West L.A. Couple Declares War on City’s Zealous Towing Policy

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City officials may have messed with the wrong couple when they towed a Little Osaka couple’s Toyota Sienna in September. Jerolyn Sackman and her husband J. David Sackman, an attorney, are suing the city over the tow and a judge will hear arguments on May 8, the L.A. Times reports.

Like many people going out of town for a few days, the Sackmans left their Sienna on the street before heading to LAX. They returned three days later; the same day the Sienna was towed and they were hit with $342 in fines. Here’s where the story gets crazy: the day the Sackmans left town, someone informed a parking enforcement officer and complained about the Sienna. The car was tagged and as soon as 72 hours was up, it was hauled away.

The Sackmans say there are two issues here. One: nowhere in the city are signs posted alerting drivers that their car cannot remain idle for 72 hours. Also, the policy of anonymous complaints leading to towing is a dangerous one, opening the door for retribution and discrimination (the Sackmans are an interracial couple, coincidentally or not).

Before suing, the couple contested the ticket on the grounds that they were not aware of this 72-hour rule; they lost. It would seem the Sackmans have the California Vehicle Code on their side—it says “a vehicle shall not be removed unless signs are posted giving notice of removal.” But as Deputy City Attorney Gerald Sato stated in court papers, earlier challenges to the unposted 72-hour limit have been mostly unsuccessful. Stay tuned.

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