L.A.’s Biggest Pothole: The City Attorney’s Office

Here’s a great letter from an LAPothole reader delineating her struggles trying to file a claim with the L.A. City’s Attorney Office:”Hi LAPotholes team,

Hope you’re doing well.

Really wanted to thank you for such a great and informative resource on potholes problems in LA city area.
Here’s my story I really wanted to share with you and other unlucky motorists who have happened to get into potholes at least once.

It’s been almost a year since I started fighting a losing battle with the LA City Attorney’s Office. 

I got into a pothole during afternoon rush hour of 9/15/2015 as well as at least 10 other drivers and claimed the damage two days after since I had to take care of replacing both of my right tires the day after the accident. This is where the information you’ve shared on your site came in handy and I’ve filed my claim at lacity.org (thanks again). 

Due to some personal and professional business, I hadn’t had a chance to check up on the applied claim up until January, 2016. As a side note, I’ve never heard from the City Attorney’s office during that time either – the claim hasn’t been denied, neither was 
it approved. 

I’ve contacted the Office in January this year just to find out they’re not able to find the claim and was asked to contact them again in a couple of weeks. The back and forth continued for several months and every time I would hear that 
they either had problems locating the claim or it hadn’t been assigned to anyone yet – “please, call back in two weeks.”

Then again I was out of the game for a couple of months due to a big project at work and got back to bombarding them with calls in May when they finally informed me they didn’t have my claim. They advised I could send them the copy of my claim either via mail or fax. On 6/18/16 I mailed them the copy of my claim together with a copy of the dealership bill for replacing my shredded tires. Checked back with them in a three weeks, and guess what? Correct! They never got my letter (even though I double checked the mailing address with the employee I was taking to several times over the phone). The same day I faxed them my claim, got their confirmation on receiving and had to wait another two weeks until it got assigned to an investigator.

I reached out to the City Attorneys office on 8/1/2016 once again and discovered my claim had been assigned to Mr. Robert Arevalo, who I tried to reach out to during that day with no luck and ended up writing an email which I never got any reply to.

Finally today (8/22/2016) I was able to reach Mr. Arevalo by phone, who told me the fact I didn’t have any photos of the pothole attached to my claim didn’t benefit me and he would need to request street maintenance records, which is going to take another year! to be processed, since they needed a proof the pothole was really there. When I said I had witnesses among other drivers who got into the same pothole right before I did I was told they never got any claims from them (which is really strange because all the drivers I talked to were going to file the claim to get the reimbursement).

As a side note, I really didn’t take any pictures of the pothole since the manhole with a pothole around it happened to be right in the middle of a busy intersection (I got into it while turning left).

This week I’m planning to visit Street Service Bureau’s office and request street maintenance records. As I’ve found out you have to request the records in writing. Decided to go there in person since the letters have a tendency to get lost. 

I would really appreciate if you could share my story so other people who’re going through the same bureaucratic Hell on Earth at the moment could read it, find it useful and maybe share some advice.

Many thanks.

Best regards,


Keep plugging away, Julia. The key is persistence and documentation — you need to document every email, letter and phone conversation because the City’s Attorney Office “loses” so many emails and letters. Good luck.

Hard Landing Near LAX


There is a giant pothole on Arbor Vita Blvd. east of Aviation and before Barranca in Los Angeles 90045. (Near LAX)

It’s in the far right lane and measures about 4-6 feet in length, 2 feet wide and about 6-8 inches deep.

Observed on July 16 – not sure how long its been there, but looks very worn overall.

Thank you – Agnes

La Cienega Damage

On January 12, 2016, Simon Classen reported this pothole at 401-407 S. La Cienega Blvd. (near the intersections of La Cienega and Burton Way/San Vicente):

Approx. size: Massive 2-3 ft wide and 0.5ft deep.

It broke the tires, rim and the alignment on my brand new BMW 650i. Approximately $1000 in damage.

Length of time it’s been there: Noticed it today.

11 Ways L.A. Streets Can Frack Your Car Up Good and Proper

The September 10 issue of LA Weekly weighed in on Los Angele’s never-ending struggle with potholes and horrible streets. Here’s the opening of the their article, penned by Hillel Aron. You can read it in it’s entirety here.

Perhaps the nicest thing you can say about Los Angeles streets is that they may, in fact, not be the worst in the nation. However. Driving is such a fundamental part of most people’s lives, it’s easy to take every crack, pothole and bump as a personal affront, not to mention a financial burden.

According to the blog L.A. Potholes, a great chronicler of some of our city’s worst patches of road, Los Angeles drivers spend an average of $693 a year to repair vehicle damage caused by our messed-up roadways. Some drivers file claims against the city — but according to a 2013 report by KPCC, the city pays out on only 10 percent of claims.

What’s a driver to do? We’d recommend a few defensive driving tips: Avoid the far right lane, which gets torn up by buses. Slow down when the ground below you seems to crunch. And avoid these 11 hazards.

Thank you, LA Weekly.

Welcome to Koreatown

Destroyed my wheel and splashed tar all over the wheel well … not sure if they just badly filled it but felt like it bottomed out.

Date: Sept.  4 at 12 a.m.

Location: Western Ave. between 8th + W9th Street

Size: Big enough that it gouged my tire and scraped my rim.

Length of time the pothole has been there: We never drove in this area before so I don’t know.

I found the location on Google Maps, a street level photo dated July 2015, at 983 Western Ave., and it looks like possibly the one.

If so, it’s definitely worse now.

Crappy LA streets.

Tim Geoghegan

Bad Good Will in Sherman Oaks

Veronica De Messina writes:

This pothole is located in the alley behind Treats for the Face, Cafè De Mèxico and Goodwill in Sherman Oaks. I believe the heavy trucks from Goodwill are the cause of this problem. This pothole is 3 feet long and is very deep. I think I left my suspension there.

South Pasadena/L.A. Pothole Dispute

This location is in the city of Los Angeles. The whole street belongs to the city of Los Angeles. In the fourth picture, the building next to the white vehicle is an auto repair shop. I spoke with the owner and he said the city of South Pasadena and Los Angeles have been disputing the responsibility for this huge pothole. On 12/24/11, as I exited this driveway, the front end of my Audi sank in the pothole that was filled with water, causing $1,000 in damages, snapping my drive belt pulley. I also needed a new skid plate and motor mount. I filed a claim with South Pasadena, which they denied because they said the street belongs to Los Angeles. I filed a claim with L.A., but they denied it. To this day the pothole remains the same. Date: 12/31/11 Location: 1000 Kendall Ave., South Pasadena; the street up to the curb is the city of Los Angele’s Approx. size: very big and deep Length of time it’s been there: 7 years or longer From:  René Uribe

West L.A. Alleyway Headache

The attached pics are from a pothole in the alleyway behind Darlington Ave. between Barrington and Granville; Zip 90049. The hole measures 6 feet by 4 feet with a gradient depth of over 1 foot. I have called and e-mailed as have neighbors. This pothole has been patched but never properly repaired for the last few years. It is a real problem for the people who must drive through the alley.

I appreciate whatever help you can supply. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Mauvi Bauer

Mauvi: I assume you have called the Bureau of Street Services, as well as e-mailing them and filing a complaint at their website. If you have, call, e-mail and file a complaint again — but this time indicating to them that if a car hits the pothole and loses control, it could damage property as well as any pedestrians in the alley or nearby. They are very sensitive to the possibility of law suits arising from unattended potholes. Have you called your councilperson’s field office? You might also e-mail him as well as the mayor, if you already haven’t. One last thought — alleys are not a priority given that the city is so backlogged with street repairs. Good luck — and happy New Year.