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Traffic citations as a fundraising tool

September 03, 2013

I was just robbed by the cities of Burbank and Los Angeles. I committed the unpardonable sin of making an illegal U-turn on Magnolia Boulevard last June.

A $35 traffic infraction was magnified by our cities’ and state’s need for money and multiplied by a factor of 10 for a total, including fine assessment and traffic school fees, of nearly $350.

I was more than willing to pay a fair fine and attend online traffic school. I decided to make a court date and stand before a judge to declare my guilt and ask for a reduction in my fine based upon my fixed income.

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After pleading guilty and asking politely for a fine reduction, I was informed by Superior Court Judge Robert P. Applegate that as well as making a fine reduction, he could also increase my fine, and that he seldom did either. I then asked for community service and was denied.

Regardless of our cities’ or state’s need for money, allowances must be made for people unable to meet their financial obligations and pay additional inflated, unrealistic and detrimental fine assessments.

I found a website that shows the lion’s share of this money goes to the state, with descending percentages going to the county, the city of Los Angeles and the city of Burbank. Yet, the streets are still in disrepair. So, in reality, where’s all this money going?

The only thing accomplished by this blatant theft is the prevention of already financially compromised individuals from feeding and clothing themselves, purchasing much-needed medications or keeping their cars roadworthy. Have we become so desperate that we’ve become immune to the needs of our weakest citizens?

Pamela Lang
Burbank

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