It looks like Mayor Eric Garcetti might be regretting his plan to use an increase in parking tickets as a projected $3 million or so fund-raiser for the city budget.
His budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes money to hire 50 more part-time traffic officers. But there was, of course, a backlash. And Garcetti this week had to deny to CBS Los Angeles' Dave Bryan that this was about a de facto parking tax.
Now Parking Freedom Initiative honcho Jay Beeber, a chief critic of the budget plan, says the mayor has agreed to create a "working group on parking reform." Sounds promising:
Beeber says he met with Garcetti Wednesday and hammered out an agreement that will have Beeber and Parking Freedom co-founder Steven Vincent join the working group that will work toward ticket reform. Beeber said:
Rest assured that the working group we are creating will not be some protracted effort or used as a way to delay needed reforms. There will be a specific time limit, such as 10 weeks, to come up with recommended changes.
He said the working group might meet as soon as next week and that any "changes" to L.A's ticket program would go to the L.A. City Council for a vote.
The Parking Freedom group still reserves the right to bring the idea of a ticket-busting initiative to the voters in 2015, Beeber said.
In a statement, the Parking Freedom folks said the mayor told them he "remains committed to a reorientation of parking policy from one of revenue collection to one of public service."
Here's a laundry list of what the Parking Freedom Initiative wants:
-"Public service-oriented" parking enforcement instead of tickets that are "revenue-oriented."
-Separating parking ticket revenues from the general fund and budget process.
-Reducing the cost of tickets.
-Making appeals more accessible.
-Establishing a process so that neighborhoods and businesses can change parking hours, meter rates, signs and more.
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-Establishing a "parking advisory board" and a "special parking revenue fund."
The initiative group states:
Unquestionably, the work of such a group must be to generate real, practical, implementable and timely solutions to the parking problems faced by Angelenos.