city government

Rude Employees and Ticket Gouging at Pasadena Transportation Department

Posted July 23, 2018
By Bosco Buchannon

We got a call from Tarik Ross informing us that he felt like he had been disrespected by the employees at the Pasadena Transportation Department (DOT).

Tarik had received 3 parking tickets and paid them all on time, but the City of Pasadena charged him late fees on all of the tickets. When he went to the DOT he was told that he had been charged correctly and it was his responsibility to pay the fees on time. He continued to try to explain that he had paid the tickets on time and a mistake had been made. The supervisor, a Black woman by the name of Hilda never showed him proof that he had paid the fees late. What she did was tell him repeatedly that the responsibility to pay on time was his. Tarik asked to speak to someone with a brain because it was obvious that Hilda couldn't comprehend what he was explaining to her. He hadn't paid the fees late and a refund was due to him for what he had overpaid. 

Frustrated with the lack of compassion to do their jobs at the DOT, Tarik went across the street to City Hall. There he was able to talk to John who got on his computer and looked over the information Tarik had given him. John saw that Tarik had actually paid his tickets on time, but the city didn't process them until after they were delinquent. John told Tarik to go back to the DOT for his refund.

When we got to the DOT the next day, Hilda came out and gave Tarik the paperwork he needed to fill out to receive his refund. Hilda came out with the paper, so she knew that a mistake had been made, but she didn't apologize for her lack of help the day before. Mistakes are made and all people want in most cases is resolution and if it's needed, an apology. Hilda didn't do that. 

Tarik asked Hilda why she was so rude the day before and her response was to ignore him and she only communicated with him about filling out the paperwork she had brought out. When he asked her again why she was so rude, Hilda's response was, "If you're going to continue that way I will not help you." She continued to speak to him as if he didn't matter, his money didn't matter, and he was beneath her.

While Tarik was dealing with Hilda, another man entered the office and asked for two overnight passes for three days each. The woman behind the bulletproof glass counter didn't simply assist him by giving him the passes he asked for (They sell the passes in that office). Instead, she asked him if he had gone to a kiosk in front of one of the fire stations in the city. The man explained that the machine wouldn't take his credit card. He was an elderly man who honestly shouldn't even have been asked about the kiosk because he was there to pay for a service they provide. Basically, they don't want to be bothered at the DOT. They are being paid by the citizens of Pasadena but don't really want to work to get that check. I personally witnessed three women say something smart to Mr. Ross. They have terrible attitudes toward the people who pay them and they serve. In the end, Tarik told Hilda he was right and she was wrong. Her reply was, "If that makes you feel better, and handed him his money. All she had to do was apologize for the mistake she made, but she refused to.

On top of the rudeness, it made us wonder how many people have been charged late fees and paid them because city workers processed the paperwork late. This racket could be bringing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The parking laws in the city already favor the DOT because you have to pay to park on the streets of Northwest and Old Town. I have friends who live on the east side of the city and cars are always parked on the street at night all night without being ticketed and if they are ticketed you can believe the ratio is much greater in other parts of town. I'm sure the majority of the overnight parking tickets come from the two areas stated. The laws target the poor and the overly populated, which would be Old Town. There isn't enough parking in the area for friends to visit without fear of a parking ticket day or night in Old Town.

It isn't illegal to park on the streets overnight, you just have to pay to do. If the kiosk at the fire station isn't working, then you have to drive to another and another until you find one that works. If you get tired of searching for fire stations then you either have to leave take a chance on getting a ticket.

If you have had a ticket that you are sure you paid on time but a late fee occurred, you need to double check, because the City of Pasadena may just have a ticket gouging scam going on. In a lot of cases, the charges come after the original ticket was paid and people don't know about the late fees until they go to register their car.  At that point, most just pay the extra fee because they need the car to be registered.