as a jobs bill.

"This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California's higher education system and our workforce preparedness," Block said. "SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training now when California faces a major skills gap in our workforce."

7-Year-Old House Resolution About Comfort Women Continues to Make News

Comfort women survivors Ok-Seon Lee (L) and Il-Chul Kang (R) at a press conference in front of the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse announcing their arrival to the U.S. on July 22, 2014. | Photo: Amy Lieu/KCET

Two women traveled thousands of miles from Korea last month for an important trip to the U.S. They came to demand an apology from Japan while asking for help from the U.S. government for their imperative mission.

The two are comfort women, a term that describes young women who were coerced, abducted, or deceived into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. They were beaten, brutalized, raped, burned, and even mutilated.

Ok-Seon Lee and Il-Chul Kang traveled to California in late July to bring more attention to a Congressional resolution urging Japan to formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility for these acts. House Resolution 121, also known as the "Comfort Women Resolution," passed seven years ago. Japan still has not offered a formal apology.

DAs Urge Equal Treatment for Human Trafficking, Gang Offenses

Senator Marty Block speaks at a press conference at the State Capitol on Monday urging the passage of measures to treat human trafficking offenses with the same severity as gang offenses.
| Photo: Courtesy Lorie Shelley/Office of Sen. Marty Block

The district attorneys of Riverside and San Diego counties joined a state senator Monday to urge passage of bills to treat human trafficking crimes committed by gang members with the same severity as other gang offenses, and to streamline prosecution of human trafficking.

The measures -- both authored by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego -- are subject to a final vote by the state Legislature this week.

Senate Bill 473 would add human trafficking to the list of 33 crimes that define a criminal street gang under the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act. The anti-gang laws include strict penalties, but the statute has not been updated to include gang involvement in human trafficking, according to Block.

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