Going over the line with Laguna parking

From Canyon To Cove

May 28, 2010|Cindy Frazier
  • Louise and Brant Mittler on their Laguna Beach vacation.
Louise and Brant Mittler on their Laguna Beach vacation.

When is a $40 parking ticket more than a parking ticket? When the ticketee is a successful trial attorney.

Brant Mittler, a tourist from Texas, is still "hopping mad" ??? his words ??? at getting a parking ticket in Laguna Beach on April 29 for having tires over the line in a parking space in the Glenneyre Street parking structure.

And Mittler isn't one to back down from a fight. He's a personal injury attorney and practicing cardiologist in San Antonio who has won some major health-care damage awards in his day.

So he's not afraid to take on the city of Laguna Beach over its practice of ticketing folks for parking their cars on or over parking spot lines.

Here's his story:

Mittler and his wife, Louise, were having a lovely time in Laguna and decided to have lunch at Nick's restaurant. They pulled their car into the parking structure in the alley behind the restaurant. When they returned from their tasty, $50 lunch, their stomachs turned over when they saw a $40 parking ticket on the windshield.


And for what? Not for exceeding the time limit, or impeding another car. No, it was for being a little over the inside line of the parking space marker.

"This is an outrageous kind of ticket to give," Mittler said. "It's a victimless crime. It's just a tax on visitors and residents alike. Having your tires touching the inner line of the parking spot endangers no one. I personally observed two cars/trucks given that type of ticket ??? one on the Thursday afternoon of my ticket and another the Friday night the day after. I think this 'tax' falls mostly on visitors."

He was so outraged that he says this is the last time they'll come to Laguna Beach.

"Even though my wife and I loved being in Laguna Beach, we'll not go back because of this kind of police action," he said. "After all, if they are that strict on parking, they probably give out speeding tickets for being 1 mile above the speed limit or not turning your turn signal on soon enough prior to your turn. Obviously this is a little 'ticket' trap and who wants to live in constant fear of the police? We had a great time in San Diego and La Jolla and didn't have to worry about the parking police."

He added: "The last time I checked, the economy is not that hot. People have a choice about where they spend their vacations, and we can choose to go elsewhere."

And can Laguna Beach really afford to lose tourists over a little line-crossing?

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