My first quarter at university I had a seizure.
This was the first time and according to my doctors––the last time.
Having any sort of lapse of consciousness in California requires that one’s license be suspended for 3 months, regardless of one’s Doctor’s recommendations.
This was news I was not prepared for since my ER nurse told me my license would be suspended for about 2 weeks. My doctor informed me that because of this law, I would not be allowed to drive. This presented a huge problem for me, as I had an internship and job in Orange County that I had been commuting to. I could not longer work my job since it required that I have a car. I didn’t want to let this setback deter me from pursuing opportunities so I decided to use my savings to commute to my internship from UCLA to OC which is a 3-hour commute using the subway, trains and Lyft. I happened to have just enough to sustain this for about 3 months, but absolutely no more than that.
Over the next few months I diligently sent the DMV all the questionnaires and documentation that they required exactly on time, so that the entire process could be over as quickly as possible.
The three months ended and I was preparing for my spring quarter, under the assumption that I would be able to drive. However, I received a letter from the DMV stating that now they wanted to re-examine me. And that they wanted to conduct an interview with me. And also that they would not even be able to see me until April 26th. All this after they had already pushed it back because they wanted more paperwork. This all made no sense because I had a perfect record and my doctor did not recommend that I be re-tested. I had jumped through all their hoops and they kept moving the goal post. I needed my license back as soon as possible so I could get my life back together.
I called the DMV asking if it was possible to move up my appointment or take a test at my local DMV. Anything to speed up the process. The response, “no.” I was devastated. I had done everything I could do. I was going to lose everything I had worked for and there was nothing I could do. I felt powerless.
A friend recommended that I reach out to State Senator Moorlach’s office to see if they could do some “constituent casework” to work with the DMV on my behalf. I had never heard of this “constituent casework” before but I called anyway. I briefly explained my conundrum to the woman who answered the phone, who was the exact person who handled cases like mine. She assured me she would start working immediately! She opened a case for me later that day March 28th.
On April 4th I received a call from a woman from Sacramento. She explained that after reviewing my case she was confused. Everything in my file seemed normal and it made no sense for the DMV to give me a date that was so far out or for them to re-test me. She said she would see what she could do and would stay in contact with me. I was expecting, that, if she was going to be able to do anything for me, it would probably end up being an appointment for another two weeks out. My phone rang, displaying the same Sacramento number exactly two hours later, the second I walked out of my Econometrics class. She informed me that effective immediately I could drive again. I was in disbelief. I had my independence back. I could get my life back. I drove home through two hours of bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 that night, and I had never been happier.
The entire process of trying to return to normalcy was more gruesome and exhausting than actually having a seizure in front of an entire college dining hall, busting my mouth open and and then trying to finish finals week. Instead of being able to just focus on my health, I now had the DMV coming in and encroaching on my very livelihood. Then even though I kept doing exactly what they wanted they kept moving the goal post. If I hadn’t contacted Senator Moorlach and his team, who knows how far they would have moved it.
It is for this exact reason that having offices like Senator Moorlach’s are so important. Within five business days, Senator Moorlach and his team was able to cut through over a month’s worth of bureaucracy. A month that did not matter at all to the DMV but meant everything to me. Words can not describe how grateful I am to Senator Moorlach and his team, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to attend my internship and I would not be able to work. I had the opportunity to meet Senator Moorlach at a community event later, and he expressed to me how happy he was that his office could help me out and that it was his top priority to help the residents of the 37th District in any way he could. They have done me the biggest service and I will be eternally grateful to them. If anyone else is having a similar problem with a local form of government and lives in the 37th Senate District, reach out to his local office (714) 662-6050. They will be more than glad to help.
Jodi Lieberman is a first year college student at UCLA.
Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org