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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DPW Gives No Citations and Inspects TWO DAYS AFTER Tow-Away Permit Expires for Champion Cleaning

Before you start reading this blog entry: If you haven't read the entire saga, start with the initial story, the laws I reference, and a first update.

Calling 311 for a Case Update
After I filed a report with 311, and was forwarded to the Department of Public Works for an inspection to be completed, I didn't hear a peep until I called 311 for an update this evening.

The update I was given by the 311 operator about my case, the DPW inspector went to the location on JULY 29TH.  That's TWO DAYS after the construction signs expired and the construction crew finished the job; this meant the DPW inspector could not site Champion Cleaning for breaking multiple laws, including the Transportation and Public Works Codes (click here to review the laws I cite for this particular incident).

Also, didn't the inspector notice the traffic cones with the signs on them too?  The cones with the signs are still on the streets today (July 30th).  The laws explicitly states it must be posted on wood, metal, a construction fence, and a wood/metal pole (e.g. telephone pole and parking meter pole).  Putting it on a traffic cone is unacceptable.

The watch says 7/28. It's an atomic watch. Click to enlarge.
I should also note, as the tow-away signs are still on the streets and was not removed after the tow-away period ended (July 27th), Champion Cleaning also broke another law, Public Works Code 724.3 (a) states: "...and shall remove it immediately upon termination of the permit."  The signs, a-frames and cones are still on my street on July 30th, and the inspector missed that one too when inspecting the location on July 29th.  See photo with the watch.
It begs to ask the question, why did DPW take so long to investigate this?

Here's an example of a situation where DPW fails at their job:
Today is Friday, and a construction company wants to do some underground work on my street. The project is going to happen on Saturday and Sunday, and I witnessed the tow away signs are being posted this morning, and the signs states the tow-away is effective on the upcoming weekend.

I call 311 at 8AM and complain to the city that the construction company placed the signs with less than the mandatory minimum of 72 hours notice, and they forward my case to DPW. However, the DPW inspector doesn't go on Friday, they go on Monday when the construction project is already completed and the tow-away permit has already expired; therefore DPW cannot cite the construction company for violating the law.

It's the same exact situation to me.  I complained to the city on Thursday morning, and they don't send an inspector until Monday when Champion Cleaning is long gone and the permit for the tow-away is expired.

If DPW doesn't quickly investigate citizen complaints of construction companies posting tow-away signs giving less than 72 hours notice, any construction project that lasts 3 days or less can easily get away with breaking the law multiple times and not get caught; this is because the agency won't send an investigator for a few days.  By the time DPW investigates, there's nothing to find, therefore no citations issued.

When I called DPW on Friday morning, the lady said it's likely an investigator won't show-up until Monday; I even told her that by Monday, the construction crew will be LONG GONE.

A Horrible Conversation with the 311 Operator
When I was having a conversation late this evening with the 311 operator, he said that if someone's car was towed away, the person could argue at a hearing that 72 hours notice was not provided, and the car should be released at no charge.

Does this 311 operator know how annoying it is to get your car towed all the way across the city to a lot next to the Hall of Justice, and hassle with getting a hearing at the SFMTA office on Van Ness & Market?  There is the possibility the city may say the tow was valid when you know it isn't, and you'll be paying over $400.00 for the tow fee, plus any possible storage fees at the lot.  But don't forget, if you have a job, taking time-off to go to the tow lot and get that tow hearing means lost pay or losing your vacation time you've saved.

If one of my neighbor's car was towed the same day they plopped that sign on my street, you might expect the the owner of the car to have a fistfight with the constriction workers the next day for calling the tow truck.

If Champion Cleaning gave the required 72 hours notice, this means none of my neighbors' cars would be towed (unless if they can't read).

Note: I do not know if any cars was towed on my block or not.  I have to assume it didn't happen.


Hello, Police?
I also have to ask the question.  As I was present when an infraction was committed (watching Champion Cleaning crews placing the signs), why did the police refuse to help me by telling me to call a different city department?  Why didn't the officer at the Taraval station let me file a police report, or why didn't an officer drop by and talk to me so I can sign a citizen's arrest card?

A crime was committed, and if I read the state laws about citizen's arrest correctly, a citizen can sign a citizen's arrest card if the citizen personally witnessed an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony was committed.

Yeah, it makes me look like an asshole by calling the cops and if they arrived to give them a ticket, but at least Champion Cleaning would know that you don't mess with the neighborhood residents, especially those who left their car on the street and took Muni to work.

Don't mess with Akit, you'll get nailed on my blog.
The Lesson?
So what should the city government and construction workers learn from this?
  1. Champion Cleaning must respect the laws regarding 72 hours minimum notice.
  2. Do not put signs on cones.
  3. DPW needs to respond to these allegations much sooner.
  4. The police needs to respond if a person witnesses a crime.
  5. Stop making citizens call in circles to get the proper people to respond to this problem.  I shouldn't have to call three city agencies and be told it's "somebody else's problem."
  6. Don't fuck with Akit and his neighbors.  If Champion Cleaning continues to do the same practice they've done on my block and others nearby, expect another angry blog entry and a phone call to the Mayor.
Lastly, a commentator said I'm "a pain in the ass," in a good way!  Thanks Mike!

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