Let's see. What's the most unpopular budget solution that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa could possibly propose during his city's disastrous $238 million shortfall?
Aside from reinstate that evil fleet of red-light cameras, the clear consensus (between, uh, us and everyone we know) would be to up the fine for parking violations.
And so, with his veracity vanishing quicker than ever…
… the mayor has proposed that various types of parking tickets be raised by $10, the L.A. Times reports. Because who better to patch up Villaraigosa's terrible accounting job these last seven years than parking-class L.A. taxpayers?
If City Council politicians chooses to approve the fee hikes, it'll be of no consequence to them. According to an LA Weekly investigation in 2010…
… the 15 City Council members, who each earn salaries of $178,789 per year, 400 percent of the median L.A. income, and drive free cars filled with free gas, made sure they are exempt from parking tickets.
This isn't the first time Villaraigosa has turned to the dreaded windshield envelope for cash. Since he was elected in 2005, parking fines have been bumped up six times already. Now, under his seventh proposal, this is how much each infraction would cost us, according to the Times:
Parking in a red zone: $98
Getting in the way of a street-sweeper: $78
Parking too close to a fire hydrant: $73
Parking in a fire zone: $68
And here we were worried about student loans! Not only is this a blatant flex of indirect taxation — exploiting thousands of parking-challenged city residents who spend hours trying to find a spot in their ever-denser neighborhoods, and sometimes just can't — but the extra ticket revenue would hardly make a dent in City Hall's budget hole.
Under the proposal, Villaraigosa will only make $40 million more this year off parking tickets than he did in 2005, the Times reports.
And that's assuming residents even pay the things. As fines have skyrocketed, City Controller Wendy Greuel has noted that millions of dollars have gone uncollected. So L.A. City Hall doesn't get the money, and struggling car owners get frightening calls from GC Services and an ugly scar on their credit reports.
Street-sweeping tickets in particular have caused outrage across the Eastside, where residents say they are ticketed on days when the street sweeper was supposed to come, but never did. Silvia Cerna of Silver Lake told Eastsider LA last year:
“If the City has the man power to continue to issue tickets for parking violations, they should also comply and have street cleaned as scheduled since it is receiving revenue for a service that is not being provided. This is not the fist time this has happened, and frankly it is very frustrating to have to live in a very dirty street where signs are posted stating the street is cleaned every Friday.”
And that's back when a sweeper ticket only cost a girl $55. The good old days!