View Full Version : Yet another threat to the public

01-29-2009, 10:54 AM
Hello, calguns,

I hope its alright to put this item here, even tho its not directly connected with firearms issues.......but, in a way, it is, however indirectly.

We all know about 'incrementalism', 'creeping socialism' and such things, to be sure........well, here's another little step in the creep, from the infamous Mr Perata, the one we all remember in another context.

Now, we tend to expect legislators to try to preserve some 'veneer of respectability', even when we know perfectly well that they're running a racket.

Given that, its mildly surprising that a legislator will be as overtly graphic about victimising the public for 'revenue enhancement' as Mr Perata has been, with this latest item.

Is this a situation in which the NRA demographic in California might have the opportunity to earn friends amongst 'middle America' generally, by mounting a campaign for repeal of this legislation?

This item itself may well be a minor one, as such things go, but it has tremendous symbolic value. The symbology, of course, is that of 'Stalinism', in which the 'party members' are well paid by victimising the general public, using police agencies as the de-facto equivalent of an 'organised crime' racket.

As a practical matter, it would seem probable that beat cops will have been pressed to write more 'revenue tickets', for the most trivial of 'violations'.

Will this lead to an increasing level of unpleasant interactions between police and the public, particularly those of the lower socio-economic levels?

If this becomes so, will there be a significantly increased level of resentment amongst some segments of the public, and what 'attitude' issues may be exacerbated amongst some segment of the police?

I don't mean to suggest that I think 'the sky is falling'.....but do consider the symbolism here.......a legislator frankly and openly mis-using police power to victimise the public for 'revenue enhancement' for government.

Anyway, here's the article from the San Jose paper....make of it what you will......



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The cost of a fix-it ticket — and others — just got quite a bit steeper

By Gary Richards

Mercury News
Posted: 01/29/2009 12:00:00 AM PST


* Latest from Mr. Roadshow

Got a broken blinker? You'd better get it fixed.

Under a little-noted law that took effect Jan. 1, the cost of a fix-it ticket has nearly tripled, and drivers who are tardy taking care of a burned-out headlight or another mechanical problem could pay as much as $100 for an offense that a few years ago didn't cost a penny.

Lacking the funds to renovate nearly 400 court buildings across California, the state Legislature approved a boost in fix-it fines from $10 to $25 under a bill written by state Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland.

The bill also raised surcharges on regular traffic tickets by $35, parking tickets by $3 and the court cost to attend traffic school by $25.

The increase in the fine for fix-it tickets — citations issued for a vehicular problem in need of repair — might not seem like much, but other changes in state law have made it potentially much more expensive. Where one such ticket used to cover several violations, the new regulations make each separate violation a $25 fine. So if a cop cites a driver for having a burned-out brake light and broken mirror, the penalty jumps to $50.

Tack on other fees that can be assessed for prior tickets, night court, security and other reasons, and the total bill can easily exceed $100. And if a driver is late in taking care of the problem, you're talking a bill approaching $200.

"This may be a pretty hot topic as soon as people realize how much fees have increased,"
said Sgt. Don Morrissey of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

"I'm shocked, to say the least," said Caroline Chang of Hayward, who has received fix-it tickets for a broken mirror and a brake light that was out because of a faulty fuse.

"I can understand a $10 fee for paperwork, but I'd be really upset, mad and ticked if I had to pay $50 to $100," she said. "That's a lot for a fuse being out."

A fix-it ticket is issued when an officer spots a driver with a problem that needs fixing, such as a broken mirror, faulty seat belt or a horn that won't honk. A ticket is issued requiring the driver to get it fixed within 60 days.

The driver takes care of the problem and goes back to police, who sign a form saying the problem has been fixed. The driver then sends in the notice to the courts and the ticket is dismissed.

There was no fine attached to a fix-it ticket until about a decade ago, when a $10 fee was assessed to cover court costs. But as California's economy worsens, state officials are searching for ways to pay for its growing needs.

"This will go for critical needs at courthouses that need to be renovated or rebuilt quickly," said Philip Carrizosa of the Judicial Council of California, saying it will cover the costs at 41 of about 400 courthouses in need of repairs.

"It's a solution to the state budget problems, by having court users pay these fees," he said. "It's not dependent on the General Fund."

The higher fees are expected to generate nearly $300 million a year, which will pay for preconstruction costs and debt service payments for 41 renovation or construction project approved by the Judicial Council in October. The stiffer fines will also provide $40 million annually for security and safety improvements and building code compliance.

Drivers are not the only ones caught off guard by the new fees. Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Armando Botello and Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader both said Wednesday they weren't aware of the new fees.

"My guess is that the initial reaction will be outrage, if they have had to pay only $10 in the past," said Palo Alto Police Sgt. Steve Herrera. "If they have never gotten a fix-it ticket, they might not know the difference. As time goes on, if there was any outrage, it will be forgotten.

"Tough economic times call for these type of increases. If people want the same level of service, we all have to tighten our belts and pay for it."

Contact Gary Richards at grichards@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5335.

# Surcharge on traffic ticket: $35 hike

# Fix-it ticket:
$15 hike per violation

# Parking tickets:
$3 increase

# Traffic school costs:
Up $25

Source: Judicial Council
of California

Alan Block
01-29-2009, 10:59 AM

01-29-2009, 11:02 AM
Really? Two days ago I paid a parking ticket my wife recieved; 26.00 fine and on the back it was 10.00 for a correction (fix-it).