Editor’s Rant: Highland Park residents wake up to their cars towed — Obama in town

obama in highland park
This is where my finance’s truck was parked before being towed. 

There’s nothing like waking up on a beautiful Friday morning, to walk out and see that your car has been towed from your own home. Apparently our president, Barack Obama is in town today. And when I say “in town” I literally mean, he’s in OUR town today.

We live in the small town of Highland Park, Los Angeles. It’s a cool semi-suburban area of North East Los Angeles right next to nnyuth Pasadena. It’s not the usual parts of Los Angeles that Obama pays his visits, but apparently he used to live here when he attended Occidental college. Not to mention, his visit to our cozy area is due in part to his interview with comedian Marc Maron who runs his studio in his Highland Park garage. I take it Mr. Maron must live pretty close to our house because our neighborhood was noted as one of the “areas to avoid” from 8am-1pm, Friday, June 19.

My fiancé and I didn’t even know Obama was in town until late yesterday evening when we were surfing our Facbook feeds. Thanks to The Eastsider for giving us the heads up. We both had pretty busy mornings planned for Friday and were figuring the best routes to take to get in-and-out of our street.

It’a about 8 a.m. and my fiancé has a really busy day directing a concert for a certain pop star. He walks out the door to see that his truck is not where it should be. From our bedroom I hear him yell some words that I won’t repeat, and I immediately bolt for the door to see what’s up. Not only was our neighborhood noted as one of the “areas to avoid,” but apparently you can’t even park in front of your own home here. It looks like some “temporary towing” signs magically appeared overnight on our street, and in poor placement. And now there’s a bunch of LAPD police officers hanging out by our house. So Maron must like, be our neighbor.

obamaWould’ve been nice to have this posted in front of our house or at least our neighbor’s

Obama, his secret service, Mayor Garcetti, the City of LA, the city of Highland Park—none of them had the decency to alert residents on my street that our cars could be potentially towed from in front of our own home. There was no notice on our door, no letter in our mailbox, there was nothing. They didn’t even have to say that Obama was in the area, they could have just sent us a letter explaining temporary towing due to an event or some other BS. Even the signage that magically appeared was posted poorly. There is no temporary towing sign in front of our house, nor our nose-y viejita neighbor to the left, or the family that lives to the right of us; there’s not even a sign in front of the house next to them! So how is it okay to tow our truck, along with a few other neighbors? It’s not.

By this time, my fiancé has resorted to plan B and is taking his vintage BMW R90 motorcycle to work (since his truck was towed). While he executes his extremely busy work day, I take the lead on locating his truck and getting more information about this mess. I spoke with a really nice police officer and told him about our problem. He basically told me the secret service can do whatever they want. If they want to post temporary towing signs without notice or even just tow your car even though there is no signage warning you, they can do it.

I get it; the president is in town and that calls for some insane security measures. I totally respect that, but shouldn’t the president and his posse respect those of us that actually live here? Having your car towed is already a stressful matter to deal with, but having your car towed without proper warning from in front of your own home, makes the blood boil. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

After calling a very inept 311 (as directed on the temporary towing sign down my street), I went through an obstacle course of tracking down the correct towing company. It will cost us $77.80 to get the truck out and then we have to pay another $210 in other fees (tow, city release, daily storage). That’s a pretty hefty price tag of almost $300 that could be used on groceries, paying our bills and what not. On top of the monetary headache, now my fiancé has to somehow find the time out of his super busy work day and get to Elysian Park from Burbank to pay these ridiculous fees, bring his car back to our home, and then taxi back to his theater and resume his work day.

Mayor Garcetti or Obama should be footing the bill on this. It would be the right thing to do for those of us that were towed from in front of our own homes without notice or proper signage.

UPDATE: So my fiancé got his truck out of the tow yard this afternoon, not only did he pay $277, but he was greeted by a $97 ticket on his dashboard. Thanks, City of Los Angeles.

Words: Sandra Burciaga




12 thoughts on “Editor’s Rant: Highland Park residents wake up to their cars towed — Obama in town

  1. Sandy Post author

    @Norma — Well aren’t you lucky. If you actually took the time to READ the blog post, instead of making assumptions, you would have read that we weren’t as fortunate as you. There was no sign in front of our house, there was no sign in front of our neighbor’s house, there was no sign in front of our other neighbor’s house, there wasn’t even a sign across the street! “I’m tired of people” being too lazy to read an entire blog post and just reacting on a headline. I mean, if you’re too lazy to read, you can at least see by the leading photo that there is clearly no sign in front of our house. Duh.

  2. Norma Maldonado

    well that’s quite interesting considering the signs WERE up for 3 ENTIRE days. Maybe learn to take responsibility for not paying attention to your surroundings. The signs clearly stated “NO PARKING 6am – 1pm FRIDAY ONLY” and the towing didn’t begin until close to 7am. That’s the problem with today’s society, people get out their cars and the first thing they look at is their phones instead of checking to see if there were any new signs. That was actually the first thing I noticed was the big new sign hanging on the pole in front of our house this past week. So take this as a lesson learned and PAY ATTENTION. I’m tired of people in this neighborhood crying about this nonsense, the same BS happened with the Amgen tour people crying foul when their cars were towed and the signs were everywhere.

  3. Sandy Post author

    @Sass – Look at my photos. There were no signs in front of our house, there was no sign in front of my neighbors house on the left, nor my neighbors house on the right, nor the neighbors directly across the street from me. Signs need to be posted properly to alert residents; not poorly and cost them $400 after all is said and done.

  4. Sass

    There were 100% signs posted days in advance all the way up Ave 51. I drove by on Tuesday and saw signs. That is plenty of notice.

  5. RORO

    You can never win in this town! First it’s tagging, then gang bangers and now POTUS decides to come to our neighborhood and that still is another reason to complain. If $ 374 dollars gives you the freedom and the right to even write this article, you should feel privileged and proud to be an American. Recognize the fact that you aren’t being raped, your children aren’t being taken away in the middle of the night, and you have food on the table tonight. It was an honor to have him here to recognize just one little ounce of hope and humor this town has to give.

  6. Jenni

    So I guess the city expects residents to have superhuman eye vision so that they can read signs from a few houses down? Or eyes in behinds their head? What about people that don’t leave their homes everyday? How are they supposed to see these signs that aren’t in front of their houses or the ones next to them? They should have done a better job of posting these sings. Not everyone can afford to shell out $300.

  7. William

    My friend also got towed! He’s an editor and was pulling a 24 hour day and walked out to see his car gone. There were also no signs posted in visible sight. It’s not right that the city would do that. Signs need to be posted so every resident knows what’s going on and they should also be posted with at least 48 hours notice

  8. Zo

    Make sure to pound on Huizar’s and Cedillo’s doors about this, too. Their districts intermingle in HP. Should have had 24 hour notice!

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