‘No’ Doesn’t Always Mean ‘No’ on a Personalized License Plate

Whenever this column is mentioned on the website of the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society, I get a bit nervous inasmuch as it’s in the business of exposing urban folk tales -- some of which have appeared in print.

Recently, it dealt with this report: “A man whose car bore personalized license plates reading NO PLATE received notices for thousands of unpaid parking tickets.” The website ( branded it (drumroll) “True,” I’m happy to say, since it was my report.

A Los Angeles man requesting personalized plates from the DMV had written down SAILING and BOATING as his first two choices but couldn’t think of a third option, so he wrote down NO PLATE in that space.


He got NO PLATE -- and subsequently began receiving tickets for illegally parked cars that bore no license plates. Why? Officers would record “no plate” on the tickets and the computer linked them to him., by the way, mentioned a more recent victim, a Delaware man who thought it would be amusing to have a license that said NOTAG on his motorcycle. He’s since received more than 200 violation notices for tag-less vehicles.

One model was only ridden on weekends by a little old lady: Doug Schiller of Riverside believes he ran across “the Cal Worthington of the Ponderosa” (see photo).

Sure, people were shorter in 1911, but ... : You’d think someone would have enlarged the showers in this 93-year-old house, discovered by W.J. Lawler of Pasadena (see accompanying).

Lawyers at work! On a box of Halsteel Nails, Chris Kurtek noticed a parody of the “Duh!” consumer warnings (see accompanying).

Who was that masked intruder? A San Clemente resident phoned police to say that the “motion light at the front door had been going off and on and she could hear weird noises,” according to the local Sun Post. “She could also hear something click on the window.”

Officers found the house had “an extremely sensitive sensor and it was a raccoon setting it off.”

Ageless solution: An item here about a 60-ish judge who was carded while buying a beer at a San Diego Padres game brought a note from retired cop Bob McMeekin of Newhall.

McMeekin recalled being in charge of a security detail at a disco where officers were ordered to ID every entrant. One 50-ish woman had none, and a guard “looked to me for guidance. I asked her to show me some liver spots, which she proudly did. I nodded to the guard to allow her entry.

“The guard, I hope, learned about common sense.”

miscelLAny: The Saddleback Valley News said police received a report of a man at a Mission Viejo country club who “was throwing rocks and making karate moves at the edge of the golf course near a freeway overpass.” Hey, I’ve lost my temper at golf courses too. Poor guy probably missed a 3-foot putt.

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083; by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012; and by e-mail at