Weekly Question

I know I’ve been slacking of late and I apologize. I’m still working a ton in anticipation of a glorious six weeks off when Baby MC arrives. Consequently, I’m friggin’ exhausted by the end of the day. The end of the week? Forget it. I seem to have forgotten which day the week starts on and which day it ends on.

Enough bitching…
As if politics isn’t enough of a hobgoblin these days, here’s this weeks question from Mr. J:

So, here’s a Saturday question for you. Can we solve the budget crisis by having the police aggressively enforcing the requirement to have a front license displayed on vehicles? It seems that at least 10 to 20 percent of the cars I see on the road during my commute do not have a front license plate. Many of the car dealerships aren’t even putting license plate holders on the front of new cars. It seems to me that with penalties, assessments and the like cities and counties could raise amoumt of money. What say you?

Mr. J.

Well, Mr. J, I say you’ve an interesting point. The State of California is indeed in dire need of funds. You are not the first to bring it up. I’ve actually heard it a few times recently on car stops. Something along the lines of “I understand the State needs money.” Now, I don’t think your question has the same meaning theirs does, but I think my answer will suffice for both: I don’t particularly care about the State’s financial situation. My job has nothing to do with fixing their poor money management. My function is to keep the streets of Town safe and reduce the number of both injury and non-injury collisions alike.
For the sake of argument, however, let’s look at the violation and the fine for same. 5200 CVC covers the requirement for vehicles to have a front plate. It is a correctable violation. That is to say, if you fix the problem the fine is drastically reduced. Their is still a fine, though. Until recently, the fix-it fine was about $10. I believe now it is $25. I don’t have the breakdown in front of me, but if memory serves, I think the percentage of the fine the Town would get is minuscule. The courts get a cut, as does the county and the State. The sheer volume of 5200 CVC cites we as Traffic Officers would have to write to even make a dent in the budget gap is astronomically recockulous….(now those “Is your man gay?” ads are going to pop up again).
The bottom line, at least in my opinion, is it isn’t worth it. The money is insignificant and, by contrast, the time and manpower taken to not achieve a goal would be a complete waste.
Not one to be a pessimist, let me conclude with a suggestion that the State’s Leadership should pull their collective heads out of their collective asses and take a fucking Econ 101 class and learn how to BALANCE A FUCKING BUDGET! It ain’t that hard. I do mine every couple weeks. They have to do it once a damn year.
I’ll stop before I am sufficiently planted atop my sturdy soapbox….

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

9 thoughts on “Weekly Question

  1. Whatever you decide, please don't cite anyone from Pennsylvania. Our state does not issue front license plates. I've driven from PA to CA and back many times, and invariably I am stopped at least once on each trip by a friendly California LEO who wants to write me up for not having a front plate. Once I show them a copy of the PA DMV regs that I keep in my glove box, they always let me go.

  2. Dear MC: Your comments about the state legislature's repeated failures to balance a budget, or even to agree on an unbalanced budget, are right on.

    And I agree, that writing tickets for "revenue enhancement" would require violations for which the penalties/fines are much larger than $10 or $25.

  3. Like MC said, cities only get a smidgeon of traffic fine money. Big urban myth that we're out writing cites to generate revenue. I don't even bother with stopping someone for no front plate, unless the driver looks like a crook. I stop them for no plates at all, which often means the BS paper dealer advertisment "plates".
    These are the cheaters who go over toll bridges without paying.

  4. One BIG ticket is 14601.2(a). Its over $2,000.00! That's for driving on a license suspended for DUI. The problem is a) an officer needs other probable cause to pull over a suspect vehicle; and b) the kinds of dirtbags that normally get nailed with this are dirt poor and never pay the fines, anyway.

  5. There is yet another reason I cite for front plates.

    I regularly ask folks without front plates, or with no plates at all for that matter, where they live and where they work. Nearly every one of them crosses at least on or two toll bridges per day.

    They'll never admit to me that they go through the Fastrak or carpool lanes, but I know they do. With $4 a day in toll evasion, there's another way for the state to make up for the budget crisis.

  6. Their is still a fine, though
    Love your blog hate your grammar-THERE :o)) is still a fine….

  7. Like Pennsylvania, Michigan doesn't have the front license plate either. I moved from Ohio (which does require the front plate) to Michigan, and apparently over time the front plate from OH became all but glued on, so I left it – big mistake. In my travel across country, I was pulled over and I thought the officer was going to have a stroke, he was so angry about me having two different plates on my car. I guess I hadn't really thought about it, but…lesson learned. Plate pried off with all the tools I could scrounge up in my house.

  8. Hmm. "In order to raise more money, take more from the consumer." It would be simpler to just raise taxes, but I think SOMEBODY in Sacramento realizes we don't have any extra dang money they can take anyway. Not to defend them one bit, but I don't think it's quite so easy to balance a budget the size of California's, especially when we're already in such a mess. You say it's easy for you, but if your pay was cut in half or something equally drastic, I'm sure someone in your household would be yelling, "Don't you dare cut the baby's food budget! Don't you cut X, y, or Z!" Now multiply that by…how many millions do we have in this state?

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