Government / Politics

COMMENTARY: Law helps motorists targeted in California

How elected officials and police conspired to prey on California drivers to unethically "generate revenue" for city/county coffers

Burdened with problematic traffic and moving violation tickets, California divers were the source and the means by which local city and county elected officials filled their coffers. It was clearly a conflict of interest as well, as police actively participate in the onerous practice – and then “innocently” request increases to their budget – for their boy toys

Taking effect on Oct. 1, 2015, the Traffic Ticket Amnesty program is in response to this detestable practice, by police and with the consent of local unscrupulous politicians – for the purpose of “generating revenue” for California cities such as Hollister and San Benito County.

Complaints by Californians and out-of-state victims prompted state legislators to introduce a series of bills addressing this gross injustice. Worst of all, this Ferguson City “Pattern and Practice” scheme, which included court officials, was/is the case in California. This official practice specifically targets minorities, the poor and elderly populations, while at the same time violating due process and civil rights. Following the US Department of Justice Report into the killing of Michael Brown and highlighting local government’s utilization of traffic/moving violations citations to generate revenue, the Department of Justice entered into talks with the governor about the possibility of opening an investigation into the state’s/city/county practices.   

The insidious practice on Californians (not counting out-of-state preys) of receiving questionable traffic/moving violation tickets and had their licenses suspended for their inability to “pay-to-play” (pay fines, fees, charges and court penalties) is indefensible and unforgivable. While at the same time, according to the Associated Press, California suspended “… 4.8 million driver licenses since 2006 related to traffic offense … and only 83,000 licenses have been reinstated.” This Ferguson scheme of generating revenue netted $10 billion in fines through the same period. Aware of the terrible impact such policies have on distressed and delicate socio-economic situated populations (keeping them in poverty) – the approved practice is so insidious that it’s incomprehensible how can elected officials and police face the constituents they profess to serve with a straight face? 

The new law will hopefully begin to end the official abuse by local elected officials and their police co-conspirators, by exposing the city and county’s approved practices. More importantly, hold them accountable at the up coming November elections by the more than 4 million Californians offended by the practice of their elected officials and the police.

Take advantage of this short-term and limited opportunity, which is in effect from Oct.1, 2015, through March 31, 2017 to challenge the practice and issuance of questionable traffic and moving violation tickets and policies.

Let your local elected officials and “friendly” police department know your displeasure with their form of constituent service and community policing practices!

In that regard, download to your iPhone or Android the California ACLU Mobile Justice app for public safety.

Luis Burguillo

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.