Observing Los Angeles

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Reading between the lines, I'd guess that New York Times bureau chief Jennifer Steinhauer's most painful culture shock about moving to Los Angeles this year has been parking tickets. Her straight news piece today on the city's 1.3 million unpaid citations doesn't reveal names, but see what you think:

The 772 parking enforcement officers are as ubiquitous here as cars themselves, and woe unto the driver who cannot decipher street signs bearing multiple regulations. On a single corner may be three signs: No Parking 4-7. 15 Minute Parking 8-4. No Parking Tuesday.

A reporter who has lived in Los Angeles for a mere four months, for example, could have already racked up a ticket for blocking her own driveway, a second for not moving her car within seven minutes of the required time on street-cleaning day and two more in only two hours for allegedly parking on a residents-only side street.

But that is just an example.

She offers a new truism about Los Angeles that may be only slightly exaggerated: "This is a city where it is possible to not lay eyes on a police officer for three months and yet be assaulted by a dozen parking tickets in a week."


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