Daley Pushes For Two Ticket Boot Threshold, Chicagoans Get Ready To Be Screwed AGAIN!!!
The room seems to be spinning.
I think I’m going to vomit.
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting Mayor Daley proposed a plan Wednesday to change the number of tickets that trigger a boot from three tickets to only two.
Two tickets?!? Are you kidding me?!?
I need to lay down for a minute. Read the Sun-Times piece and perhaps I’ll have some thoughts afterward.
CITY HALL | Aldermen balk at Daley’s idea of locking up more scofflaws’ cars to raise cash to help fill $400 million budget hole
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Motorists with just two delinquent parking or red-light tickets would face the dreaded Denver boot, under a revenue-generating plan introduced by Mayor Daley Wednesday that infuriated Chicago aldermen.
Under the mayor’s proposal, 208,273 vehicles would currently be eligible for the boot.
In 2002, City Hall raked in more than $8.2 million and wiped 242,000 old parking tickets off the books with a carrot-and-stick approach to scofflaws. A six-week parking ticket amnesty was followed by a three-ticket threshold for clamping on the boot. The previous trigger was five unpaid tickets.
Now that Daley is scrounging for every available dollar to plug a $400 million budget shortfall, he wants to lower the bar even further — to two tickets. The move would generate “tens of millions” of dollars in added revenue, officials said.
Aldermen from congested North Side and impoverished South and West Side wards reacted angrily to the mayor’s squeeze plan, quietly introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
“Two tickets is not somebody being a scofflaw. You can have two tickets easily — and need an extra month to pay them — just by overparking on one location on one day,” said Ald. Helen Shiller (46th).
“That’s a big mistake. It’s too low, and it’s too punitive. If you weigh the revenue against the impact on people, I don’t think it’s worth it. It creates a huge hardship. People need their cars. They’re already limiting [their driving] as it is because of gas prices.”
At a time when consumers are struggling mightily with layoffs, home foreclosures and skyrocketing food and fuel prices, the city has no business “adding to the hardship” with an unrealistically low boot threshold, said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th).
“There are many people who have to drive and, try as they might, they get tickets because of density of the neighborhoods they live in. They miss that meter by two or three minutes and that’s a ticket. It’s not like people are purposely trying to violate the parking laws,” Lyle said.
“For us to reduce the booting [threshold] from three to two will certainly provide the city with additional revenue because you’ll catch so many more of our constituents. But, that’s not the way we should try to balance the budget.”
Police Committee Chairman Isaac Carothers added, “People are struggling already trying to make ends meet. To go to two tickets may be going a little bit too far. Two tickets is an awfully [low number] to come out and boot somebody’s car. … It just seems like we’re doing so much to squeeze people when they’re already in bad shape.”
Revenue Director Bea Reyna-Hickey countered that Chicago can no longer afford to give a pass to drivers with two unpaid tickets.
“When we booted on five tickets, motorists hovered at four. Now that we boot on three tickets, motorists continue to not pay two tickets. This is significant revenue that, for the most part, is over one year old. We need to do all we can to collect it. We know it’s in the tens of millions of dollars,” Hickey said.
The lower booting threshold isn’t the only hammer that City Hall wants to bring down on scofflaws.
Daley is also proposing that collection costs — which range from seven percent on ambulance fees to 22 percent for parking tickets — be passed along to ticketed Chicagoans who refuse to pay up.
Collection costs would be added to the tab after a grace period that ends Dec. 6. Parking and red light ticket scofflaws who sign up for payments plans would be excused from collection fees.
Pressed on the fairness issue, Hickey said, “Is it fair to all the other people who are paying their parking tickets that we continue to expend city resources sending repeated notices and incurring collection costs because they won’t pay?”
Last year, Chicago booted 58,886 vehicles. The booting rate is up slightly this year — to 29,719 through June 30 — thanks to vans equipped with automated license plate readers.
OK, I feel slightly better now. In fact, now I’m pissed.
The Mayor can’t figure out how to balance the budget, so he has to transfer the financial burden again, to Chicago motorists. Parking tickets, red light cameras, street sweeper cameras, boots, when does it ever end?
The other bad piece of news is the mayor is pushing to pass on collection costs to scofflaws. Again, when will it end?
The good news is that it seems the alderman are angry too and don’t want to go along with Daley this time around.
This still means you need to call your alderman TODAY and voice your outrage at Daley’s plan. Don’t be a wimp, don’t procrastinate, this is not a drill–DO IT NOW!!!
Here is the list of Chicago alderman contact info.
Otherwise, if Daley’s plan to lower the number of tickets for boot eligible vehicles passes, prepare to take it in the ass Chicago.