Hawthorne Press Tribune
Herald Publications - El Segundo, Hawthorne, Lawndale & Inglewood Community Newspapers Since 1911 - (310) 322-1830 - Vol. 61, No. 32 - August 8, 2019
Calendar of Events.............2
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The Weekly Newspaper of Hawthorne
Council Gives the Keys to Cuco
Hawthorne Mayor Alex Vargas presented the Keys to the City on July 26 to up and coming Chicano Music star Omar “Cuco” Banos. The singer’s hit singles include “Lo Que Siento” and newly released
debut album Para Mi. Cuco is a 21-year-old who grew up in Hawthorne. The ceremony was held in the City Council Chambers and was attended by his parents, friends, teachers and neighbors.
Photo: City of Hawthorne
Real Changes Could Reduce the
Wait Times at DMV Locations
By Rob McCarthy
The public can expect better customer
service and a fresh can-do attitude from the
Department of Motor Vehicles, says its new
leader who closed down the motor vehicle
licensing offices temporarily last month to
re-train and recharge the beleaguered agency.
“Real, tangible change is coming to the
DMV,” newly appointed Chief Deputy Director
Kathleen Webb promised on July 24, the
same day that DMV offices statewide closed
their doors for a half-day of staff training.
New procedures were demonstrated for
processing driver’s licenses and identification
cards, primarily the REAL IDs that airports
and federal buildings -- including military
bases -- will accept as proper identification
as of October 2020.
The half-day, closed-door session follows a
series of mishaps at the department that cost
the former director her job last December.
And the department responsible for driver’s
licenses and motor vehicle licensing has been
dealing with an unprecedented demand for
the new federal REAL IDs, causing hour-long
waits for the licenses at local DMV offices.
Gov. Gavin Newsom last December replaced
DMV Director Jean Shimoto after
embarrassing problems with the Motor Voter
registration program. Webb took over permanently
for Shimoto earlier this year, even
though the former director’s management team
had reduced wait times for driver’s licenses
at DMV offices statewide. However, it was
discovered that 150,000 driver licenses were
delayed and Gavin replaced Shimoto, making
good on his promise to make it his priority
to fix the problems at the DMV.
Lawmakers gave the motor vehicle licensing
department a one-time $226 million
increase to hire 2,000 more employees
and to extend hours at some local DMV
offices. To cope with the high demand for
REAL IDs, the Hawthorne DMV office is
now open on Saturdays for licensing and
“We know that our customers deserve
consistent, quality service on every visit at
every office,” Webb said last month. “That
is why we took the extraordinary step to
stop business for half a day and give our
employees the support and information to
provide that service.”
The half-day training on July 24 included
the Hawthorne, Inglewood, Culver City and
Torrance offices. The rare closed-door session
followed the release of a report by a strike
team that studied the department’s operations
and made recommendations to the governor
about how to clear the bottleneck at DMV
counters. The front-line employees learned
about new procedures and computer-assisted
resources now available to them.
Employees were told to be ready for customer
volume to double between now and
fall of 2020, when the REAL ID enforcement
date starts. The closed-door training
introduced steps taken to streamline REAL
ID processing, including developing a digital
REAL ID Field Guide that employees can
now access at their workstations.
Another change implemented this summer
was to open DMV offices earlier, including
Inglewood and Torrance, at 7 a.m. four days
a week. The exception is Wednesday when
the offices open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m.
The motor vehicle and licensing agency
for California is, in one state official’s
words, “the face of state government” to
most people who live and work in the state.
Waits of two hours or more for walk-in
customers to reach the counter have become
commonplace since the DMV began issuing
REAL IDs. The deadline for having one of
the federally compliant driver’s licenses and
identification cards is 16 months from now
in the fall of 2020.
Frequent fliers and federal contractors will
want to carry the REAL ID. However, people
who don’t fly or do business involving federal
buildings or military bases don’t need one.
Having a REAL ID makes it easier to board
a flight, but even passengers with a standard
California ID can fly as long as they show a
birth certificate or U.S. visa. Beginning Oct.
1, 2020, the federal government will require
passengers flying within the United States to
present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license
See DMV, page 6