The powerful LA Times and its columnist Steve Lopez, I we have reported before, is focusing on scofflaws who abuse handicapped placards. They got someone’s attention — read about it here.
Lopez raised such a stink that the local Parking Enforcement Staff, along with some LAPD officers and a lot of suits from city hall set up a sting in an area where such scofflaws were known to park. The parker would first be checked to see if they were supposed to have a permit, then cited by parking enforcement, then given a citation by the LAPD (for using an poached or illegal permit). Total fine, upwards of a grand. Yep, $1000.
According to Lopez, the group nailed three offenders in less than half an hour, picking up $3000 in citation revenue. Seems like a good deal to me.
Now I’m no expert, but if the joint LAPD/Parking Enforcement task force was kept in play, and they were able to keep up even a 4 an hour rate — 32 a day — they would write over 8000 tickets a year, and pick up an additional $8,000,000 in revenue. You need them both because one (parking) writes for parking without a permit, and the other (LAPD) writes for using someone else’s or a forged permit. Lets say the two officers make a total of $200,000 a year with all pay, overtime, and benefits, including cost of the vehicle.
Pretty good return. Plus, there is no question that the word would get out. You chances of getting a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot without a proper permit went from zero to you will get caught.
Lopez comments on the ethics issue of people taking a handicapped spot and of course the morality is a problem. Of course, politicians never seem to have a problem with immoral behavior. However if you wave Eight Million Dollars under their noses, I’ll bet there will be enforcement teams running around the City of Angels before you can say “parking cheater.”
Well done, Mr. Lopez. If you can’t convince them on the morality issue, talk about money. It gets everyone’s attention.