Sneaky crosswalk law in Los Angeles is a tax for the crime of being poor



Policing public menaces such as these are our top priority!


On the one hand, downtown enforcement should be higher where the danger is highest, but on the other hand…

“Ticket prices have shot up in California and elsewhere, and as we’ve
seen in national headlines, fanatical enforcement is often a means of
filling budget gaps. But $197 for what Lopez did is ridiculously
punitive, and entirely out of proportion to the infraction. In
Saillant’s story, she said Lopez was one of eight pedestrians cited by
the same officer in two hours. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that
some of the eight were low-income like Lopez, some were middle-income,
and some were rolling in dough.In that scenario, a
$500,000-a-year broker pays the same penalty as a struggling student.
But it’s chump change to one, and a month of groceries for the other.It’s
the equivalent of an added tax for the crime of being poor. Sorry,
young man, but you’ll have to pay a far higher percentage of your income
than the rich guy.”


Hmmm… almost non-crime leading to unaffordable fines…
unaffordable fines lead to jail-time…
Jail-time is very expensive to taxpayers…

Makes little sense until you realise that the USA has for-profit prisons, so the more prisoners the greater the profit…

And that’s when you get the conflict of interest. Big money is going to be pressuring for as many imprisonments as they can, regardless of knock-on damaging effects.

Once they can get the police force privatised they’ll basically have income on tap, as much of it as the taxpayer can barely cope with… Of course, it’ll all be for their ‘protection’

Edit: typo


If that filthy peasant had just been trudging slowly back to his hovel, rather than trying to rise above his station, none of this would have happened. I think that it is obvious where the blame lies.


It lies with Glendale Community College! Clearly tuition is too low. Who will load my pallets with too much for too little?


Seriously? You figured the flashing red hand meant, “Hey, hurry up, there’s still [9…8…7…] seconds, you might make it if you run”?

I mean, I know no one reads the California Vehicle Code, but did you never even read the little “failure of the iconic interface” decoder placards attached to the ‘Walk’ buttons?

Y’know, these?

They’re all over LA, and I know for sure they’re at ‘Sakharov Square’ in Studio City. Because I walk there too. We’re homies (-:

(I have seen people ticketed for this there, though. Boy, do they complain!)

Sneaky bustards, though, ain’t they, sneakin’ a law like that up on you on, like, every other traffic light pole…


Just think, for centuries the public roads were designed to be used by anybody and anything they could fit on them. It took a peculiar kind of social change to insist that only the automobile could safely be accommodated on public streets, and all other uses were an unsafe perversion of their true purpose. Car culture has done so many terrible things to our world, ridiculous walking tickets barely scratches the surface.


Knowing that you aren’t supposed to do it is different than knowing that it’s a ticket-able offense.


That 500k/yr broker would be ticketed $5000 were ticket fines progressive. But no, we hate the poor, blame them for being poor, penalize them disproportionately and have the audacity to say it’s for your own good.


Aside from all the other problems with this, we really need automatic means testing / income scaling for this kind of citation. There is no way that a minimum wage worker should be fined $197 for even a “legitimate” traffic related citation. Plus, if the cops knew they could raise more cash by ticking in rich neighborhoods, it would give some incentive to move these operations to places where the targets had the means to fight it.


So… that’s a legally binding sign? I see it as more a warning, and basic instructions–for example, am I going to get a ticket if they don’t SEE me watch for vehicles as the first line says? I wouldn’t have assumed I’d be ticketed for starting when it’s flashing based on that informational sign–I’d only expect to be ticketed if I was in the crosswalk when the NO WALK sign was lit. Period.

And… hell yeah, I can make it by dashing across the street once the flashing starts in most cases.

Definitely want the progressive method some European countries are going with. This guy should have got maybe $30.00. Enough to sting a minimum wage slave, but not make him miss his rent or go hungry. $197.00 is a huge penalty for him, but is essentially no punishment at all for the rich. That’s just bullshit.


For some reason I thought I’d read that it might be cheaper to jaywalk in the middle of the block instead of running a crosswalk. I couldn’t find that, instead, I found this comparing a $197 jaywalking ticket to a $58-73 parking ticket. Though, as they point out, one is a moving violation with a lot higher odds of injury than the stationary one.


But unlike most “moving violations” jaywalking is primarily a danger to the offender rather than other innocent bystanders. If you commit a moving violation in a car or even on a bicycle you’re much more likely to hurt another person than you are just by running across the street.


I got ticketed once in Beverly Hills for jaywalking, so this is not limited to poor areas, although maybe the crossing on flashing part is. I don’t have a problem with the police enforcing the law. But, the amount of the ticket is ridiculous as are most fines in LA. First offences should never be more than an hour of minimum wage, except for particularly egregious offences.


I actually caught one of those bullshit tickets at Van Nuys. : ) The cops were standing at the curb waiting, right where people had to cross the street to transfer from the subway station to a bus. It’s hard for me to think of something that’s more clearly 100% about money and not about safety or quality of life in any way.


Whether it is possible to ticket for this is beside the point because it is definitely discretionary.

If Eduardo did not disrupt traffic or endanger himself by his action the officer should at most bother him with a warning but could probably spend their cop-time better doing almost anything else. Eduardo was in a hurry, and there’s no law against that, or running/dashing across despite it being a a cross-walk-. With 10 seconds left there is almost no chance he was still in the intersection when that time was up, and less chance that he was in the intersection when the lights changed as there is usually a flit of time between pedestrian/vehicle signal switches.

It doesn’t say so , but Eduardo sounds brown, is definitely poor and probably attracted LEO attention by moving quickly. He was then fined for attracting that attention.


for those that have NOT driven in Los Angeles… Self rightous pedestrians that feel they can cross at any time (vs only crossing when “walk” is indicated) create MILES of gridlock by effectively keeping cars from making turns.

In a world where perhaps 10 cars per 2’ cycle can turn right get reduced to 1 car because of people crossing against the light… well, I think $200 might be too low of a penalty.

1 Like

All fine-based punishments disproportionally hurt the poor unless they are adjusted based on the income of the offender. A rich guy can shrug off a triple-digit fine with no real impact to his life, a poor person can’t. If you want to make things fair the punishment should be based on a set number of hours of community service instead.


We have a poor tax in my town. It’s a parking law.

There’s a lot of immigrants where I live, and so a lot of homes where there’s a lot of people living there. So, you get a lot of cars on the street. Not so many that parking is nightmarish, though, like trying to park in Chicago.

The city passed a law requiring that in the majority of the town, you can only park on one side of the street based on if it is an even or odd numbered day, between 2am and 6am. You can guess what the city was facing when this law went into effect: bankruptcy.

Some years before, another law was passed stating that all cars will be towed if left overnight on the street when there is 2 inches of snow on the ground. The excuse is that they need to plow the streets, and so your ability to keep your car handy is contingent on finding a reliable weather man.

Luckily, I have a dedicated parking space behind my building, otherwise that would be a huge pain.

1 Like