This week, Los Angeles County okayed a new regulation banning the throwing of Frisbees or footballs on the beaches – which, of course, destroys the purpose of living in Southern California in the first place. The first offense will earn you a hefty $100 fine; the second, $200; the third and beyond, $500. You can, of course, apply for a permit. For parents with industrious children, holes deeper than 18 inches are also banned – so get your kids the cheap plastic shovels or pay a fine.
What’s the point of this law? Unless it’s to prevent horrific incidents like this, the only point is to raise cash for the state. This has become the MO for California law enforcement: higher ticket costs, more tickets written. California is now a police state – except when it comes to policing actual crime in hard-hit areas. The state, counties, and cities task police officers with going after soccer moms going 45 in a 35 zone rather than monitoring drug-ridden precincts.
The trend is obvious, and California motorists know it: as McClatchy reported back in August 2011, “As the state and cities wrestled with shrinking revenue and growing budget gaps, the California Highway Patrol issued about 200,000 more traffic citations in 2009 than it did two years before. Sacramento Superior Court, meanwhile, processed about 37,000 more traffic filings last year than in 2006 – a 16 percent increase.” The size of the fines has escalated dramatically, too: “With the average fine costing as much as $250 and rising, the increase in CHP tickets produced as much as $50 million over two years. That money went to state and local courts, crime labs and other purposes.”
While officials maintain that no edict has gone out to give more tickets, the politics of the situation is clear: California’s hard up for cash, and they’re willing to do virtually anything to raise it. That’s why in October, California created an “amnesty” plan for drivers with tickets older than January 2009 – if they paid up by the end of the year, they could pay half price. That wouldn’t disincentivize bad driving, of course – it would just raise money faster for the state. Meanwhile, liberals in California have rammed through a bill that blocks police from impounding cars of unlicensed drivers, mainly illegal immigrants – a measure that obviously increases vehicle danger, since illegal immigrants do not have insurance and are disproportionately likely to be involved in accidents. In fact, unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in traffic fatality accidents than licensed drivers.
So this isn’t about safety. It’s about cash, as always. This is how police states are created – by out-of-control spending requiring somebody to fork over more dough.