A scheme by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to install newly hired parking enforcement officers that would raise more cash for the city by handing out more dreaded citations has been officially rejected by the City Council.
Garcetti originally requested an additional 50 part-time parking enforcement officers as part of his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Under his plan ...
... those part-timers could have brought in an extra $3 million in 2014-15 for the city budget.
But the proposal was immediately blasted by critics as "revenue-driven parking enforcement." That notion was later supported by an ex-L.A. Department of Transportation worker who said there were indeed ticket quotas in the city that led to borderline parking violations being written up.
The council today officially nixed the idea of making the extra hires, however, when it voted unanimously for the second time to approve a budget for the new fiscal year. That document has no money for the 50 officers.
Garcetti could veto the budget, but that seems unlikely.
The revised budget includes about $207,000 to hire five full-time officers who would be dedicated to traffic control.
And another 17 part-time hires already authorized but not funded would now be paid for under the budget: $2.291 million would be set aside for that. And be assured, they'll probably pay for themselves with tickets.
But the 50-officer racket endorsed by Garcetti, whose budget proposal noted "ticket issuance and corresponding revenue has begun to flatten," seems dead for now.
We reached out to a few budget leaders on the council to see if anyone wanted to take credit for killing Garcetti's scheme. None of them got back to us. The city's Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Councilman Paul Krekorian, first suggested the parking enforcement haircut.
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[Added at 4:27 p.m.]: Krekorians' office got back to us, saying it was the whole committee that came up with the idea of nixing the 50 part-timers in favor of 17
full part-timers [as well as 5 full-timers] who can do other things besides write tickets.
The Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative, which has been battling City Hall over its parking-ticket policies, sent us this statement:
The Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative is pleased that the budget adopted by the City Council did not include hiring the additional 50 part time parking enforcement officers that had been proposed. Part time officers are only trained to write parking citations and so their only function would have been to generate an additional $3 million dollars in tickets. We hope this signals something of a shift in the City's philosophy on parking policy from one of revenue generation to one of customer service. However, there is still much work to do in reforming parking policy in L.A. What really matters is not the number of traffic officers on the street, but what they are doing when they are out there. Elected officials, DOT, and the officers themselves must stop viewing their job as one of ticket writing but rather one in which they are there to serve the public in order to facilitate commerce, ease of transit and livability for citizens and businesses in the City of Los Angeles.