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'Freedom Initiative' Calls For $23 Cap To Parking Fines In LA

LOS ANGELES ( — Staffers with Mayor Eric Garcetti's office Thursday met with several leaders of a group seeking to cap parking fines at $23 per citation in Los Angeles.

Members of the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative (LAPFI) seek to work with Garcetti's staff to "appropriately change parking enforcement abuses" through administrative means, founder Steven Vincent said.

Vincent told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that at the meeting, which marks the first time Garcetti's office has met with LAPFI leaders since April, the group will officially call upon the mayor and the city council to "voluntarily adopt" a reform plan that includes a $23 cap on parking fines.

LAPFI Founder Steven Vincent

"Right now, a parking meter violation is $63. If you're working at or near minimum wage, that's about your entire day's take-home pay," said Vincent. "If you look at it in that perspective, that's not a reasonable standard."

Currently, the lowest parking fine in LA is $58, Vincent said. The proposed cap would not include fines that involve public safety, such as blocking a fire hydrant.

If Garcetti and the council do not agree to the group's demands, it will seek to have them implemented through an initiative that would appear on the March 5 ballot, Vincent said. An online petition from LAPFI needs 60,000 valid signatures from registered voters to place a parking reform measure on the ballot.

From 2012 to 2013, the city of Los Angeles generated $157 million in parking revenue. Vincent said that money goes to the general fund.

The group's proposal (PDF), thus, includes a plan to separate parking ticket revenue from the general fund by placing it in the Special Parking Revenue Fund and the establishment of the Los Angeles Parking Services Administration, which would encompass the city offices pertaining to parking policy and administration.

Garcetti said he remains open to changing the philosophy behind how parking enforcement operates in LA.

"We get some revenue for the city, but we spread that out in the same way that the private marketplace does in order for us to sustain city services without this kind of, 'Oh, we're gonna punish you for the one second that (the meter) is over,'" he said.

Several members of local neighborhood councils, homeowners associations and business improvement districts also attended the meeting, which was held in the mayor's press conference room at City Hall.

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