The economy might be in the crapper and businesses across the country are failing, but there's one growth industry, one sector of the economy that's thriving in D.C.: parking fines.
D.C. issued more than 14,000 more parking tickets in October than it did in September, reports the Examiner. That's up about 25,000 from the August doldrums.
There were 30 more parking enforcers on the city payroll this year than last, notes the paper. Anyone who's wandered around a residential zone in D.C. has likely seen the legions of blue-shirted enforcers with their little computer ticket machine in hand.
The City has issued 36,000 more tickets in fiscal year 2009 than the previous year. Beyond the army of ticket writers, the increase is also attributed to the new street sweeper cameras, which nab not just illegally parked cars, but lapsed registrations and other similar violations.
Who says government doesn't know how to harness technology to serve the people?
The spokesman for the City's Department of Public Works insists that these are not needless attempts to boost revenues, but to boost services, telling the paper, "People always make that claim, but our services are done by requests from residents." It's as if the extra revenues to increase service magically appear out of thin air! Poof! Here's some extra money we found laying under the couch.
On one hand, these tickets (generally) aren't unwarranted. People are breaking the rules. But are there too many restrictions? Are signs and rules too complicated?
And how do you balance the notion that D.C. is increasing its efforts to levy fines (thereby increasing revenue) at a time when other types of revenue it can collect are going down?