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Crazytown

How L.A. Just Criminalized Valet Parking

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 9:07 AM

click to enlarge THE SOON-TO-BE REGULATED BEVERLY CENTER VALET STAND VIA CHRIS YARZAB / FLICKR.
The L.A. City Council has created a new law in search of a problem. In this case, the problem is valet parking. You know, the scourge of a town with fewer and fewer spaces and plenty of high rollers who don't mind having Mexicans find them one.

Yesterday the council voted unanimously to enact strict valet regulations, including a $70 permit fee for those minimum-wage earners who park your car and misdemeanor punishment for those who don't pay that fee. Really:

That can be a day's pay. The lowly valet will hand over more to do his job than some people will to park their Bugattis. What's next, a dish-washing fee? (We probably shouldn't have brought it up).

Why? Mayor Eric Garcetti first brought up the idea when he was still Hollywood's councilman. At the time he wrote this:

... Some valet services engage in such practices as price gouging and illegally parking of cars in non-permitted lots or in nearby neighborhoods. The effective regulation of the valet service industry in Los Angeles would lead to increased consumer confidence, less congestion, improved parking management, enhanced public safety, and the recovery of lost parking revenue that results from the parking of cars in non-permitted lots

Lost parking revenue? Sounds like a gift to L.A.'s powerful parking lot owners.

In fact, lot owners will have to vouch for valet services by filing letters with the city, letters that verify they have legit spaces for use, according to the ordinance.

See where this is going? Private property owners now hold the keys to the valet kingdom.

The new law, endorsed by the current Hollywood City Councilman, Mitch O'Farrell, would require valets to carry special ID cards. Valet companies would also have to fork over money to the city bureaucracy, $314 worth.

click to enlarge PAUL SWANSEN / FLICKR

O'Farrell:

The Valet Parking Ordinance will greatly enhance the visitor experience in my district, which has some of the top dining and entertainment destinations in the City of Los Angeles.

Sounds like it will enhance the city's coffers, too.

L.A. can now also impose extra fees for the use of street parking as nighttime valet stops. Oh, and there's a possible "street usage fee" for just, you know, driving the cars down the street en route to parking. Yep.

Wonder if City Hall will charge extra for pothole usage.

Park a car without a valet permit? Misdemeanor. Gives a whole new meaning to being undocumented.

Of course, you can still sell medical marijuana at the thousand or so pot shops in L.A. without so much as a bud-tender permit or toking fee. At least so far.

After all, this is a business-friendly town. Just ask the mayor.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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