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Red light, green light

Traffic jams and Los Angeles go hand-in-hand. Tons of people, tons of cars, what more can I say?

But last August, two city engineers with the Los Angeles Automated Traffic Surveillance Center allegedly made a bad situation worse. The two men, just hours before job action by the Engineers and Architects Association, allegedly hacked into the city's traffic computer to disable four signal control boxes at critical intersections.

The pair, charged with multiple counts of illegally accessing a city computer, plead not guilty Monday, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. A hearing to set a preliminary hearing date will be held Feb. 15, she noted.

According to the DA's office, the men allegedly programmed the control boxes to accept changes from them, but would prevent managers from correcting the problem.

It took four days for the problem to be resolved and the system fully operational. Just another day in the city.