Cities offer drivers a choice in tickets

Some cities are giving drivers who deserve a ticket a choice between one from the city or one from the state.(ABC7)

February 5, 2010 10:33:13 PM PST
A couple of Bay Area cities have started competing with the state in issuing their own speeding tickets, as a way for those cities to generate some extra money. However, some state leaders do not like it.

If you get caught speeding, you expect to get a ticket, but State Senator Jenny Oropeza was surprised to hear from somebody in Long Beach who was offered a strange choice by the officer.

"He was asked, 'Do you want the state ticket, which gives you a point on your record, or do you want the municipal fine, locally? It's higher, though," says State Senator Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach. "But no point."

The driver chose the traditional state ticket.

In addition to Long Beach, Oropeza's office found Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda County and the Sacramento suburb of Roseville have also adopted their own fines for certain traffic violations, thus taking away revenue from the state.

Different tiers for tickets are not just used for speeding. The City of Roseville, for instance, enforces its own laws regarding U-turn and stop sign violations.

City leaders insist their tickets are better because they do not add points to your driving record and the fines are about a third cheaper than the state's.

However, Senator Oropeza just introduced a bill banning local jurisdictions from having their own fines for moving violations.

"This is really nuts. People don't even know from municipality to municipality what the rules are," says Senator Oropeza.

Drivers we spoke with don't like the two systems either.

"One government is trying to raise funds for their city. The other government is trying raise funds for the state. So therefore they are in competition with each other," says Toni Lewis, a driver.

"It should be one price, and that's all. Two things like that, it's not fair," says Jon Bruscia, a driver.

"I think they're just trying to make their money. I think it's kind of robbery either way," says Jim Stilwell, a driver.

In an age when state leaders routinely raid local budgets, cities may just be looking for other ways to make up for lost funding.


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