California Traffic Tickets Rise While Economy Tanks

California is broke. Cities are bankrupt. Too many workers exist on public payrolls. California has emerged as a shakedown state, putting out a government hand to collect its fair share from citizens conducting routine activity.

And Califonia municipalities participate in their own local way. One way that works well: Increase traffic ticketing to raise revenue.

Too many police officers in Quincy, California, are harassing the people. Thirty-two CHPs officers in a town of 26,000 far outnumber the officers per population elsewhere. With that many public servants on the roads with nothing to do, police harass drivers in the hope of discovering ticketable offenses.

Residents driving around town are stopped for anything from open gas caps to no reason at all. A glass of wine with dinner is a thing of the past. Dining out is down in Quincy from folks fearing a CHPs check on the road going home, nevermind that no wine was consumed at the meal.

If overstaffing CHPs is the issue in Quincy, an underfunded police department is the issue in San Diego. For a city out of money, raising revenue comes from ticketing drivers for driving, while trumping up an offense and calling it speeding.

One spot comes to mind as it accounts for a preponderance of speeding tickets citywide. On College Ave. between Montezuma Road and El Cajon Boulevard, 1700 speeding tickets issued in 2011. The stated objective was to lower traffic accidents, although the 1700 ticket recipients might counter that argument.

Under the guise of safety for residents, San Diego police target well-to-do La Jolla residents for speeding infractions on Mount Soledad Road. At the lower south side of the Mount, police stand in waiting in residential side streets where the posted speed limit drops from 40 to 35 mph.

Mrs. Kahn, heading uphill to her mah jongg game in La Jolla, drove this stretch of Mount Soledad Road to be stopped for speeding in the 35-mph zone. “What did I do, officer?” she inquired with sincerity. “You were accelerating,” the officer said in an accurate statement of every driver pressing the pedal getting uphill on Mount Soledad Road.

The fine for speeding on Mount Soledad Road is $400 and a required refresher course on driving safety. Mrs. Kahn said she was glad that her offense injured no one and that she could afford to pay the ticket. The San Diego police are counting on gracious people like her to raise revenues from residents in a city that’s broke.

Incidently, the fine for speeding on the downhill side of that road is also a usurious $400. And it doesn’t matter a whit to the police that acceleration due to gravity contributes considerably to every offense cited there.

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