All of you who have driven your car in the Los Angeles area over a long period of time have at one time or another been stopped by a Los Angeles City police officer or a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy or a California Highway Patrol officer for a traffic violation and you paid a hefty fine for being tagged.
Does a motorist have any other options?
Well, check this out. A friend of mine, Al Morita, sent me this message:
“Just wanted to tell you about my experience I had with my speeding ticket, which I got back in February 2012.
“I saw an ad on TV, so I took a chance and contacted the Ticket Clinic and sent them a check for $199. I didn’t have to go to traffic school or appear in traffic court. The attorney went to the Santa Monica Courthouse, set a trial date for July 2. They handled all that for me and I didn’t have to be there.
“The trial was postponed to Sept. 26 and they appeared on that date and all charges were dismissed. Even if they had to make multiple appearances, I did not need to pay extra. I received a letter from them after Sept. 26 court appearance to notify me that the case was dismissed and nothing goes on my record.
“I called them to ask if I could have you write about them in your column in The Rafu Shimpo and use his name and he said it was okay.
“His name is Steven Steward at Ticket Clinic. Phone number is (800) 999-6999. If anyone reading your column should contact him, tell him they got the referral from your column in The Rafu.
“It may not be easy to contact him, but you have to keep calling. He is in court almost every day and is very busy. But it’s worth it not to give up.
“My manager, who got a ticket after I did (would have cost him over $400) contacted Ticket Clinic and his case was settled even before mine.”
Thanks for the info, Al. I’m going to save the information you sent to me because I’m sure somewhere down the road I’ll probably get a ticket, no matter how carefully I think I’m driving.
The last ticket I got was about five years ago and I had to shell out $500.
A couple of years ago I received a letter from a reader that got a lot of reactions from other readers.
It was about the deplorable conditions at Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights, which is the final resting place for many Japanese Americans.
It was submitted to me by Setsuko Onoda. Well, Setsuko has been working on the situation and sent me the following email:
“Hi, everyone. I have not forgotten about Evergreen Cemetery. I have written to The Los Angeles Times, TV stations and also called Sacramento’s Better Business Bureau, Cemetery and Funeral Division.
“After a few exchanges, I just received the following letter today. I am disappointed but I guess there is nothing much I can do.
“Here is the letter from Sacramento by John R. Gettys of the Cemetery and Funeral Division:
“‘Dear Mrs. Setsuko: Please be advised that I have completed the investigation regarding the dry and straw-like condition of the Evergreen Cemetery, as you described in your complaint. There is no evidence the licensees have violated any of the provisions of the Cemetery Act, the enforcement codes which govern the operation of cemeteries. Hopefully, we will soon all experience abundant rainfall and the Evergreen Cemetery lawns will become lush and green. If you wish to speak with me personally about this matter, please call me.’”
I hope Setsuko does call him because those who complained about the conditions certainly don’t feel falling rain is going to correct the situation at Evergreen.
Maybe the situation can be changed if they switch the name of the site to Everbrown.
“It’s a small world” is a frequently used term.
That’s the thought that struck me as I was reading the story on the front page of Rafu’s Oct. 18 issue with the headline “Inouye Elected to Institute of Medicine in Washington.”
The story had a Boston dateline and was about Sharon K. Inouye, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Now, the “it’s a small world” statement: In the second paragraph of the story, it was noted that Sharon was the daughter of the late Dr. Mitsuo Inouye, who practiced family medicine in Culver City until he passed away a few years ago.
Dr. Inouye and I were born in the same sharecrop farming community located in Redwood City, where our families lived together.
We attended school together from kindergarten through third grade when our families moved away to separate areas. However, we kept in touch over the years because of our close relationship.
Now to learn that his daughter has achieved the highest honor in the field of health and medicine demonstrates her outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service — a credit to her father.
I have a class photo of her father sitting next to me when we were in the second grade, but I decided not to print it because the past is the past when I’m talking about 70 years ago.
However, congratulations to Sharon for her achievement.
In recent years when stories are written about relocation camps, the two centers that get the most mention are Manzanar and Heart Mountain.
What about Gila, Poston, Amache, Topaz, Jerome, Tule Lake, Minidoka and Rohwer?
I always get a chuckle at some of the stories on Heart Mountain because that’s where I lived. When Heart Mountain is mentioned, items always mentioned are the barbed-wire fences and guard towers.
I always think, “hogwash.”
We were “locked up” behind barbed-wire fences and the guards didn’t have their weapons pointed toward the internees.
