Los Angeles mayor responds to parking-ticket accusations

May 14, 2014

“There are no new parking tickets being raised this year, and we don’t have a higher quota,” Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles, told the press late last month.

Garcetti’s reassurances were in response to public concerns about budget items that appear to tie a proposed increase in the number of parking enforcement officers to higher revenue for the city via the citations that a beefed-up department would issue.

Parking alley in Los Angeles

Los Angeles will DEFINITELY NOT be issuing more parking tickets this year. There are NO DIRECTIVES to do that whatsoever. NOT ONE. From grifray.

The proposal was discovered in a document from the mayor’s office titled “Revenue Outlook,” which outlines how the city can assume $2 million in fiscal year 2014-2015 from an increased collection rate, as well as $3 million from adding 50 part-time officers starting in October. The annual impact of the additional hires would total $4 million.

The mayor explained that the additional officers are meant to reduce overtime for existing staff and to maintain a minimum level of operation. The proposal is not an attempt to balance the city’s budget, he said. In fact, the monies that parking tickets contribute to the budget are a mere fraction (0.00037 percent) of what’s needed to right the city’s budget, Garcetti continued.

Members of the public remain skeptical. “Obviously, this has hit a nerve with the people of Los Angeles and, obviously, has hit a nerve at City Hall,” said Jay Beeber, one of the leaders of the LA Parking Freedom Initiative, a citizen-led effort that came together last fall to sponsor a municipal ballot proposal intended to correct perceived abuses of the current parking enforcement system.

The mayor’s office reached out to Beeber after the public outcry that followed reporting by CBS2/KCAL9 on the projected revenue gains from increased staffing of parking enforcement officers. He, along with a handful of others, met with the deputy mayor of the budget and innovation committee, as well a roomful of mayoral staff members. “We were happy to see that, happy to see the response,” Beeber said.

Still, “we want to uncouple from the general fund the fines and fees coming from parking meters,” he said. “We’re going to have to figure out how to do that, because that’s about $170 million with everything all together.”

Parking fines bring in more than $156 million for Los Angeles, which faces a budget shortfall in the next fiscal year. Drivers can be cited for 164 different violations, with separate regulations adopted by the state, city, Recreation & Parks

, Airport, and Harbor. The lowest fine is $25 for a state motor vehicle violation, with city tickets running between $58 and $63. Those figures rise for repeat citations.

A spokesperson from the mayor’s office says that a working group will be convened to analyze the distribution of parking fines and how improvements in technology might affect the ticketing process, among other items.

Category: News, Regulations