By Carlos Delgado
Fact: if you live in LA, you’ve gotten a parking ticket. After all, nobody walks in LA (shameless Missing Persons plug). That means anywhere we drive to, we have to decipher signs like these on a daily basis:
And nothing ruins a day faster than seeing that little slip of paper tucked under your windshield wiper. That is until you see how much the ticket is gonna cost you. For Jesus Pimentel, that mental lapse up at a parking meter initially cost him $63, according to LAist.
Of course, Pimentel forgot to pay it within two weeks, because seriously, who actually remembers to pay a parking ticket on time? So his $63 ticket instantly double to $126. Add in a $28 delinquent fee, plus a $21 collection fee, and suddenly Pimentel’s 50 cent slip up at the meter is costing him a whopping $175, a total he had to pay if he wanted to register his vehicle with the DMV.
It’s a pain we’ve all had to face. It’s seems obscene, exploitative, and downright illegal.
Wait a minute. Illegal?
Pimentel thought so, especially since he was forced to pay that outrageous amount without due process, so he’s doing what any red-blooded American would do when faced with something they disagree with, he’s suing. Pimentel has brought a class action lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles for penalties that he and his attorney, Donald G. Norris, claim are are “oppressive and violate the prohibition against excessive fines in the United States and California Constitutions, because the fines are grossly disproportionate to the failure to put a dollar or two in the meter. ”
The suit goes on to explain that a $175 ticket is %174.4 of the daily median wage of your typical Los Angelino. That figure only gets worse if you’re a Latino: $175 jumps to %336 of their daily median wage. Ouch.
Since it’s a class action lawsuit, that means we all can join in the fun and, if they succeed, reap the benefits. Let’s hope that Pimentel and Norris can stick it to the man, for all of our sakes.