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Los Angeles Daily News

Friday April 10, 2015

Advocacy Group Wants Los Angeles City Hall to Lower Parking Fines

By Dakota Smith
 

Forget to move your car in Los Angeles on street sweeping days, and you'll face a $73 fine.

Now a group of parking advocates is demanding Los Angeles City Hall lower that fine and other parking citations. The group, created by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, wants many parking fines slashed to just $23.

The bold proposal is just one of many parking policy changes sought by the Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group, a group of residents, business leaders and transportation experts.

The group wants to see the lowered fines appear in Garcetti's upcoming 2015-2016 budget, set for release later this month.

Jay Beeber, co-chair of the group, characterized the city's current parking fines as "excessive."

Renewing the debate over L.A.'s parking ticket fines, Beeber's group released a report this week that seeks numerous changes, such as relaxing street sweeping rules and expanding parking hours in some neighborhoods.

But the most controversial proposal is likely to be the reduction in parking fines. The fines, which average $68, according to the city's website, are higher than in many neighboring cities, the group's report states.

For example, a street sweeping ticket in Beverly Hills is $65, according to that city's website.

The group wants to set fines at $23 for many violations, followed by $33 for second offenses, $48 for third offenses and $68 for fourth offenses.

Violations for safety-related offenses, such as parking in front of a fire hydrant or red zone, could be higher, Beeber suggested.

Garcetti spokeswoman Vicki Curry declined to say whether any of the group's proposals will appear in Garcetti's budget, scheduled for release on April 20.

Parking ticket revenue funds the city's budget, paying for basic services such as police and fire protection. More than $113 million has been brought in this fiscal year from parking citations, according to data compiled by City Controller Ron Galperin's office.

Addressing complaints about the city's steep parking fines, Garcetti vowed changes to City Hall parking policies shortly after winning the 2013 mayor's race. "Tickets should be used to manage parking, not as a revenue source, and that is what I am going to look to do," Garcetti said then in an online chat.

Shortly after, his office formed the parking reform working group.

Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, which focuses on housing issues, said street sweeping tickets primarily impact low-income renters who live in dense areas.

He declined to weigh in on the $23 figure but called the $73 street sweeping fine "out of whack."

"We want the fine to reflect the infraction, and not penalize those who can least afford to pay it," Gross said.

Beeber said he had been told by a top Garcetti aide that some of the working group's suggestions appear in Garcetti's budget.

But any change in parking fines won't happen "without a fight," Beeber predicted.


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