Thursday, July 28, 2011

For the Politically Connected, Los Angeles Red Light Tickets Were "Voluntary"

We've been going around in circles for weeks about whether to shut down the red-light camera program in the city of Los Angeles, so many observers were happy to learn that the City Council finally voted yesterday to kill it. What was less pleasing, however, were the circumstances under which the vote occurred: as reported in the LA Times, the move came in response to considerable public backlash over revelations that many city officials considered payment for camera tickets "voluntary."

Apparently, LA court officials made the decision not to pursue violators who failed to pay their fines. According to the Times, "For a variety of reasons, including the way the law was written, Los Angeles officials said the fines were essentially 'voluntary' and that there are virtually no tangible consequences for those who refuse to pay." Drivers, of course, were not told this at any point. When this came to light last week, it predictably created an uproar among drivers who paid their fines. Just as predictably, Los Angeles has refused all requests for refunds, and some drivers are exploring a class-action lawsuit to recover these fees, which can run as high as $500. If this sounds familiar, it should: back in May, LA motorists were outraged to learn of the existence of the so-called "Gold Card Desk", a little-known avenue for getting traffic tickets fixed. So it's looking like the city's well-connected have enjoyed more than one special service from the Department of Transportation at the expense of everyone else.

1 comment:

  1. I got a red-light ticket in 2007 and I'm still pissed off about it. I will gladly support and contribute to any class action suit that arises against the city of LA. Besides the $380 ticket fine, I'll also be looking to recover $600 of increased insurance premiums assessed for 3 years following the ticket.