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Call Kurtis Investigates: City Writes Tickets For Street Cleaning It Isn’t Doing

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Despite street signs restricting parking every week for street cleaning, some gutters in Downtown Sacramento are filling up with trash and sludge.

The City of Sacramento, which runs its own street maintenance program, admits it doesn’t have the resources to clean every week, but a Call Kurtis investigation found the City is continuing to write thousands of dollars in street cleaning tickets on days the streets are never swept.

The City now admits the posted signs aren’t always fair to drivers — because the City isn’t always cleaning during the hours posted.

Just how often does the city clean your street? Les Pierce who lives downtown on P Street was surprised to hear the answer.

Pierce is used to the hassle of moving his car every week for street cleaning. In his case, the signs show that’s “Tuesday” from “8 a.m. to 12 p.m.”

“I park right over on the other side of the street,” he told CBS13’s Kurtis Ming.

Pierce said it’s hard to find parking downtown — especially during street sweeping hours — but he notes he’s never seen the street sweeper.

“I think if the sign says street cleaning, then they should be cleaning the streets,” he said.

“I’ve never seen them,” said Mathew Puig, another driver who’s paid the price for parking on P Street.

“How many tickets have you received on streetsweeping day?” Ming asked.

“Easily five,” Puig said.

So how often is the City coming by?

Call Kurtis staked out P Street on a Tuesday in November, when according to the sign the City was supposed to clean the streets. But from the trash and sludge, it was clear the City hadn’t been by that week.

Yet Call Kurtis noticed a car that had a $52.50 street cleaning ticket on the windshield.

Call Kurtis requested city records and found between November 2012 and November 2013, Pierce block of P Street was swept just three times — and never on a Tuesday when cars are prohibited from parking there.

“Yet they give tickets out on the street every single week,” Pierce said.

Call Kurtis went to the City of Sacramento for answers.

“Why is the City writing street cleaning tickets if it’s not cleaning those streets?” Ming asked the City’s Erin Treadwell, who was authorized to answer questions about ticketing and street cleaning practices.

“Those signs are to provide access for the city to provide services,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell said the signs are intended not just for sweeping but for the Claw too — a device that scoops bulkier items off the street — and sometimes trash or recycling pickup as well.

Ming asked the last time any of these services were provided regularly on Pierce’s block during those street cleaning hours.

“Our data does not go back — it goes back six months,” Treadwell said.

“You don’t know for sure?” Ming said.

“We don’t know for sure,” she said.

“We don’t know the last time there was regular service between 8 and noon on a Tuesday?” he said.

“We don’t know for sure,” she said again.

“Do you have any idea how much revenue has been brought in from tickets from street cleanings that weren’t happening?” Ming then asked.

“I don’t,” she said. “You probably do.”

She’s right. We do.

Between July 1 and November 20, parking enforcement records show 93 street cleaning tickets written for the three-block stretch of P street, totaling $4,882.50.

“Why not dismiss those tickets?” Ming asked.

“They didn’t have to park there,” Treadwell said, referring to drivers who parked during street sweeping hours. “Then they would have avoided getting a ticket.”

“I think they should stop ticketing on Tuesday’s at least,” Puig told Call Kurtis.

After Call Kurtis started asking questions, the City quietly took down the street cleaning signs on that stretch of P Street.

“It absolutely caused us to pause and go why,” Treadwell said. “Those signs aren’t needed anymore, let’s go ahead and take it down.”

“I think that we caught them red handed,” Pierce said.

Glad he no longer has to move his car on Tuesday mornings, he said he really wishes the City would just clean his street when they say they will.

“That’s why I called in the first place,” he said.

Treadwell said the City will evaluate all streets to see if more signs should be taken down. The City said it has purchased more street sweepers and plans to start sweeping more frequently in March.

More Call Kurtis investigations

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