L.A. politicians are pleased to announce this afternoon that they avoided laying off any city employees in the 2012-13 city budget. (So union heads can put down their daggers, for now.)
But guess where they found $2.4 million of the emergency cash they needed to save their City Hall family?
Your overflowing parking-ticket fund, of course!
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa originally suggested that four particular types of parking violations -- red-zone, street-sweeping, fire-hydrant and fire-lane -- cost an additional $10 each. That would have raised some fines as high as $100, a number that sent even apathetic Angelenos into a frenzy of activism.
But in a stroke of political genius, the Budget and Finance Committee saw a way to make this indirect taxation look a little less harsh, yet collect the same amount of money from residents.
Here's what they did at last week's meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times: They "replaced a proposed $10 hike in selected parking fines with an across-the-board $5 increase to dozens of other violations."
We called Councilman Paul Krekorian's office for a full list of violations that will now cost us $5 more.
His spokesman, Jeremy Oberstein, says that all Krekorian and his committee did was "lower the increase of that fee from $10 to $5." But he does acknowledge that the $5 increase will now be added onto more violations than the original four. He agrees to send us a full list. (We'll post it as soon as we get it.)
Budget report suggests a $5 increase on ALL parking tickets instead of a $10 increase of street sweeping tickets. #LAGov
— Alice Walton (@TheCityMaven) May 15, 2012
Do you understand what's happening here, Los Angeles? In order to balance a budget that they've singlehandedly botched into a state of disrepair, your elected officials are now asking you to pay even more for trying to get around this transit-challenged city in your car.
Yes, that may include oversleeping for 10 minutes while your car sits in the path of the street sweeper. (Even if the sweeper doesn't ever come.) Or parking a wee bit awkwardly because there aren't as many spaces in your neighborhood as there are people who live in it.
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Back when the mayor pitched his $10 increase, L.A.'s Coalition for Economic Survival called it an "attempt to balance the City budget on the back of renters, the poor and workers."
And the same can be said of the $5 across-the-board version. Now, the fine will just be levied in smaller, less intimidating increments.
So the 20 percent of L.A. households living below poverty level -- and the 13 percent of L.A. residents without any job to speak of -- might want to stay mad, or whatever.