It’s not easy to live in LA. You’ve got to have a certain toughness. Especially if you are struggling to make ends meet… and who isn’t these days?
Certainly our fair city is having a hard time. And it seems that one of the answers the people who run this place have is raising the fine on just about everything having to do with driving. Forget about the impact on the populace. There’s a new attitude and it seems to be… let’s make new laws to take as much money as we can from the people of this city.
Now I’m not an advocate of scofflaws who drive like maniacs and endanger peoples lives by their bad driving. Those losers should be off the road… but I can’t help but wonder what kind of message politicians are sending to us folks when they raise the parking rates to outrageous sums, slap $50 parking fines on expired meters, boot and tow cars after three unpaid parking tickets … it used to be 5 (lots of money in getting a car out of hock) and now are suggesting that putting more cameras at intersections can raise millions for the city.
Here’s just a taste of what it costs now compared to a couple of years agao: Running a red light… $446 (without traffic school fees), up from $271 in 2008. Get caught doing a rolling right turn at a stoplight and you’ll pay $381 — up from $156 two years ago. Park at an expired meter, pay a $50 fine now vs. $35 a year ago.
The city estimates that just by changing the boot process from three to five tickets they can make an additional 61 million a year. Here’s a news flash: most people who don’t pay tickets are struggling to pay for groceries and rent and when you have to make a choice, it usually goes in favor of food. Schwarzenegger wants in on the money too. He’s proposing that they put up cameras to catch speeders (not just red light violators) so the state can get a piece of the action too. Frazgo wrote about this here and what you can do about it.
Like I said, it’s great to get bad drivers off the street, but the zeal with which these things are being proposed to solve money problems just seems to be a head on collision with the goodwill of the people of this city. We did, after all, vote our council, mayor and others in to protect us. Not to skin us alive for driving.