Letter of May 10, 2001, Netkin to LAPD Chief Parks
Letter of May 21, 2001,  Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski to Netkin
Letter of June 1, 2001,  Netkin to Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski
Report to Supporters, June 5, 2001, by Hal Netkin
Letter of June 8, 2001, Netkin to LAPD Chief Parks
Report to Supporters, June 10, 2001, by Hal Netkin
Letter of June 17, 2001, Netkin to LAPD Chief Parks
Small Claims Lawsuit Filed June 22, 2001
Letter of June 19, 2001, Bernard Parks (by Ronald W. Bergmann) to Netkin
Letter of June 23, 2001, Netkin to Bergmann
Summons served July 13, 2001
Daily News covered the story July 2, 2001
Bad News, Good News, July 31, 2001

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May 10, 2001
RE: Small Claims Suit
Sent via Certified Mail

Dear Chief Parks

As a block captain for eleven years in once lovely Van Nuys, on behalf of the residents and myself, I have been pleading with my council representative Cindy Miscikowski (and her predicessor Marvin Braude before her) and with your Van Nuys division to enforce illegal sidewalk vending on my block and in the area surrounding my neighborhood. According to VNPD's Sergeant Rob Lerner, Sidewalk and street vending of any kind (not just food) is Illegal in the city of Los Angeles.  Illegal vending violates zoning laws, health laws, creates trash, causes unsanitary use of public streets, invites gang extortion (of vendors), generally lowers the quality of life, and sets the city up for law suits by those who eat spoiled food.

VNPD's refusal to enforce illegal sidewalk vending has caused a significant drop in the value of my home. Based on the values of like homes in those parts of Van Nuys where there is no illegal street vending, Joel Levitt, a licensed California real estate broker, estimates that my property is worth at least $40,000 less than it would have been, had vending laws been enforced on a regular and timely basis in the period since you have been chief of police.

By way of this letter, you are being informed of a demand for compensation of $5,000, the maximum amount for which you may be sued in a single action in Small Claims Court.

According to the law, I must provide you with 45 days to compensate me. If you deny compensation in writing or fail to respond within 45 days of receipt of this letter, a Small Claims action will be filed against you.

Since the enforcement of the law against illegal sidewalk vending in a daily manner (not monthly sweeps) would result in the return of the value to my property, compensation may be in the form of a written promise to take immediate steps to enforce the law, in which case no further action would be taken unless your promise is not carried out within a reasonable time.

Please be aware that this small claims action is against you personally, not the police department, therefore you may not involve the city attorney or any other attorney other than for personal advice.

Respectfully,

Hal Netkin

ENC:  Photos of illegal street vending, Letter from Joel Levitt, Real Estate Broker
CC:    Sergeant Rob Learner, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, Captain Robert McNamara, VNPD
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CINDY MISCIKOWSKI
City of Loas Angeles
Councilwoman, Eleventh District
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Hal Netkin
Van Nuys

May 21, 2001

Dear Mr. Netkin:

Thank you for sending me a copy of your letter to Chief Bernard Parks regarding illegal street vending in the Van Nuys area. I wanted to let you know about some of the measures that are being taken to combat that problem.

You may be aware of the Van Nuys Targeted Neighborhood Initiative (TNI), a $3,000,000 federal program aimed at revitalizing the area around the Civic Center. Residents and business people in the community have been involved in determining how that money is spent. Much of it is being used to give a face-lift to Van Nuys Boulevard and you most likely have seen the new benches, trash cans and trees that have been installed. More is still to come with a beautiful brand new city building and new facades on some of the storefronts. Residents are in the process of creating a Historic Preservation Zone, which will be the only one in the San Fernando Valley.

One of the priorities of the TNI has been to do something about illegal venders. The Los Angeles Police Department, together with the Department of Building and Safety and the Health Department have gone out on numerous occasions confiscating carts and even arresting some of the vendors. Unfortunately, it doesn t take long for other vendors to take their places or for them to be back out there. The vendor sweeps generally take place on weekends because that is when the problem is the most severe and none of these departments have the personnel to do this on a daily basis.

