February 17, 2009

Municipal Fines: Their Purpose Clarified

Monique Chartier

... by the administration of Mayor David Cicilline.

Some city officials think Caprio and the three other Municipal Court judges might be a little too forgiving to those who come before them, and it is costing the city money.

Mayor David N. Cicilline’s director of administration, Richard I. Kerbel, says the court — which deals with traffic and moving violations and some misdemeanor offenses — is not on pace to meet the city’s revenue estimates.

So, in not so many words, he is asking the courts to step it up.


The city has not been able to increase its parking-officer staff as fast as it would have liked because of delays in passage of this year’s budget. As a result, the additional revenue has not materialized, and now the city is expecting about $9.5 million from the courts by the end of the fiscal year. It’s a relatively small piece of the city’s $641-million budget, but with all the other financial difficulties facing the city, every dollar counts.

Just so we're clear, then, traffic and parking regulations pertain to something other than public safety and free-flowing traffic.

My objection to any judicial leniency is from the other angle completely. There is no provision in the law for being four minutes late back to a parking meter. Two hours is two hours. As for extenuating circumstances or personal economic hardships, not only do most of us have them but most of them aren't contemplated by the law, either. Why should some people get off while others have to pay?

Alas, the mayor's administration did not cite the slightly loftier basis of a desire for equitable enforcement of laws and regulations but the more questionable goal of a steady revenue stream. As a caller last evening to the Matt Allen Show pointed out, the city is literally banking on the failings of their citizens and visitors.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

If the city really wants to make some money off people what they need to is paint boxes for all the parking spaces. I park in Providence every day, so I get an idea how where the spaces are and how many cars can fit in certain areas. However there'll always be one car who screws it all up, creating fewer spaces.

Put the boxes or lines down, if someone's outside of them, tag 'em. More money for the town, more parking for the rest of us.

And then I can stop bending antennas. (Just kidding!)

Posted by: Patrick at February 17, 2009 8:38 AM

This little punk of a mayor now wants judges subservient to City Hall directives to squeeze more money out of people,as long as that doesn't include his scumbag criminal brother.Fat John got a huge break on thousands in fines and his car was never booted.Cicilline told me on radio that this was routine-yeah,right.
And this little creep was active in the ACLU before he got elected.I wonder what his erstwhile comrades in the ACLU think of this and his red light camera scam?
Given that the ACLU are a bunch of phony hypocrite lice they are probably okay with it,because,after all,he isn't Carcieri.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 17, 2009 10:57 AM

Anyone else think a certain relative's gubernatorial campaign might have something to do with the judge's lighter hand, or is it just me?

Posted by: rhody at February 17, 2009 1:52 PM

Hey Rhody,
Laffey or Caprio-pick your poison. The deck is stacked against you.

Posted by: Mike at February 17, 2009 7:07 PM

Judge Caprio has always been pretty decent to people who didn't try to crap him and who seemed to be hardworking people who really needed the occasional break.This attitude far predates his son holding public office.
I like when he slams the rich brat pukes from Brown and RISD.
I once saw Judge Caprio practically break down when a man came in and said he parked in a handicapped spot because his little grandson had been rushed to the ER with a seizure.Caprio asked if the child was ok and the man replied that he had died.Caprio showed the reaction any decent person would.My take on him is that even in a "little" municipal he acts like a judge rather than a bureaucrat.For most of us,municipal court is the only one we would expect to attend.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 17, 2009 8:55 PM

Well, what are you to make of a city that charges more in late fees ($50), than for the original ticket itself ($25), for a total of $75 for a parking offense?

That's a good way to make people want to patronize downcity... just rip them off for parking tickets, and then boot their cars when they can't (or forget) to pay.

Posted by: disgusted at February 18, 2009 1:34 PM

Unless you're John Cicilline-then the boot can't be used.someone should've asked Esserman why not.
The businesses on Hope,Thayer,Wickenden,Downcity,and Federal Hill will suffer because of this penny wise/pound foolish parking policy.
I write this after apying a $20 overnight parking ticket today that I got last night.
Mayor Cicilline:Go to hell!!

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 18, 2009 5:16 PM

Maybe parking tickets are balancing the budget. My wife was parked two hours and 10 minutes in a two-hour zone yesterday...and was greeted by a ticket upon her return. With that, Dave loses another vote.
Whether it's for mayor or governor, Chafee's looking better every day. Retreating to the sidelines for now looks like a brilliant move.

Posted by: rhody at February 18, 2009 6:30 PM

If a Providence business doesn't have valet or a parking lot they never see my face.
Screw 'em. There's too many great stores and restaurants in the suburbs...especially Seekonk.

Posted by: Mike at February 18, 2009 7:39 PM

Mike-i also never patronize Providence Place Mall.The parking garage is a nightmare,especially now with the "automated" exit system.
garden City,Route 2,and Smithfield Commons are just fine with me.Smithfield has two police officers on traffic duty during peak shopping season-it moves very smoothly.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 18, 2009 11:49 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.