Park­ing, red-light ticket scam

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - DEB­O­RAH SIM­MONS Deb­o­rah Sim­mons can be con­tacted at dsim­mons@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

Hip, hip, hooray! D.C. of­fi­cials want to give folks who get park­ing and red-light tick­ets a break. Well, some folks. And, well, a mea­sure of a fi­nan­cial break. Oh, and it’s a sham, too. So, a cel­e­bra­tion is not yet in or­der.

The facts first: The D.C. Council is con­sid­er­ing leg­is­la­tion that would ex­empt res­i­dents from fines on cer­tain traf­fic tick­ets, such as those that dou­ble for park­ing tick­ets, speed­ing tick­ets and red-light run­ning tick­ets. (A breather for sure.)

The mea­sure, ti­tled the Traf­fic and Park­ing Ticket Penalty Amend­ment Act of 2017, pro­poses that if a, say, $300 speed­ing ticket isn’t paid within the 30-day grace pe­riod and is paid, say, 10 days late, the ticket would not dou­ble to $600.

In­tro­duced by fresh­man council mem­ber Trayon White, Bill 22-0204, how­ever, would not ex­empt com­muters in neigh­bor­ing Mary­land and Vir­ginia, or res­i­dents of other states who mo­tor into the na­tion’s cap­i­tal for work or school. Tourists who drive them­selves or rent cars would not be ex­empt ei­ther.

For sure, the roll­back in ticket fines is a poke in the eye to Mary­land and Vir­ginia in the name of a com­muter tax.

Un­der­stand, the city is not per­mit­ted to levy a com­muter tax for tend­ing to other states’ res­i­dents who tend to their jobs in the city.

In­deed, the ge­n­e­sis of the Dis­trict’s con­vo­luted anti-park­ing ap­pa­ra­tus was de­signed in the 1970s to sock it to com­muters any­way. The so-called res­i­den­tial park­ing per­mit is a per­fect ex­am­ple of the park­ing Nazis’ pol­icy rea­son­ing. The RPP pol­icy forces D.C. res­i­dents who own ve­hi­cles to pay an­nu­ally to park on their own block, and they have to place a sticker on their wind­shield to prove they’ve paid the price.

That’s why it’s so dag­gum in­ter­est­ing that one of the ex­pla­na­tions for the ex­emp­tion from dou­bling ticket fines is that poor peo­ple can­not af­ford it.

Said Mr. White, who rep­re­sents Ward 8 on the council: “The av­er­age per­son in D.C., es­pe­cially in Wards

7, 8 and 5, and parts of 4, [doesn’t] have ex­tra money to give to the gov­ern­ment.”

Well, nei­ther does the or­di­nary work­ing schmo who’s a wage earner or liv­ing on a fixed in­come, or a col­lege stu­dent who lives on $1 cups of caf­feine from Mickey D’s and Ra­men noo­dles from Family Dol­lar.

What’s more, D.C. Council mem­bers decades ago ex­empted them­selves from park­ing tick­ets. (There are ex­treme cir­cum­stances, such as a council mem­ber growl­ing at Fido over a fire hy­drant.)

And here’s the thorni­est rub: How in the dick­ens is the city go­ing to ex­empt a res­i­dent from the dou­bling of a red-light, park­ing or speed­ing ticket when the ve­hi­cle — not the driver, not the res­i­dent — is the of­fender?

Traf­fic cam­eras snap pho­tos of ve­hi­cles. Is the city go­ing to ask that mo­torists plas­ter their pho­tos, driver’s li­censes and in­surance cards on their rear wind­shields so cam­eras can snap them, too?

The sanc­tu­ary from the city’s an­tidriv­ing Nazis should be given to the D.C.-reg­is­tered ve­hi­cle and the D.C.li­censed mo­torist.

When and if city of­fi­cials can get with that pro­gram, an up­date will be in or­der.

Un­til then, this too is worth re­peat­ing: No­body has “ex­tra money” to give to the D.C. gov­ern­ment.

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