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Independent Group Looks to Improve LA Parking Enforcement

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Leaders of a group seeking to change how the city issues parking tickets said while they had a “positive” meeting with Mayor Eric Garcetti and his staff today, a potential ballot initiative could still be on the table.  

The Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative met with city officials, policy experts and Garcetti's staff at City Hall to propose ways the city could change its ticketing policies.  

The group is proposing that city adopting a $23 cap on parking fines.

The current average for parking fines is $68, according to the city's website.  

The parking fine cap was not discussed in detail during today's meeting, the group's co-founder Steven Vincent said, with the conversation revolving around identifying areas that the group could cover in the coming months.  

Vincent said he and his fellow group members are “optimistic some good is going to come out of this.”  

Vincent has said that if Garcetti and the City Council do not agree to the demands detailed in their plan, it will seek to have them implemented through an initiative that would appear on the March 5 ballot.         

“We reserve the right to go forward with the ballot initiative,” Vincent said after the meeting. “We are going to see how receptive people are to our ideas in the context of this process. And go from there.”

The people who gathered at today's meeting were formed into a “working group” that will begin meeting regularly to discuss the city's ticketing policy.  

Vincent and initiative co-founder Jay Bieber were made co-chairs of the panel's subcommittees.

Vincent said Garcetti, who attend the first few minutes of the meeting, encouraged the working group to “think outside of the box.”

Deputy Mayor Rick Cole told City News Service after the meeting there would be an “interim report” on the group's ideas toward the end of the summer, and there would be chances for the public to weigh in before then.  

The L.A. Parking Freedom Initiative wants “to make sure there is systemic change,” Cole said.   

“Our goal is to take the positive energy in the room today to improve outcomes,” Cole said.  

Vincent said Tuesday the city's high parking fines and citation practices are “abusive.”

“The lowest ticket on the books right now is $58, and that's pretty high when you consider, if you're working eight hours and you're making the minimum wage, your take home pay is probably around $64,” Vincent said.

“For someone working at minimum wage or low wage, an entire day's pay to pay for a parking ticket is not a reasonable standard.”  

Vincent also said parking enforcement officers operate under a “de facto quota” because the city each year estimates the amount of revenue it would receive from parking fines.

The fine revenue collected by the city should be placed in a special fund, instead of being viewed as expected income that could then be used toward the general operating costs of running the city, he said.

Garcetti spokeswoman Vicki Curry responded to the group's proposal today saying “we know that parking tickets are frustrating for Angelenos and we are looking forward to working with this group of stakeholders to address citation issues and look at ways to apply technology to help people find parking and avoid tickets.”

 

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