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Are Street Sweeping Tickets a Tax on Renters?

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The city has a budget gap, and the Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is looking to one constituency to help fill that shortfall: street parking scofflaws.

Most Angelenos have probably been dinged with a ticket a time or two, but there's one group of people who are probably even more likely to get tickets than the rest: renters whose apartments don't come with enough parking spaces. About a third of the tickets handed out at any given time are for people who didn't move their car (or didn't move their car fast enough) on street-sweeping day.

Now the mayor wants to hike up fines for street sweeping tickets from $73 to $78, leading the Times to call out the city for its de facto tax on many renters. The mayor has admitted that hiking up parking tickets is a way to raise money for the city, and the Times wonders if this is the fairest way to go. After all, the vast majority of the people getting those tickets are renters, and many of them are living in less-than-ritzy sections of town with too few parking spots, like Koreatown or Pico-Union.

Remembering to move your car twice a week can be a pain, sure, but it's especially obnoxious since on many days it doesn't seem to have anything to do with moving out of the way for street sweepers. You get fined whether the broken glass from your neighbor's punched-out window gets cleaned up that day or not (and yes, we're speaking from a little too much prior experience).

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Suburbs with higher rates of ownership have much lower fines—or they don't even have the laws. Curbed LA notes that street-sweeping fines in Torrance/El Segundo are $43, and in Pasadena it's $46.50. In South Pasadena, Malibu and Rancho Palos Verdes there are no street cleaning tickets whatsoever.

To top it off, parking in the fire lane (which seems like a much worse sin) isn't even as expensive in LA right now (nor will it be if the hike goes as planned).

"The fine amount has nothing to do with the reality of the infraction," Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival, told the Times. "It's totally unfair."

Share your street-sweeping horror stories or chastise the rule-breakers in the comments.

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