High Sierra to stay on the job
South Lake Tahoe will seek the opinion of the California Attorney General’s office in response to the El Dorado County grand jury report that questioned the use of a private security company to issue parking citations, said City Attorney Catherine DiCamillo.
The city in the meantime will continue to use High Sierra Patrol, an independent security company, to issue citations for vehicles illegally parked in handicapped parking spaces.
Dr. Kenneth Weitzman, who made the grand jury report findings and spoke to the City Council as a private citizen, said the city should cease using High Sierra Patrol at least until it received a response from the Attorney General’s office. The grand jury report recommended for an immediate stop, but the request was denied.
“They are not responding well,” Weitzman said of the city’s decision.
“To cease using High Sierra Patrol would be premature at this point,” said Councilwoman Judy Brown.
The issue which was on the City Council agenda was continued and will be agendized at a later date. The city has until Sept. 30 to formally respond to the grand jury report findings, 90 days from when the report was completed.
DiCamillo said two other cities in California contract out services for parking citations, but she did not want to comment further because she had not completed her research on the other jurisdictions.
Councilman Bill Crawford said the city operates under general law, which does not give the authority to contract out law enforcement duties such as issuing parking citations.
“It is a very serious question of authority,” Crawford said.
According to the the grand jury report, the city cannot grant High Sierra Patrol the authority to issue the $250 parking citations.
The city, however, disagrees saying the law does give that right and cites the City Code and various sections of the California Vehicle Code, according to a staff report by DiCamillo.
According to the grand jury report, the state code does give the city the right to establish a special enforcement unit for the sole purpose of providing adequate enforcement for disabled parking spaces, but it does not give the city the specific right to contract, or in this case ask, an outside security company to do so.
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