A new program has just started in Van Nuys, which I hope will help to alleviate this situation. The program is called Community Court and it focuses on quality of life issues, such as illegal vending, graffiti, illegal dumping, etc. This program has been very successful in cleaning up areas like Times Square, in New York City. Basically, if an individual is arrested for any misdemeanor in the TNI area, that person will be assigned to perform community service in that area and will also be referred to a social service agency, if necessary. The program began this month and I am anxious to see how it will affect the area.

In the meantime, I am sending your photographs to Building and Safety s Proactive Code
Enforcement Unit (PACE). They are the primary enforcers of the illegal vendors and I will
request that they act on your concerns. You can contact Jon Sciberras of PACE, at (213)738-5620 or my Deputy, Sandy Kievman, at (818) 756-8150, with any future problems.

Sincerely,
Cindy Miscikowski

CC: Chief Bernard Parks, Captain Robert McNamara, Jon Sciberras

Valley Office
17547 Ventura Boulevard, Room 202
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 756-8150
(818) 756-9175 Fax
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HAL NETKIN
E-mail: halnet@pacbell.net
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June 1, 2001
RE: Small Claims Suit

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski
17547 Ventura Bl., Room 202
Encino, CA 91316

Dear Ms. Miscikowski:

Thank you for your response to my letter of May 10, 2001, to Chief Parks.

Having dealt with the problem of illegal vending in Van Nuys for the past eleven years, and dealing with your predecessor, Marvin Braude (and his assistant Judith Hershberg), your answers to the problem brings on a familiar deja vu. The mantras given as excuses have become unbearable.

I am aware of the $3,000,000 TNI program aimed at revitalizing the Van Nuys Civic Center. But don't you think you should make it a priority to fix what is causing the need for revitalization in the first place? Your "cure" brings to mind the guy who keeps mopping the floor instead of fixing the leak which is causing the sink to overflow. Revitalizing the Van Nuys Civic Center without ridding it of uncontrolled illegal vending, is just trying to make the best of an already bad situation.

I have said this many times to the VNPD, to the Department of Building And Safety, the L.A. County Health Department, and to you: OCCASIONAL STREET SWEEPS DON'T WORK!

The VNPD boasts that the "illegal vending task force" is doing a great job with their occasional sweeps in which they say they issue large numbers of citations to illegal vendors. This is hogwash. The only illegal venders that MAY have been issued citations are the ones busted during sweeps. As mentioned over and over, the LAPD attempts to enforce illegal street vending by mounting major sweep operations four or five times a year. Having gone on a sweep myself as an observer, it became obvious that these sweeps don't work. Here is why: The major objective of the sweeps is to confiscate the vendors' equipment and food or merchandise (I did not see any citations handed out to any of the illegal vendors). These sweeps might be effective if the vendors' equipment represented somewhat of a large capital investment, but almost all illegal street vendors use a stolen shopping cart stocked with homemade food that would make the health department cringe. But since on these sweeps the vast majority of these vendors are not cited (vendors know they will not be cited if they don't carry I.D.s), are not arrested, or punished in any way -- confiscating their equipment does not deter them from stealing another shopping cart, cooking up a new batch of food, and vending on the street again the next day. The sweeps are a waste of time and money! And ice cream vendors seemed to have some kind of special privilege. During the sweep, when I asked one of the police officers why ice cream vendors were not being cited or why their carts weren't impounded, I was told that the ice cream company pays the county health department $200.00 a year per cart for a health certificate. When I asked if that made it legal to street vend, I was told "no, but we leave them alone."

In addition to the vendors that station themselves on sidewalk locations along the Van Nuys Blvd shopping corridor, there are roving sidewalk vendors selling everything from ice cream to live turtles. I haven't complained about them much before, but the problem has escalated. They are now frequenting my block and other residential areas daily. Yes, our quality of life in Van Nuys is deteriorating because the LAPD doesn't want to enforce our laws.

