Spike in parking fines is simply a money grab
Mayor Byron Browns’ parking fines increase is nothing but a money grab, despite Buffalo Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer’s stated reason. Money has been flowing into the city coffers in recent years with a massive increase in enforcement. The ubiquitous white pickup trucks of the Parking Enforcement officers are the bane of city residents and visitors.
Studies have shown that fines and fees, such as parking violations, sales tax, etc., have a greater impact on the poor, the working poor and the middle class.
Anecdotally, having run afoul of parking rules myself, I have appealed to the Parking Violations Bureau for dismissal. A hearing is subsequently scheduled at City Hall. Upon arriving at the appropriate time, one is first confronted with a long line; it took me 45 minutes to check in. Then you still have to wait to see the hearing officer.
One of the most striking things one notices is that the people in line are overwhelmingly minorities, those least able to pay the fines. Another slap in the face is that all of these hearings are scheduled during working hours, forcing hardworking folks to take off from work, many without being paid – a double hit to those who can least afford it.
Brown should be ashamed of himself for foisting these onerous increases on his very own constituency. He has forgotten where he came from. Term limits, anyone?
Thomas P. Mullen