The L.A. City Council knows our weak spot. In order to get almost anywhere in this godforsaken sprawl pit, we need to drive a car. Unless we can afford valet/a driveway, we often need to park that car on the street; and unless we're perfect parking robots, we sometimes sprint back to our vehicles five minutes after the meter has expired or the street-sweeping window has commenced.
Clearly we're just asking for some indirect taxation:
The L.A. City Council, desperate to balance the 2012-13 budget, bumped up all parking tickets by $5 last month. That means expired-meter tickets now cost $63 and street-sweeping tickets now cost $73.
So! Now that they've gotten the icky part over with, councilmembers are slowly building a stricter parking infrastructure that will help them cash in on their egregious new fines.
Two weeks back, city politicians ordered the Department of Transportation to install 437 new parking meters in the Palms and Westchester neighborhoods.
And tomorrow, they'll be voting on an even more controversial source of income (because it's disguised as a city service): street sweeping.
Councilman Tony Cardenas has revived his 2009 motion to not only expand sweeping routes to cover more residential streets, but to add no-parking signs to over 8,000 miles of current route. And for some of the streets that already have restrictions, he wants to widen the no-parking window.
"Street sweeping provides numerous benefits to a neighborhood and the community at large. Sweepers clear the streets of dirt, debris, and trash that might otherwise clog our storm drains or be carried by run-off to the ocean. Sweepers improve the livability of a neighborhood and clean streets foster community pride."
However, on routes with no parking restrictions, he laments that "much of the debris and trash is left behind or blocked by parked vehicles."
We haven't heard a peep from residents about dirt or trash buildup due to insufficient sweeps. In fact, just the opposite: Last year, Silver Lake was raising a fuss about parking tickets being issued on days that the sweeper didn't even come, and a Sherman Oaks resident recently asked the local Patch:
"I believe street cleaning has become more of a ticket racket than an essential city service, and as a resident I'd like to know my options. Does our street or neighborhood have the option to waive mandatory street cleaning parking restrictions? When I lived in Glendale, the street cleaners drove around the parked cars and it all worked out fine - and that was even in the equestrian zone where there was actually something to clean. What choices do we have?"
The City Council will decide tomorrow whether to send Cardenas' proposal to the City Administrative Officer "to prepare a report analyzing the financial impacts of the proposed alternatives."
Which, of course, will not include the financial impacts of $73 tickets on L.A. residents who accidentally slept in on street-sweeping day.