Your hopes that a new Community Court can solve the problem is just another buck-pass. There is nothing complicated about enforcing a law such as the law against  illegal street vending -- ILLEGAL STREET VENDERS HAVE TO BE CITED ON A PROACTIVE BASIS! And that is all I am demanding. Enforce the law!

If you want to show examples of cities that don't have out-of-control illegal vending, you don't have to look at New York's Times Square. You needn't look any farther than the city of Burbank just seven miles east of Van Nuys. When you cross the city border, suddenly there is no illegal vending even though the demographics is similar to Van Nuys. When I spoke to a Burbank police officer in their public relations department, he told me that the reason that they have illegal vending under control is because they are pro-active in dealing with the problem, while Los Angeles police do nothing unless someone complains and then they still do nothing. I was told that in Burbank, the police do a complete confiscation and book any illegal vendor spotted at any time of the day. As a result of this policy, the police rarely encounter illegal vendors even though many of the vendors operating in Los Angeles, live in Burbank.

You said that the Building and Safety Proactive Code Enforcement Unit (PACE), is the primary enforcer of illegal vending. You are wrong. Illegal street vending is a city law enforceable primarily by the LAPD. I have dealt with the Department of Building and Safety before. In ridding a nightly taco vending operation on Vanowen Street on the vendor's front lawn, it took about one month to get someone from the Department of Building and Safety down to the taco location several times because they had to put in for special overtime to do a bust after hours. How do you expect a city department whose hours are from 8 to 5 with weekends off, to enforce illegal vending laws that do not take place at the convenience of that Department?

Had you in the past  been seriously listening to our complaints about out of control  illegal vending in Van Nuys and done your job in representing us, my present actions would probably not have been necessary. As it is, I am simply asking that the LAPD (VNPD) simply enforce an existing law.

I will not contact PACE, since, as I have said, the responsibility for enforcing illegal street and sidewalk vending is the LAPD's. However, if chief parks believes that PACE will solve the problem, then he should contact them -- not me. I gave Chief Parks 45 days from receipt of my letter of May 10, which he received on May 16 before serving him. Chief Parks will be served with a Small Claims Summons on or about July 2, 2001 unless he notifies me before then by letter with a plan of positive action to end rampant illegal street vending in Van Nuys.

Sincerely,

Hal Netkin

CC: Chief Bernard Parks, Captain Robert McNamara -- VNPD

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June 5, 2001. Report by Hal Nektin

This morning, I received a call from the Van Nuys Police Dept. I spoke to  Sergeant Rick Gibby who asked for a meeting that evening to talk to me. He didn't say what about, but I was sure at the time that he was asked by his superiors to quiet me down about the small claims action I am taking against Chief Parks. I was right, Sergeant Gibby was asked by his superiour, Captain McNamara, to try to work something out to please me. He tried to convince me that the VNPD was doing everything possible against illegal vending. I didn't buy it and reminded him that when you cross the Burbank city line only seven miles west of my house in Van Nuys, illegal vending dissappears. Gibby responded by saying "they have a zero tolerance (for illegal vending)." I said that, that was what I wanted for our Van Nuys community. He asked me if I wanted to ride along on the next  sweep. I said yes. But when I told him that I expect to see all illegal vendors, including ice cream vendors, cited and their equipment confiscated, he seemed to back down on my ride, saying, "I'll see what I can do." I made it clear that I was going through with the Small Claims action.

Hal
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June 8, 2001,  RE: Small Claims Suit
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Chief Bernard Parks
Los Angeles Police Department
POB 30158
Los Angeles, CA 90030

Dear Chief Parks

I have received a letter from the City Clerk advising that I take up my complaint with them (copy attached).

As I mentioned in my letter of May 10, 2001, this small claims action is against you personally, not the police department or the City of Los Angeles, therefore you may not involve the city clerk or the city attorney or any other attorney other than for personal advice.

You will be served a summons on or slightly after July 2, 2001. Should you decide to take the necessary action to enforce the law against illegal street and sidewalk vending before then, I will drop the action.

Sincerely,

Hal Netkin

CC:
Sergeant Rick Gibby, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, Captain Robert McNamara, VNPD

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June 10, 2001. Report by Hal Netkin.

