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PROBE: April 2, 2002

April 02, 2002

QUESTION: Since January, Bank of America failed to credit my account with two of my paychecks I deposited in its automatic teller machine.

I have called 800 numbers, spent hours on "hold," sent copies of the canceled checks, front and back (twice for the first one), paid late charges on my credit card and covered my overdraft with the credit card. When I refused to use the ATM again, the bank charged me for overuse of the bank tellers. I am out $1,000 plus overdraft and late-charge fees and credit card interest. To hire a lawyer would cost too much. What can I do? — Overdrawn, El Centro

Go to Bank America in El Centro, talk to the manager (it won't do you any good to call the local number; you will get somebody in Los Angeles) — and file a suit in small claims court.

It will take three or four weeks to get a hearing. If the bank resolves your problem before the hearing, you can drop the suit. You've gone the extra mile to fix this. Now it's the bank's turn.


QUESTION: Is there anything to stop truckers from using their jake brakes inside the city limits of Brawley? I am speaking specifically of the east end of Main Street.

When truckers hit their jake brake in front of your house in the middle of the night, that's the most irritating noise in the world.

It will wake you up. In our travels we have been in many cities and towns where signs warn, "No jakes."

If the truckers would slow down sooner, they wouldn't need to use the jake indiscriminately as some do. Since there are many residences where truckers are coming at you from every direction, I bet there are a lot of people with frayed nerves. Our nerves are shot. — Sleepless in Brawley

There's nothing you can do about those jake brakes short of coaxing the City Council to pass an ordinance restricting their use in Brawley. Presently there's no law against pumping your jakes to cut your speed in a hurry, said Police Chief Henry Graham.

For those readers who have never heard of jake brakes, it's a brake that uses the compression from the truck engine to slow the truck. They're used mainly to save air brakes, especially in hills and mountains.

If the noise continues to bug you, call a friendly council member to discuss it.

We've never heard a complaint about jake brakes before but we could be hearing more gripes about trucking in general. Some of those trucks are like wheeled city blocks trundling down the road — and there's getting to be a lot of them.

You can expect more. When widening Highway 111 to four-lanes is complete this fall, the highway will be four lanes from Calexico to Los Angeles — and to freeways anywhere in the United States.

IT'S A JOB — Leave the $10 hookers on Adams Avenue alone. Teachers, police officers, firefighters, $10 hookers, what's the difference? None. They are all jobs. Maybe being a hooker is the only thing they can do. Let them do it. Who are we to judge them as drug users or junkies? They have families, too. Lifestyle is a choice. — No Doper, El Centro

Sometimes a lifestyle is what happens when you have no choice. One thing for sure, you're not going to bump into Julia Roberts on Adams Avenue.

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