As an example, I thought I would toss in a typical photo of the internees.
The photo shows a bunch of Nisei walking around the area outside the so-called barbed-wire fences. They are “outside” preparing to hike up to the landmark for which the camp was named. Heart Mountain is in the distant background.
No fences or guard towers are seen in the photo.
Most of those in the photo are probably in their 80s now, but they can be seen laughing and smiling in the photo.
By the way, the so-called “no-no boys” of Heart Mountain will be gathering this weekend in Torrance, a gathering that I will be attending.
Yes, I also wrote that they may throw me out if I show up because they know what my thoughts are on the issue.
Takashi Hoshizaki dropped me a letter about the gathering. He wrote:
“Your comments on the ‘no-no boys’ was a little garbled as to the event. If you have the time and gas money, attending the Oct. 27 event might help to clarify the story for you.
“Eric Muller’s book ‘Free to Die for Their Country’ tells the resisters’ story very well. A recommended reading for all JAs. Your comment about the resisters being released from camp is not correct for those sent to McNeil Island in Washington state. The first of us were released from the federal penitentiary on July 14, 1946. Almost a year after the war ended.”
I did write that they were released a few months after the end of the war because I met one of them when I was discharged from the Army.
That may be so. I was discharged from service in October 1946, so I probably had my dates a little confused.
Takashi closed his letter: “I hope you have time to attend the forum.”
Hope to see you there, Tak.
With the World Series opening this week, most sports fans will be focused on the event.
One item that caught my eye about the opening games in San Francisco is what they are charging for parking next to AT&T Park, the home stadium for the Giants.
Remember when the former owner of the local Dodgers boosted parking to $20 and everyone cried “robbery”? So the charge was reduced back to 10 bucks.
Well, I wonder what the Giants fans are hollering? Parking at the series games is $150.
They do have a cheaper parking lot a distance from the stadium, which is going for a “bargain” price of 50 bucks.
Oh well, having lived in San Francisco, I guess the cost of anything is higher than in other cities.
When I went to the hospital last week for a minor surgery, the one question I was asked prior to the operation was, “Do you smoke”?
My response was, “No, but I chew cigars.”
The person asking me the question got a confused look on her face.
“What do you mean, you chew on cigars?” she asked.
I told her that it’s a habit I developed a long time ago. “Cigars are too expensive to smoke, so by chewing, I can make one cigar last three or four days.”
She still didn’t get it, I guess, because she left the room and someone else came in to ask me a question and sure enough, the “chewing cigars” matter came up again.
The next person asked, “Is that like chewing gum?”
I laughed. “No, it’s just that I leave an unlit cigar in my mouth, so I kind of put my teeth into the cigar.”
She laughed and left.
So I took a cigar out of my shirt pocket and munched on it, laughing.
Speaking of smoking, Russia is about to pass a law banning tobacco. It’s going to be tough to enforce the law.
You gotta remember, Russians smoke 390 billion cigarettes a year. That’s 2,786 for every citizen in the country.
In this category, Japanese smoke 1,841 cigarettes per person per year, ranked second in the world.
The U.S.? Only 1,028 per person.
Maybe more Russians will start to chew cigars.
Since I opened today’s column chatting about traffic tickets, let me toss in this about driving and laughing.
“I would like to share an experience about drinking and driving.
“As you well know, some of us have been lucky not to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from the various social sessions over the years.
“A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends in Los Angeles and had a few too many beers and then topped it off with a margarita. Not a good idea.
“Knowing full well I was at least slightly over the limit, I did something I’ve never done before. I took a cab home.
“Sure enough, I passed a police roadblock but because it was a taxi, they waved me past.
“I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise. I have never driven a taxi before and I am not sure where I got it.”
No funny enough? Okay, try this one:
One day a cowboy walked into a bar, ordered a beer, drank it and left.
When he got outside, he discovered that his horse had been stolen. Enraged, he walked back into the bar, drew his gun and fired at the ceiling.
“Which one of you dudes stole my horse?” he screamed. Everyone sat stock still, not saying a word.
“OK,” the cowboy said, “I’m gonna have me another beer, and if my horse ain’t out there by the time I finish, I’m gonna do what I already done in Texas! And I don’t like to have to do what I done in Texas!”
The cowboy drank his second beer, walked out, and lo and behold, his horse was back.
The cowboy hopped on the horse’s back and was getting ready to ride out of town when the bartender walked out and asked, “Say, partner, what happened in Texas?”
The cowboy turned to him and said, “I had to walk home.”
George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via e-mail at [email protected]. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.