I have been advised that my planned Chicharon sale in front of Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski's office should not take place before the Small Claims action is resolved. This is because my agenda should stick to what was called for in the original letter of May 10, but that I should keep the demonstration option after the Small Claims suit is settled whether I win or not.

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From HAL NETKIN

June 17, 2001
RE: Illegal Street & Sidewalk Vending

Chief Bernard Parks
Los Angeles Police Department
POB 30158
Los Angeles, CA 90030

Dear Chief Parks:

In reaction to my impending Small Claims Lawsuit against you, I was invited by Sergeant Rick Gibby of the Van Nuys PD to ride along on Thursday, June 14, 2001, as a citizen observer of a "street sweep" aimed at controlling illegal street and sidewalk vending.

To begin with, I would like to commend the LAPD officers and the DBS (Department of Building & Safety) officers for the professionalism they displayed.

There are many shortcomings in the way the LAPD tries to control illegal street vending. The most obvious of all, is that there is no deterrence built into the way the problem is handled -- no one is arrested, fined, or punished in any way that will deter the offenders from going back to illegal vending the next day. To better delineate my findings, I will make my written presentation partly in plain description form and partly in a paraphrased catechismal form.

I was given to understand that I would witness a massive street sweep of individual vendors, but the sweep turned out to be the bust of three residential houses where food was being prepared for the later sale by illegal street vendors. After the three busts which took several hours, the DBS and LAPD group broke for lunch (I joined them). After lunch, with not much time left, the group busted only two illegal vendors operating at two different elementary schools as the children let out. This took about one hour.

The entourage consisted of three officers of the DBS, seven LAPD officers, and a trash truck operator. Considering that these sweeps hardly put any dents in illegal vending, it seems not to be cost effective.

I was allowed to video record the events as long as no DBS or LAPD officers were in the shots (no explanations was given).

Q) (to DBS officer). Don't you need a search warrant to enter someone's property?
A) No, only the police need a warrant. We don't need one because it is a health issue.

Q) (to DBS officer). Aren't health issues handled by the health department?
A) Yes, but the DBS also handles these kind of health issues.

Q) (to DBS officer). You seem to be doing everything including the writing of citations.  Why do you need police with you?
A) To protect us -- they carry guns, we don't.

Q) (to DBS officer). Why do you need seven LAPD officers? They just are standing around chatting.
A) How many police are here, isn't up to me.

Q) (to DBS officer). Why didn't you cite the guy in charge in the first and third house, but you did cite the guy in charge in the second house.
A) Because the guy in the second house was warned before. This is the second time we busted him, so he was cited.

Q) (to DBS officer). I noticed that there seemed to be safety violations at the houses, especially the second house which had obvious electrical and sanitation violations and was so filthy, that it appeared to me to be uninhabitable for the many occupants including a toddler. Why don't you cite the slumlords that own these houses?
A) We didn't come here for that today.

Q) (to DBS officer by LAPD officer) How often can you guys do these sweeps?
A) We can do them anytime you guys want us to.

Q) (To LAPD officer). I noticed that when the DBS officer cited the second guy, the second guy didn't have any ID. What information did the DBS officer use?
A) He took the second guy's word for it and assumed he was telling the truth about his name and that he was the renter of the house.

Q) (To LAPD officer). I was told that if the suspects didn't have IDs, that you would arrest them. Why wasn't this guy arrested?
A) We just don't have the resources to arrest and book vendors. And besides, the prosecutor won't prosecute anyway.

Q) (To LAPD officer). So if an illegal vendor knows that if he doesn't carry an ID, he is guaranteed impunity. Is that right?
A) Well as you can see, they are sometimes issued a citation which requires them to go to court.

Q) (To LAPD officer). How do you know that the vendor is giving you his right name and address?
A) We don't. They are probably illegal aliens who don't have proper IDs.

Q) (To LAPD officer). What's the probability that they will show up in court?
A) I don't know, that's not my responsibility.

Q) (To LAPD officer). So what do you do if they don't show up in court?
A) I don't know, that's not my responsibility.

