22 May 2012
- Written by Kevin James
POLITICS - Today I issued a press release announcing my opposition to Mayor Villaraigosa’s proposed increase in parking fines, and his misguided budget "solution" of hiring more parking enforcement officers to, allegedly, increase revenues. I believe that parking fines in Los Angeles are already too high.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the City Council has joined with Mayor Villaraigosa in approving parking ticket fine increases six of the last seven years. The Times calculates that the cost of a neighborhood street-sweeping violation will have risen 73% since 2005, and other parking penalties will have grown by more than 80% since Mayor Villaraigosa took office. This is the second year in a row that the Mayor has proposed hiring additional parking enforcement officers to bolster revenues. I opposed the Mayor’s proposal last year in an article I published in CityWatch on April 29, 2011 stating that:
"Putting more traffic officers on our streets to hound city residents and customers of our city’s private businesses with annoying and outrageous traffic/parking fines levied as a result of ridiculously confusing and ambiguous parking signs/rules is not a way to increase revenue.
It is a way to drive customers out of our city and away from our businesses and into communities that are not so obsessed with abusive traffic/parking fines for nice patrons who are one minute over on the 7 pm deadline on the third Saturday of the fifth month of an odd-numbered year as depicted on the parking sign three blocks away with four different signs (some of which are spray-painted over)."
After reading that statement again in preparing this article, I remember being very frustrated. My frustration continues.
To be clear – parking fine increases will end if I am Mayor.
Such increases in parking fines are bad for business and for our City’s residents. Residents, visitors and tourists are already shocked at the price of parking in Los Angeles. When high parking fines are added, many recipients choose not to pay the fines, stuff the tickets in a drawer, and hope they will simply go away. This trend of ignoring the tickets results in less revenue for the City.
Local businesses in Los Angeles are suffering because customers are being soured by "rip-off" rates that people believe are being used to fund an inept, inefficient and corrupt City government. The higher the parking fines go, the higher the City’s uncollected revenues will go.
The outrageous amount of uncollected revenues in the City proves that parking fines should be lowered. A person receiving a $20 parking ticket is much more likely to pay $20 than a person who receives a $78 parking ticket. People that receive $78 parking tickets are often intimidated by the amount, pay nothing, and then stay away from the area that resulted in the issuance of the ticket.
Many of the parking tickets issued in our neighborhoods are issued on street-sweeping day. However, residents argue that the street-sweepers are rarely seen, but parking enforcement officers are waiting to pounce. If the street is not being swept, tickets should not be issued. This provides another opportunity for City departments to coordinate with one another in order to benefit City residents.
(Kevin James is an attorney, former Asst. U.S. Attorney, former radio broadcaster and candidate for LA Mayor and occasional contributor to CityWatch. He can be reached at kevinjamesformayor.com)
Tags: Kevin James, parking fees, parking meters, business, bad for business, Los Angeles
Vol 10 Issue 41
Pub: May 22, 2012