Exploring the riddle of California’s 450-mile-long congressional district
In one corner of the state, there are blue laws that give drivers on a five-dollar fine for jaywalking, and in another, there are yellow laws that prohibit open containers of alcohol.
As you travel from one end to another, you see a sign: No parking, No Service.
And, every time you go to pay at a gas pump, you have to pay with a card, and you have to swipe that card through the slot – and if you forget, you face a fine of $90. Even if you’re not a cardholder.
That one law seems to be working pretty well, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of California, whose members, along with a team of legal observers, spent two straight days writing up a report on the law. The ACLU’s analysis of the law is in the report, titled “Parking, Service, and the Law: California’s ‘No Parking, No Service’ Laws by the Numbers.” And the results, they say, are rather startling.
For example, between 2007 and 2014, there were “more than 500” traffic citations issued for violation of the state law on parking. Of those, the ACLU’s analysis says, “an estimated 73%…were issued to motorists who were not cardholders and who were charged a fine that exceeded the posted fine.”
And that’s not all. The state also has a “stop and stay” law, which was enacted in 2007. Stop and Stay laws specify that a vehicle may be “stopped, towed or impounded for infractions or violations committed by the vehicle’s driver.” But, of the people cited by the ACLU, “an estimated 93% were issued citations for violations committed by passengers” of the vehicle they were in.
And in a “stop and stay” case, the ACLU wrote: “the driver would be required to leave the scene of the stop or be issued a ticket in order to leave the scene (the statute permits a $50 fine for leaving the scene of a stop and stay).”
“This makes the law especially problematic when applied to homeless people or other people who are not able to pay to get to other locations,”