Q) (To LAPD officer). Why not have an INS officer with you?
A) The illegals would panic and scatter. We wouldn't have control.

Q) (To LAPD officer). Forget vendors for a moment. What do you do if you stop someone for a traffic infraction who doesn't have an ID?
A) We impound their car.

Q) (To LAPD officer). What if the car was just stolen?
A) We wouldn't know it if it had not yet been reported as stolen.

Q) (To LAPD officer). Let me get this straight. Suppose that I am a serial killer who just stole a car and did not have an ID with me, and you stopped me for speeding. If you impounded the stolen car I was driving, you would then simply let me go?
A) Yes, most of the time you would get a free pass.

Q) (To LAPD officer). Under what conditions would you arrest someone who did not have an ID?
A) Only if the suspect had an attitude problem or made verbal threats and I had the time.

Q) (To LAPD officer). So if I am a smart serial killer, I would know that I should never have an ID on my person and I should be polite to LAPD police officers?
A) Right.

Q) (To LAPD officer -- asked the same question as before). How will you or the DBS know if the second guy who was cited, shows up in court?
A) We don't. Once our work here is finished, it's out of our hands unless we are called as a witness.

COMMENTS: At this writing, I have left two messages for Tom Pruett, one of the DBS officers on the sweep who issued the citation, to call me so that I can ask him how I can follow up on the citation and attend the hearing on the court date. Thus far, he hasn't returned my call.

When an ice cream vendor, was busted at Sylvan Elementary School, his supply of ice cream was thrown in the trash truck. And since he didn't have a license from the county health department, the cart was confiscated (if they have a county health license, then the ice cream is destroyed, but the cart is released to the vender who goes on his way).

Q) (To LAPD officer). You just confiscated the vendor's cart, but you didn't cite him. How will that deter him from illegally vending again?
A) The owner of the cart will be cited when he shows up to get his cart out of impound.

Q) (To LAPD officer). Do you really believe that the owner will show up to retrieve his cart?
A) I don't know

OPINION SUMMARY:
There seems to be lack of leadership and policy on how to handle Los Angeles law violators who do not carry IDs. I was shocked that murderous felons can get away with crime if they know enough not to carry IDs.

One should not forget that it is also illegal to vend goods other than food, thus it would seem that enforcement of illegal vending is not always a health issue. Since illegal vending takes place at times that do not coincide with the DBS non-overtime hours and non-working weekends, it is clear that the primary enforcement lies directly with the LAPD.

The LAPD is not regarded by illegal vendors, as a threat. Illegal vendors know that they can go right back into business after being busted. Loss of equipment such as shopping carts, home made carts, or the boss's ice cream cart does not deter the individual vendor from going back into business the next day. The "friendly to illegal vendors" LAPD sends the message that it is virtually legal to be illegal.

Chief Parks, can you explain to me why INS officers are not invited on these busts (the reason given by one of the LAPD officers that the illegals will scatter is absurd)?

Illegal vending will never be controlled unless the LAPD gets serious about enforcing the law. The bottom line is that to eliminate illegal vending, illegal vendors who do not have proper IDs will have to be arrested in a proactive way or arrested when a citizen complains.

I would appreciate your comments to this letter.

Sincerely,

Hal Netkin

CC:
Sergeant Rick Gibby, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, Captain Robert McNamara, VNPD, Tom Pruett -- Dept of Building & Safety.

Posted on the MayorNo website <www.MayorNo.com>


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FROM: BERNARD C. PARKS (by Ronald W. Bergmann)
Chief of Police
P.O. Box 30158
Los Angeles, CA 90030

Telephone:(818) 756-8303
Ref #:1.7
www.lapdonline.org

June 19, 2001

TO: Mr. Hal Netkin
Van Nuys, CA 91405

Dear Mr. Netkin:

Thank you for your correspondence of May 10, 2001, in which you expressed your concerns regarding illegal sidewalk vending in and around your neighborhood. Your interest in this particular problem is not unique to the Van Nuys Area and does have an impact on the quality of neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles. This has not fallen on deaf ears.

