California: Low-income residents should pay a smaller fine for the same crime

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California – Michael Savage, a conservative talk show host, has made the claim over the years that “liberalism is a mental disorder.”

Michael Savage, meet California Governor Gavin Newsom.

California currently has $1.8 billion in outstanding fines for delinquent traffic citations. Last year, officers issued 3.6 million traffic citations, of which only $1.4 billion was collected. According to a recent study, high fines result in people avoiding paying them. Thank you, Captain Obvious.  

So, Newsom, social justice warrior that he is, proposed solving the problem by lowering traffic ticket fines for all California residents.

Oh, never mind. He only proposed cutting fines in half for low-income residents, according to CBS-8

Baker's dozen
Submitted by Sgt. C. Simmons

 

So, Newsom’s logic is this…traffic violations committed by low-income people are not the same as traffic violations committed by higher-income people. Or put another way, low income traffic violations are less serious than high income traffic violations, because…fairness.

Of course, social justice warriors think this is a great idea.

“I think it’s a good idea, because some people of low income can be trapped in a cycle of a tax that’s going to be the same or a ticket that’s going to be the same as someone with a larger income that can pay that,” said Eric Abramson of San Diego.

Whatever the hell that means.

“Maybe there’s a chance that more tickets will get paid and there will actually be more revenue for the state,” he added.

Another San Diego resident also loved the concept.

“Tickets are supposed to hit you in the wallet, but it should be proportionate to your income,” said India Moss. “A hundred dollars to me is not the same as $100 to someone who is making lots and lots of money.”

Got it.

Let’s take this to an absurd conclusion. Joe Six Pack falls in the low-income threshold. He runs a red light and hits a SUV with a family of five in it and seriously injures three children in the back seat. His fine is $100 for violation of the traffic control.

Buffy Martin falls in the non-low-income threshold. She drives her BMW through a red light, doesn’t get involved in an accident, and therefore causes no injury, but because of her income, her fine is $500, or five-times as much as Joe Six Pack. This is somehow supposed to be fair?

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Adobe Stock

 

Fortunately, there are still some sane people left in California. Another resident of San Diego, Kevin Allen makes the following point:

“Why separate the lower income folks from the higher income folks when it comes to driving? I think we just got to make sure we follow the law when it comes to driving your car,” he added. “Drive safely!”

Many years ago, as a police officer, the fine for going through a red light was $22. Now of course we are going back quite a few years, but over a very short period of time, the fine increased three-fold. I, along with many of my fellow officers felt that if the fines stayed in a relatively reasonable zone, it would accomplish two things. First of all, police officers wouldn’t be so hesitant to hand out tickets, and secondly, people would be more likely to pay the fines.

Part of California’s problem with collecting fines is the exorbitant cost of traffic violations. According to the Sacramento Bee, a right turn on red without a full stop is a $500 fine. In addition, most of these violations for this particular offense are issued via “red light cameras,” which are prominent at many intersections in California.

Blocking a wheelchair access at a curb? $1,100 ticket. Is the paint on your license plate peeling off? $1,00 please. These fines are not only ridiculous but are an example of outrageous confiscatory policies implemented by states such as California as a means to fund their budgets and provide things such as free health insurance to illegal aliens.

Newsom’s plan would expand upon a pilot program currently in place in four counties in the state; San Francisco, Shasta, Tulare and Ventura. That program was implemented several years ago after it was determined that increased citation fines have in fact reduced revenues for the state. You see, this is how liberals operate. Basic economics dictates when you lower tax rates, it actually increases revenue. So too with high traffic fines. Lower the rates across the board and you will increase compliance, and in turn, revenue.

Martin Hoshino, administrative director of the state Judicial Council said, “We are not achieving what we want to achieve. We might be incentivizing it the wrong way.”

No kidding.

The Bee reported that a $500 fine is more than the monthly disposable income for many California residents after they pay their regular bills, Hoshino said.

Hoshino says the state has “crossed the tipping point.”

“Why impose a level where they can’t pay and never will pay? You have gotten away from what you want, which is to create a deterrent for people not to engage in that (poor driving) behavior again.”

This is a problem for politicians. They see things such as traffic violations as a cash cow to fund their never-ending lust for spending. What is better? Issue 100 people $100 tickets where 80 percent pay or issuing 100 people $500 tickets where 10 percent pay?

Newsom’s proposal for the reduction in fines is a phased-in program that would be implemented on a schedule that would be put in place over time.

The interesting issue of these traffic fines is that the base fines in many cases have remained fairly stable for decades. However, state legislators have been adding extra fees, fines, assessments and surcharges (read TAXES) to citations to fund all manner of state programs through the state’s general fund. For example, failure to stop for a pedestrian is only a $25 fine, however after adding fees and all the other baloney, it comes to just under $200, nor nearly eight times the initial fine.

Newsom’s proposal to have a two-tier set of fines, one for low-income and one for high-income was praised by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.Look at her words and see if something sticks out.

“Governor Newsom’s budget proposal…is welcome news for our residents who rely on a fair, just and accessible court system,” she wrote on here website last week. “The governor’s proposal clearly recognizes that fixing the states fines-and-fees funding model is a three-branch problem that requires a three-branch-solution.” Fair, just and accessible. Fair and just. Is it us, or does “fair” and “just” only apply to people without financial means?

