While hundreds of volunteers spent the last three weekends sprucing up Hollywood, the city's Parking Violations Bureau was making a clean sweep of its own.
A beefed-up force of officers towed 241 cars and wrote 575 tickets on Oct. 4 and Oct. 10--the final two days of the cleanup project. They levied an estimated $30,000 in fines on those two days.
Temporary "no parking" signs had been posted on a number of streets in the area to make room for volunteers and street sweepers.
The city often posts temporary signs for such cleanups, as well as for on-street construction, movie shoots and tree trimming. However, officials said, an unusual number of people ignored the signs in Hollywood.
"It's probably because the area is so congested," said Chuck Devereaux, a city parking enforcement manager. "These cleanups are common in various districts. We've had several in the last few months, but I don't think we've had any where (towing) has been this extensive."
City Councilman Michael Woo organized the cleanup, which was held on Sept. 26 and Oct. 4 and 10. Woo predicted there would be complaints about the temporary signs, which were posted on north-south streets.
And the number of towings and citations could have been higher: Parking officers did not enforce the parking restrictions on the first day of the cleanup.
Notified Towing Companies
However, on the last two days the Parking Violations Bureau sent extra officers to the area and notified local towing companies that there might be a great number of cars impounded.
In the aftermath of these towings, Woo's office reported that only a handful of people have called to complain.
"Our response has been that the signs were posted several days beforehand, so there was fair notice to everyone," said Bill Chandler, a spokesman for Woo. "We needed the cars gone to clean the streets very thoroughly."
As of last Thursday, 20 people had appealed their fines to the Parking Violations Bureau. Only two of those 20 had their fines dismissed, Devereaux said.
The city charges $58 plus $8 a day for impounded cars. The parking tickets cost $28.