Axl Rose's limousine driver will receive his traffic ticket from Inglewood police after all, despite the vehement objections from the Guns N' Roses rocker that led to the citation being retracted last week.
"We find reasonable cause to go forward with this," Inglewood City Atty. Howard Rosten said in a letter mailed Wednesday to the driver, James Brian Green, 29, of Venice.
Green's much-ballyhooed illegal left turn outside the Forum as he was driving Rose to a concert appearance July 30 caused the singer to angrily stick his head out of the limousine's sun roof and cry foul to the motorcycle officer issuing the citation.
Green faces a $60 fine for the traffic offense. But that is small change compared to another financial penalty arising from the four shows Rose and his band performed at the Forum last week.
City officials revealed this week that because the group violated a city ordinance by letting its concerts go on long past midnight each of the four nights, the band's promoters face thousands of dollars in fines.
The exact fines have yet to be calculated by the city. But officials say the promoters--who include veteran rock 'n' roll impresario Bill Graham and the Forum itself--will have to hand over to the city $500 for each time a show ended between 12:45 a.m. and 1 a.m., $1,000 for any show that ended between 1 a.m. and 1:15 a.m. and $1,500 for any 15-minute period after that, city officials said.
Rose, who arrived later than expected for all four shows and complained of a concert-delaying stomachache one evening, danced his way off stage somewhere after 1:30 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Rose, 29, took on his chauffeur's case before the July 30 concert by throwing a temper tantrum and refusing to take the stage unless Inglewood police took back the ticket.
After huddling with the band's manager and the Forum's general manager, Police Lt. Tom Hoffman agreed to take the ticket back to avoid a Rose-induced riot by anxious fans.
Rose thanked Hoffman from the Forum stage. But subsequent news stories about the incident sparked protests from Inglewood residents, who asked city officials whether a hit album was needed to get out of traffic tickets in their town.
Police officials responded that the ticket was not "fixed," just taken back for investigation.
Rose had argued at the scene that a traffic control officer had motioned the limo to make the turn from Prairie Avenue to Manchester Boulevard, police said. But testimony from the police officer who issued the ticket and the traffic control officer at the scene convinced Rosten that the driver should be prosecuted for the turn.
"Our people are confident that nothing that they did misled this guy," Rosten said. "Therefore, we find reasonable cause to go forward with this."
Green must appear in Inglewood Municipal Court by Sept. 10 to pay a fine or request a trial to object to the citation.
"Nobody is above the law," said Inglewood Mayor Edward Vincent, a jazz fan who couldn't name a single Guns N' Roses hit. "We believe that. Nobody."
To prove his point, Vincent recalled a traffic ticket of his own. Vincent, a councilman at the time, parked illegally while attending an anti-prostitution march on Century Boulevard. A motorcycle officer ticketed Vincent's car right before his eyes.
The officer was James Butts, who has since become Inglewood's deputy chief and will become Santa Monica's chief next month.
"You would be stupid to think that anybody, including me as mayor, could do something about a ticket," Vincent said this week.