I understand that Sergeant Rick Gibby has met with you and forwarded your concerns to the specific Senior Lead Officers assigned to your neighborhood. I further understand that you have been invited to participate in a ride-along during a vendor task force that will take place on June 14, 2001. Please understand that an occasional vendor task force or sweep will not eliminate the problem entirely, however, it should address your concerns in the near term. As resources permit, Van Nuys Area will continually seek to balance the needs of the various neighborhoods throughout the community.

Once again, I want to thank you for your interest in this issue. If you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to telephone Sergeant Gibby, Van Nuys Basic Car Coordinator, at
(818) 756-9485.

Very truly yours,

BERNARD C. PARKS
Chief of Police
RONALD W. BERGMANN, Deputy Chief
Commanding Officer
Operations-Valley Bureau
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FROM: HAL NETKIN
POB 3465
VAN NUYS, CA 91407
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June 23, 2001
RE: Small Claims Suit

Ronald Bergmann, Deputy Chief
Los Angeles Police Department
POB 30158
Los Angeles, CA 90030

Dear Deputy Chief Bergmann:

Thank you for your letter of June 19, 2001, in which you answered for Chief Parks regarding my complaint about unenforced laws against rampant illegal street and sidewalk vending in and around my neighborhood. I am very much aware that the problem is not unique to the Van Nuys area -- in general, I am also concerned about illegal vending in other parts of the city as well.

You say that the problem hasn't fallen on deaf ears. Your wrong. I have been pleading for enforcement of illegal vending laws for the past eleven years and the problem is getting worse. One only has to look at the McArthur Park area to see what can happen to a once exclusive area.

Before Captain McNamara headed the VNPD, it was headed by Captain Wemmer who once said to a group of us in a town hall meeting "if you don't quickly replace one pane of class, soon the rest will be broken." Those were nice words, but they were only words. And so my complaints regarding illegal vending have, over the years, passed through many deaf ears.

I have many times given the City of Burbank as an example of zero tolerance to illegal street vending. The usual answer I get from the LAPD is that the demographics are different. Then I say: SO WHAT! Does the LAPD enforce the law more for certain demographics than it does for others? Does the LAPD believe that the citizens of Van Nuys don't deserve their quality of life laws enforced as well as they are enforced in Brentwood because the demographics are different? But if demographics are at issue, consider this: Twenty five years ago, Van Nuys was as lovely a city as Burbank or the many other cities that enforce their laws. I submit that lack of enforcement by the VNPD has made Van Nuys a haven for illegal vendors. It is the political attitude that the VNPD has towards illegal vendors that has caused the demographic change. In other words, if over the years, the VNPD had been enforcing the laws as they should have, illegal vending in Van Nuys would be nonexistent today  -- just like Burbank.

The ride-along I went on was very revealing (see attached letter of June 17, to Chief Parks). In fact, It doesn't take a genius to figure out why Van Nuys is so attractive to illegal street vendors. The simple truth is that there is no deterrent action taken against street vendors. They are not fined, arrested, or punished in any way. And the occasional confiscation of their stolen shopping carts and homemade food is not a deterrent for very obvious reasons.

I was told by some LAPD officers that there was indeed punishment. That the illegal vendors are cited and must go to court -- that is if they have an ID to show. On the two vendor sweep ride-alongs I have been on, I have yet to see an illegal vendor who carried an ID. It seems that the vendors are well aware that they should never leave home with their IDs. They know that if they don't carry IDs, they get a free pass.

I asked several LAPD officers how many illegal vendors, who they claim do get cited, actually show up on the court date, and what action is taken against those who do not show up. I was told that I would have to ask Tom Pruett of the DBS (Department of Building & Safety) .

I asked Tom Pruett of the DBS who is the person who issued the one and only citation on the four hour ride-along, how I could follow up on the effectiveness of citations. Here is the email message I sent to him:

"...I would like any data you have that shows how many vendors that are cited, show up in court, and what action the court usually takes against those that do show up..."

