Report: L.A. spends more on traffic and parking enforcement than it collects on fines

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LOS ANGELES, CA – According to reports, the city of Los Angeles is actually spending more money on traffic and parking enforcement than what the city collects in traffic fines. Apparently, this spending-versus-revenue conundrum has been ongoing since 2017.

The city of Los Angeles is reportedly spending more money on traffic and parking enforcement than it receives from traffic fines, in what reasonably serves as a prime example of bad budgetary management.

With a city as inundated with vehicles as Los Angeles is, the fiscal fiasco is certainly a head-scratching situation. And what’s all the more concerning is that the city has been spending more on enforcement every year since 2017.

In a report from Crosstown, Cari Spencer writes the following:

“Over the past five years, fines from parking tickets have brought in over $617 million to the city of Los Angeles. But over that same time, the department in charge of writing those tickets ran up costs of more than $809 million in salaries, equipment and other expenses.”

In short, the city of Los Angeles has managed to spend $192 million dollars more in traffic and parking enforcement over a five-year period than what was actually doled out in citations.

Which of course begs the question of “What gives?”

Colin Sweeney, the director of information for the city’s Department of Transportation, says that there’s a lot going on in the realm of tasks assigned to traditional traffic enforcement officers that are pulling them away from traffic enforcement-related efforts:

“Over the last decade, while revenue from citations has remained within a consistent range, our parking enforcement division has also provided a record number of traffic safety control hours for citywide projects, including street repair and maintenance, the construction and expansion of Metro Transit projects, and homeless encampment clean-ups.”

The onset of the pandemic also reportedly contributed to the shortfall, according to Sweeney – which the numbers certainly reflect the heaviest deficits in 2020 and 2021.

Public works projects like roadway repaving were already on the upswing. As a result, the officers had to devote more time to traffic control. Officers have also been tasked with monitoring COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites since the start of the pandemic. According to Sweeney, traffic officers would spend half of their time on COVID-19-related duties in 2020.

Furthermore, the city suspended many parking regulations during the first eight months of the pandemic, when millions of people were at home due to the closure of many businesses and offices.

The total number of tickets issued dropped from over 200,000 in January 2020 to about 45,000 three months later.

Assistant City Administrative Officer Patricia Huber also stressed the point that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation is not in the business of “revenue generation”, but rather traffic and parking enforcement to achieve “compliance”:

“The purpose of the citation program is compliance with parking restrictions, not revenue generation.”

Jay Beeber, the executive director of Safer Streets LA and past co-chair of the city’s Parking Reform Working Group, refutes the assertions made by Huber, saying that he has spoken to former traffic enforcement officers who’d say they’d be chewed out if they didn’t write enough citations:

“I had former officers who told us, quite clearly, they told us how all of this works on the inside and they were like ‘if you don’t come back with enough tickets, your boss talks to you and they’re like you’re not producing enough, we have a certain goal we have to meet.’…it’s just a perverse incentive structure.”

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Los Angeles BLM leader sues cops who responded to “swatting” call, then gets swatted again. And again.

(Originally published October 2nd, 2021)

LOS ANGELES, CA – The woman who serves as one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles chapter was recently the victim of a “swatting” incident – twice – earlier in September.

An attorney representing the woman proclaims that the recent incidents were a form of “retaliation” against their client, after the BLM Los Angeles chapter co-founder filed a lawsuit against police for their response to a different swatting incident that occurred in 2020.

Back on August 12th of 2020, Melina Abdullah was the victim of what authorities suspect to be was a swatting incident, which is when someone places a fake 911 call that would typically prompt a swift and heavy police response.

During that August incident, an unknown individual called 911 and said that there was a man holding hostages at Abdullah’s residence. Considering the nature of the call, LAPD dispatched officers immediately to the scene only to find out that there was no such incident ongoing.

Yet, Abdullah seemed to take the police response personally, thinking that it was “not accidental” that police arrived in SWAT gear at her home – alleging that police targeted her last August due to her being instrumental in organizing BLM protests throughout the summer.

On September 21st of 2021, Abdullah filed a lawsuit against the LAPD for their response to the August 2020 incident, saying before the press the following:

“They were not coming to quote-unquote keep me safe. They were coming to evoke terror. They were coming to terrorize.”

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents many LAPD officers, issued a response to Abdullah’s framing of the August 2020 police response and newfound lawsuit, saying that Abdullah likely would’ve staged a lawsuit had police not responded that day:

“We have no doubt that if LAPD officers would have been delayed in their response or did not take the threat to kill hostages seriously, Ms. Abdullah would be suing the city for not providing an adequate police response.”

On September 22nd, one day after Abdullah filed the lawsuit against police over the response to the August 2020 incident, she was the victim of another swatting incident. During the September 22nd incident, a 911 caller was pretending to be Abdullah’s son and told the dispatcher that his mother had just overdosed on pills.

Of course, police responded to the home swiftly.

A neighbor of Abdullah was able to get her on the phone and police were able to determine that they were the subject of another fake 911 call.

But this wouldn’t be the last incident.

On September 29th, LAPD officials say officers were dispatched to Abdullah’s home at around 5:45 p.m. after someone called 911 and proclaimed to have kidnapped the BLM activist and was holding her at gunpoint.

Six police units and a supervisor were dispatched to the home due to the severity of the 911 call, but officials say the officers left the scene once it was determined that no one was in any legitimate danger.

LAPD Captain Stacy Spell explained that even though Abdullah’s home has clearly been the target of some prank 911 calls, the LAPD cannot simply assume that incoming reports are a prank:

“It is the department’s obligation to treat every radio call, especially those threatening violence, seriously until we can determine otherwise.”

Abdullah’s attorney, Erin Darling, claims that the recent swatting incidents appear to be “retaliation” regarding the lawsuit filed earlier in September:

“This sure looks like retaliation for her filing a lawsuit.”

Police officials haven’t commented on whether they have any leads on where these fake 911 calls are coming from.

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LAPD arrests parolee who they say raped, threatened to kill girl he followed on transit to South Los Angeles

(Originally published October 9th, 2021)

LOS ANGELES, CA – A 45-year-old man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl that he allegedly followed from a Metro train to a bus she boarded in late September was arrested on October 6th, according to reports.

The LAPD noted that the rape suspect in custody was already on probation for a previous narcotics offense during the time of the incident.

Police arrested 45-year-old Terry Edward Scott Jr. at approximately 3:20 p.m. within the 500 block of South San Pedro Street on October 6th under suspicion of rape and kidnapping in connection with a September 26th incident where a teenage girl was victimized.

Authorities say that on September 26th at roughly 9:00 p.m., the teenage girl and Scott were riding on the same Metro train from a downtown Long Beach station but were not riding together as a pair of sorts.

Scott allegedly tried approaching the teen several times on the train, which she later moved to a different train car to avoid him.

The train was headed toward north to the Los Angeles area, when the teen girl reportedly exited the train and hopped on a bus, with police saying the suspect followed her onto the same bus. After the victim got off of the bus near Vernon Avenue and San Pedro Street, authorities say that Scott continued to tail the young girl.

In a statement released by the LAPD, it’s alleged that Scott committed the attack at an apartment complex parking lot:

“The suspect forced the victim to a parking lot of an apartment building where he threatened to kill her and then raped her.”

Police attributed credit to numerous tips that came in regarding the October 6th arrest of Scott, which said tips were likely due to authorities releasing surveillance images of the suspect while he was still at-large.

Scott was arraigned on October 8th, with officials noting that he’s being held without bond.

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