As was first reported here and at La Opinion, the city Bell appeared to have helped to cover some its exorbitant employee salaries with an aggressive towing operation that had some police feeling pressured to impound cars.
It turns out that the city of Los Angeles is no slouch when it comes to towing cars for cash. La Opinion on Thursday reports that the city's take for impounds rose from $ 5.8 million in 2008 to $10.4 million last year not as a result of more cars being towed (there weren't) but as a consequence of higher administrative fees, which went from $48 to $100. That's just the city's cut. Anyone who's had their car impounded knows it can be a four-figure proposition:
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$1214.50 for towing and storage for 30 days, to be exact. And a month-long staycation at the local Official Police Garage is what your car will be treated to if you drive without a license.
(The OPGs themselves report that, including franchise fees and taxes, the garages actually handed over $18 million to City Hall last year, by the way).
Hermandad Mexicana Nacional president Raul Murillo argues that immigrant neighborhoods are targeted by police and their checkpoints because finding folks driving without licenses -- illegal immigrants aren't able to obtain California licenses -- is like shooting fish in a barrel, at $1214.50 a head.
That kind of easy money can be especially appealing at a time when L.A. is barely able to balance its budget and the effect of such includes less officers on the streets.