The answer I got from Pruett was this:
FOR INFORMATION CALL CITY ATTORNEY  DAREN  MARTINEZ  AT  213-847-0564

When I called Daren Martinez, he passed the buck back to the DBS and told me that I should make a request under the California Public Records Act to Andrew Adelman, General Manager and Superintendent of the DBS. My god! Doesn't anybody know what happens after the illegal vendors are cited? Do you know? I can understand to some extent that different departments handle different things, but it is incomprehensible to me that no one at LAPD is at least curious about what happens to the persons cited or what action is taken if there is a no-show in court. How does the LAPD know what works?

I decided that I shouldn't have to grovel for information that is easily and quickly attainable by high ranking police officers like yourself. Please provide for me the following information: 1) How many illegal vendors did the LAPD and/or the DBS cite in Van Nuys over the last 12 months? 2) How many of those cited showed up in court? 3) Of those who showed up in court, what was their sentence? 4)What was done to find those illegal vendors who were cited but did not show up in court? (Note that you are obligated to provide me with the above information under the California Public Records Act).

If Sergeant Rick Gibby forwarded my concerns to my Senior Lead Officer, I would like to know who that officer is. First there was Officer Verdin. When he took a sick leave, it took about one month before Officer White took Verdin's place. No sooner was Officer White my Senior Lead Officer, when he was assigned to the Motorcycle unit. It took about another month before I was called by officer Ham who told me that he was my new Senior Lead Officer. After the first week of having Officer Ham as my Senior Lead Officer (who I met on the ride-along) he told me that he was going on a long vacation in a week. When I asked him who would sub for him as the Senior Lead Officer during his vacation, he said, incredibly, that he didn't know. So I am without a Senior Lead officer at this time. I also got a call from a Sergent Courtland (I don't know how he got into the picture) who said he would contact me regarding my concerns after the Laker game. I haven't heard from him up to this writing.

Not hearing from Chief Parks after allowing for a long time period to offer a plan of action to correct the way in which illegal vending laws are enforced, I filed a small claims action against him on June 22, 2001. A court date is set for July 31, 2001. But it is not too late to drop the action if the Chief will present a plan of action which is aimed at a zero tolerance policy with regards to illegal vending in Van Nuys. Here are some suggestions which, in my opinion, will accomplish the objective quickly.

1. Automatically arrest any illegal vendors if they do not have a verifiable identification (it is understandable that there are times when there are higher priorities and police cannot take the time to arrest illegal vendors, but I have seen many times on Van Nuys Blvd, a couple of officers in their police car chatting and laughing while waiting for the light to change, while all around them, illegal vendors were doing business). If there is a problem of having to take their goods to the station, I suggest that you put "caution tape" around the goods (usually nothing more than a shopping cart) until the proper authority can impound it.
2. If once arrested the vendor cannot produce any evidence of legal residency, they should be turned over to the INS (this does not violate LAPD's Special Order 40).
3. The city should bring suit against companies such as Miers Ice Cream who knowingly send their vendors to illegally vend on the sidewalks of Van Nuys (and other Los Angeles districts).
4. Councilwoman Miscikowski should use some of the TNI money to post signs on the Van Nuys Blvd corridor which say in both English and Spanish, "Street Vending is Prohibited" (Such a request of Marvin Braude when he was the councilman of this district, was answered by his then deputy Judith Hershberg when she said that such signs would be eyesores -- as if illegal vendors are not eyesores).

Please take my suggestions seriously, as it should not be assumed that all illegal vendors are just hardworking, honest persons who just want to make a living -- some may be felons who don't carry IDs.

Sincerely,

Hal Netkin

P.S. I am also enclosing a letter which has personal significance, sent in June of 2000 to Sargent Rob Lerner of VNPD and Councilwoman Miscikowski and again this month to Councilwoman Miscikowski. The letter went to deaf ears.

CC: Chief Bernard Parks, Sergeant Rick Gibby, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, Captain Robert McNamara, VNPD, Tom Pruett -- Dept of Building & Safety, Daren Martinez, City Attorney's office.

Posted on the MayorNo website <www.MayorNo.com>

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