I may have mentioned that we – along with our neighbors – are fighting City Hall. There are some shady developers working down the street, and some of their procedures (documented in photos and videos) are what we in the bidness would call less-than-legal. It ain’t right, and so the neighborhood is getting involved.
The other day I found myself filing some paperwork with the City of Los Angeles, and the scene really brought me down. First – if you’re filing an appeal of anything that requires a permit, you have to provide multiple copies of all documentation. In my case, this meant over 100 pages. Double-sided. Second – you have to pay a whopping fee to the city, in order to fight the city. Third – you have to deal with government employees. And while some of those folks may be absolute darlings, others are entitled jack-asses.
Here’s an overview of my experience… I got all my paperwork together. That meant making the aforementioned copies. Now friends – if you’re gonna put together over 100 double-sided pages of legalese, you’re gonna be out some dough. If you own a printer, you’re gonna pay for the paper, ink and operating costs of that printer. If you don’t own a printer, you’re gonna pay out the nose at a copy shop. Either way – you’re gonna pay.
I arrived at the designated city office and took a number. I was told to wait in a particular area, due to the nature of my appeal. I thought it might take quite a while, as several people were waiting ahead of me. But to my surprise, my number was called after only about 5 minutes. As I approached the counter, the dude who had called my number eyed my armload of paperwork and asked if I was filing an appeal. I told him I was. He told me to just wait, as he was putting my number back into the system. Having no idea what was going on, I stepped back and waited. Then I noticed he was calling a lot of numbers. And I do mean a lot. As each person approached his counter, he asked what their business was, and one-by-one, he sent them all back to wait, giving them the same spiel he’d given me. Only when he hit upon a number-holder whose business interested him did he actually process the customer. (“Oooo! Show me those landscape plans!”) I couldn’t believe it. In fact, if I hadn’t witnessed it, I wouldn’t. That guy was the ultimate stereotype of a major government tool.
When my number was called the second time, I made sure I was nice to the lady behind the counter. And to her credit, she was as nice as could be. She processed all 100+ double-sided pages of legalese of my application, took my fee of $108.00 (I kid you not), and that was that. Business concluded, I left the government offices, deflated and pissed.
I don’t expect anything to come of my appeal. My neighbors and I are simply trying to do the right thing. But if the right thing mattered, the illegal crap down the street would have been stopped a long time ago. Maybe when the contractor dumped refuse into a neighbor’s yard. Or after the young boy living next door became ill with relentless nosebleeds during demo. No – doing the right thing doesn’t always move the needle. But it’s still the right thing.
God bless America.