Matters such as this are what creates a chasm in our country. Punishing successful people in the name of “fairness” is wrong. We are all about fairness, but it is not a one-way street. Fairness goes both ways.

Envy is considered to be one of the “Seven Deadly Sins” we read about. It is defined as “jealousy over the blessings and achievements of others…”

We see this every day in both state legislatures across the country, as well as in Congress.

To continue the hypocrisy… California leaders have also decided that they’re going to stop prosecuting car break-ins. Why? Because apparently that’s racist. 

In the Golden State, where liberals have been running rampant for years and removed almost any semblance of criminal justice, an epidemic of car burglaries has overtaken the state. This has one Democratic lawmaker proposing the plugging of a loophole in existing law that allows most car break-ins to go unpunished. Of course, social justice warrior lawmakers in the legislature have balked at the request of state prosecutors to make obtaining convictions easier.

Currently, prosecutors must prove that a car’s doors were locked at the time of the break-in. The proposal would remove that requirement, however for two years in a row, the proposal has been held up in legislative committees. Liberal lawmakers, always throwing down with the criminals, and bowing to public pressure to enact criminal justice reform, do not want to do anything to act like they actually care about so-called “minor” crimes.

California: Low-income residents should pay a smaller fine for the same crime

 

Think about this for a minute. You can literally have someone who witnesses someone breaking a window to get into a vehicle and unless you can “prove” that the doors were locked, you are unable to get a conviction? Talk about the Twilight Zone!

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said, “It’s ridiculous that under current law you can have video of someone bashing out a car window, but if you can’t prove that the door is locked, you may not be able to get an auto burglary conviction.”

One police officer, who has asked to remain anonymous, shared with Law Enforcement Today the response he was given when he questioned the logic behind the law.

“I was told it’s ‘discriminatory and racist in its very nature to assume that a person is a criminal when the reality of it is that it could have been a case of mistaken vehicle identification'”.

Yup.  Welcome to California.

Local officials and Wiener have said that the legislation is needed in order to mitigate a statewide car burglary problem that has inundated the state, reaching what they believe to be crisis levels in some communities. Wiener introduced the legislation at the request of the San Francisco district attorney’s office.

In 2018, there were over 243,000 thefts from automobiles. Car break-ins peaked in 2017, but the average for the eight years prior was 223,000, so this was a significant increase.

In San Francisco, car burglaries spiked by 24% from 2016 to 2017, and while they dropped 13% in 2018 and 4% in 2019, numbers were still tracking to be higher than pre-2017 numbers.

Other cities in the Bay Area experienced similar increases over the past several years, such as San Jose, which experienced an increase of 20% between 2016 and 2018.

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Last October, San Francisco interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus announced a joint auto burglary task force led by her office, the California Highway Patrol and the San Francisco Police Department.

The program, named Operation Tangled Web, used air support and patrols to focus on hot spots in residential and commercial areas during the holiday season. The program also targeted the fencing of stolen goods stolen from automobiles.

“With approximately 70 auto burglaries a day [in San Francisco], these collective efforts are important in order to tackle this crisis head on,” said Loftus, who leaves office this month.

In speaking to the loophole in state law, Wiener said his bill would remove impediments to prosecutions in San Francisco, where many of the car burglary victims are tourists who cannot easily return to the state for court dates to testify that their vehicles were, in fact locked.

George Gascon, former San Francisco top prosecutor said the problem led him to ask Wiener to introduce the legislation. Gascon stepped down in October to run for Los Angeles County district attorney.

“I was disappointed that legislators chose to kill a bill that would have closed a loophole that disproportionately impacts one class of victim,” he said.

“Tourists are disproportionately targeted because they are more likely to have valuables in their cars, and this loophole means justice may not be applied equally.”

Gascon hopes that legislators will revisit the proposal this month when they get back in session.

In Los Angeles County, they have not experienced the same surge in car burglaries, however current LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey said, “We do share the frustration of having to prove a vehicle was locked as a factor in determining whether entry was illegal.”

LA saw a 14.3% increase in thefts from vehicles from 2015 to 2017, however in 2019 numbers were down about 6.7% from the same period in 2017.

Wiener, who said that he was never given a reason why his colleagues in the legislature held the bills in committee, but admitted that lawmakers have been reluctant to approve any measure that puts more people in jail.

As with many left-wing states, California has tried to reduce prison overcrowding over the past 10 years or so by reducing penalties for many crimes and blocking other bills that might lead to an increase in the prison population.

The change in legislation was opposed by the California Public Defenders Association, which tied in the issue to the rise of homelessness in major cities in the state.

“In an era where our streets are filled with homeless people looking for shelter from the elements, this expansion of the prosecution and incarceration time for individuals who have not damaged a locking mechanism of the vehicle to gain entry could negatively impact those with the least of means,” the public defenders said in a letter to legislators.

Wow…that’s a mouthful. So in other words, it’s fine to gain entry to a car as long as you don’t damage the locking mechanism. Got it.

 


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