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Group Says Mayor's Budget Too Dependent on Parking Fines for Revenues

A statement from the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative says squeezing te motoring public for dollars is no way to "fiscal sustainability."

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A group looking to foment a revolt against Los Angeles parking citation practices criticized Mayor Eric Garcetti's budget proposal today, saying it relies too much on parking fines to generate additional revenue for the city.

Garcetti's budget, released last week, calls for hiring 50 more parking enforcement officers and anticipates more fines to be collected in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

"It's difficult to believe that our new mayor really thinks that squeezing the citizen motorists of Los Angeles harder than ever is the path to 'fiscal sustainability,"' according to a statement from the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative. "Frankly, we were hoping for more vision than that from his administration."

Mayoral spokesman Jeff Millman defended the proposed addition of parking enforcement officers.

"Full-time traffic officers perform a variety of tasks, including special events and traffic control duties," he said. "The 50 additional part- time traffic officers were added in order to backfill the time that the full- time officers are doing these activities.

The Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative was started last fall by Steven Vincent and Jay Beeber to challenge the city's parking citation practices, which the pair describes as unnecessarily aggressive and punitive.

The group contends the city's budget should not be setting a goal for generating revenue from parking fines. The city parking enforcement office should also adopt a public service mission, and rules must be drawn up to govern ticketing practices and consequences for officers who issue erroneous citations, according to the group.

Vincent and Beeber are seeking the ear of city leaders in an effort to implement their desired changes. They are also developing a ballot initiative in hopes of putting their ideas to a vote during the March 2015 election.

Parking fines start at $58, but should be capped at around $25, the average hourly wage of Angelenos, said Beeber, who was involved in a successful effort to end the city's red light camera program.

A $25 fine would serve as a "sufficient slap on the wrist," he said. "If you add significantly to that, then the fine becomes about revenue generation, rather than getting people to comply."

But the group also has a more general goal of shifting the city's approach to parking, saying it should be treated as a city service, rather than as a source of revenue.

Vincent, a 20-year Los Angeles resident and financial market analyst who spearheaded the initiative in November after encouragement from various neighborhood councils, said Los Angeles' parking fines are "a highly regressive tax that hurts the poorest Angelenos the most, and the philosophy behind using parking violations as a way to fund city government" is the "wrong outlook"

The proposals that could be included in their ballot initiative include the proposed cap on fines, as well as provisions to protect a special fund with money generated by parking meters, garages and parking lots owned by the city.

The fund is meant to be used for creating more parking spaces in the city, but money is instead getting taken out from the fund to balance the budget, Vincent said.

--City News Service


Scott Zwartz April 22, 2014 at 02:51 PM
Garcetti's goal is not to raise revenue. He has always had one modus operandi -- to transfer as much tax revenue to his friends as possible. His friends are almost exclusively developers including felons who have done 4 years in Leavenworth for real estate fraud. Garcetti is issuing million upon millions of dollars for BONDS for "Affordable Housing" which his buddies will build. The tax payers have to repay those bonds and the more bonds Garcetti issues, the more money flows out of the general fund in future years. Thus, Garcetti needs to rip off the poor an middle class with sales taxes, fines, penalties and reduced services. If Gov Christie had 1/10 the known track record for corruption in "development" as Garcetti, he would have been gone as NJ Gov by now. Say what you will about David Wildstein, at least he was not a know felon like Garcetti's friend and fund raiser, Juri Ripinsky.
Mary-Ann Neri April 22, 2014 at 02:53 PM
Walking and riding bikes looks idyllic from the back seat of a limosine.
emma April 22, 2014 at 04:48 PM
Garcetti's big plans for the future of LA do not preclude raping it's citizens to get there. Raping communities with his massive controversial (i.e. Millennium on Vine) developer funder's TOD developments. Using transit expansion as justification for turning our city over to developer's massive projects, giving them carte blanche to do what they want. Keeping unqualified Villaraigosa appointed head of planning, LoGrande, to continue efforts to disband all zoning laws and codes to make it even easier for developer/community rapists to build what they want, where they want. And charging it's citizens mightily to make up for his failures as president of city council, for years voting to support unions that turned their backs on him and supported Wendy Greuel (and he buried her with their betrayal), and trying to make up for the deficit he played no small part in, now charging the citizens of LA for his ineptness, with potential tax increases. Please read Jack Humphreville's brilliant analysis. http://citywatchla.com/lead-stories-hidden/6776-silly-season-at-city-hall "But what we will not hear is that this billion dollar budget deficit was caused by the fiscally irresponsible City Council who agreed to massive increases in salaries, pensions, and benefits that outstripped the growth in revenues by $500 to $700 million a year. This deficit was financed on the backs of Angelenos by cutting back on the repair and maintenance of our already potholed streets and cracked sidewalks. We will also hear the drum beat for the half cent increase in our sales tax to 9½% to fund the repair our streets and sidewalks. But what we will not hear is that there are viable alternatives to fund the repair of our streets and sidewalks without the need to increase our sales tax to a job killing 9½%, one of the highest in the nation. NOR WILL WE HEAR THAT *MOVE LA, A POLITICALLY POWERFUL TRANSPORTATION ADVOCATE WANTS TO INCREASE OUR SALES TAX BY ANOTHER HALF A CENT, RESULTING IN A SALES TAX OF 10%, THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION Nor will we hear about ending hundreds of millions in giveaways to well-connected real estate developers in DTLA...." * MoveLA not only will enable the rape of our communities with massive TOD's (which cause more traffic),but also wants more tax money out of Angelenos for Garcetti's expanded public transit plan and continued sale of our city to his developer buddies.. Enough is enough!
Ziegler April 22, 2014 at 06:03 PM
The City deciding to end the red light enforcement came about behind the scenes in a little known way. The City Council discovered to their dismay that the Judges and Commissioners were dismissing red light tickets and they still havn't figured out why. I received one of those tickets and noted that the picture was a generic person- not necessarily me, an it had bangs which I did not wear. The law requires that the picture be a good likeness of the driver. As a portrait artist I realised that the picture had been doctored as it probably was unclear. I researched and discovered that a company from back east was paid to handle these tickets. I telephoned them and they admitted that they hired artists to "fix" the pictures so that it would comply with the California law. Doctoring the evidence is a no no to the courts and to justice. Additionally, under the Constitution you have the right to confront your accuser. When you go to court a traffic officer who was not a witness to the "crime' is tha accuser. He has not witnessed the infraction and indeed he has not had the evidence solely in his possession. The chain has been broken when the server sent the "evidence" to Delaware- or wherever it was. The Corporate heads also told me that their artists handled the evidence and re did the "retouch" as often as they needed to to try to get it to look like your licesne photo. Boy was the chain of evidence broken. I telephoned the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division, in Los Angeles, to tell her of what was going on. She was shocked at the unconstitutionality of it and she asked me to call the head of the group that teaches the Commissioners and to let them see how clearly inconstitutional it was. She offered to speak to City Council on the matter, but said that they would have to invite her. I called Council members. They did not extend an invitation to her. The Judges and Commissioners were ordered to dismiss all cases that came via the Corporation that contracted with the City to handle red light cases, because of the unconstitutional way they were handled. To this day the City does not know why.
Ziegler April 22, 2014 at 08:28 PM
I meant to mention one more legalistic observation that I may not have made clear but is very important, that I brought to the Presiding Judge. The evidence has to be at all times in the care custody and control of the officer witness/ accuser. If the chain of evidence is broken or if the evidence has been " tampered" with, such as fixing the photos to be more clear and more like the person, it is damaged and can no longer be used as evidence.

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