Friday, 8 January 2016

The "Fine" City

One of the things that I learned while living 3.5 years in Arlington, VA.....was that the District of Columbia is a money-eating machine.

I'm not talking about the federal government itself.....I'm talking strictly about the city management folks and the underlying support staff.

This week, it got brought up in DC and some folks are all hyped.....over the new fine that will go into effect if you are caught speeding twenty-five mph over the speed limit.  The old fine?  $300.  The new fine?  $1000.

There are other fines on the increase which irked the locals.

You could be fined $200 for rolling through a red-turn-on-red light, without stopping.

You could be fined $500 for blocking traffic  while sorting out an accident.

You could be fined $100 speeding near a recreation field or senior citizens center.

You could be fined $500 for failing to slow down or getting out of the way of an ambulance or emergency vehicle.

Oddly, you could be fined $500 just for failing to yield to a METRO bus trying to reenter traffic from a stop.

There's talk that some folks are fairly angry at the city council and maybe this might be changed back to the old fine amount.

The city relies upon the federal government to give them a fair amount of their pocket money, and upon city property taxes, and city income taxes for those really stupid and need to live in DC itself.

How often do these fall into effect each week?  No one really says much about that.  I'd take a guess that the over-25-mph speeding episode ($1,000) might be a thing that only happens five or six times a week.  The $100-fine for speeding near a senior citizens center?  If you don't know the neighborhood.....this might be fifty or sixty times a week.

Without counting parking fines.....which are bad enough.....these guys are probably making over half-a-million a month from these various fines (my humble guess).  For a population of 650,000-odd's a fair chunk of money.

You can imagine going to the wife to mention you got a ticket on the way home today......and she finally drags it out of you.....a $1000 fine.  That just wouldn't work.