PROBE: May 1, 2001

May 01, 2001

QUESTION: What's next for the Brawley Police Department? After a long battle to win a decent raise, a couple officers decided to get some "revenge." They towed the mayor's car parked in front of his house!

— Taxpayer, Brawley

Towing Mayor Wayne Johnson's truck didn't win the cops any brownie points at City Hall.

Johnson thinks the Brawley cops are still resentful from the recent salary negotiations — or holding a grudge held over from when Johnson was a sergeant at the Police Department.

Not only did Brawley police order the mayor's pickup towed, they towed it just before midnight Friday. Normally that would have generated storage fees for (at least) Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Johnson was sitting outside watching when the tow truck came. He confronted Police Agent Ron Brazell, who said he ordered the truck towed because the license tags had expired.


He ignored Johnson's pleas that the tags were not expired. The state Department of Motor Vehicles had not sent the tags due to a DMV computer glitch, according to Johnson. Johnson said he had paid the fees and had the documents to prove it.

After the tow truck pulled away with the pickup, Johnson drove to the Police Department to argue for the release of his truck, he said.

Sgt. Jeff Northrup sided with Brazell.

"He told me, ‘I have to pay my license fees — and so do you,'" said Johnson.

The mayor said he made two or three trips to his office getting receipts, than canceled checks, to prove the fees had been paid.

It was Saturday morning when he was finally allowed to bail out his truck from the storage yard.

Johnson said he paid cash and all the fees when he bought the truck from the late Jay Tucker of Brawley. However, the DMV failed to send the tags, Johnson said.

Apparently, the DMV computer does not reflect the fees have been paid — or that Johnson has title to the truck. That settled it for the cops.

In today's world, if the computer says you didn't pay, you didn't pay, no matter what your grubby receipts say!

QUESTION: I heard by the end of the summer we will get up to 200 channels on cable television. Will we also have access to the Internet through a cable modem? — Cable Ready, Imperial

When the system is fully operational, it will include fiber optics that hook you into the Internet, said Tom Mixon, Adelphia general manager. Mixon said by this summer basic cable will have 70 channels, with additional options for up to 200 channels.

TAMALES TO MARIA — A group of high school girls rang my doorbell in Imperial a couple of weeks ago. They were selling tickets to a car wash and barbecue tickets. I bought a ticket to have my car washed in El Centro.

At the car wash, they were selling barbecue tickets and taking orders for tamales. I ordered a dozen tamales for $10 and paid in advance.

They said the tamales would be delivered between 11 and 1 p.m. Friday. I never left the house all day Friday but nobody delivered tamales.

When I had to go out at 6 p.m., I left a note on the door: "Leave tamales in bicycle basket."

Can you help me find the group that sold me the tamales? They looked like cheerleaders wearing nice dark blue outfits. It's not much money but it's the principle that matters. — Waiting, Imperial

OK, kids, if you sold Maria Singh a dozen tamales at the car wash, deliver them to her. If you don't have any tamales left, call her at 355-1281 to see how you can make amends.

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