Police

Presumptive Next Mayor of Philly Suggests Expanding Authority of Meter Maids onto Sidewalks

To write tickets for littering and other sidewalk "crimes"

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Reason

Jim Kenney, the Democrats' nominee for mayor of Philadelphia, a city where Democratic voters vastly outnumber Republican ones, has suggested expanding the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Parking Authority—which already regulates, for example, taxis and limos operating in the city—to include things like littering, construction, and other sidewalk-related regulations.

Kenney is, at least, refreshingly honest about the motivations behind this. Via CBS Philadelphia:

"We have people out there working for the public, and have the ability to interact with these folks who can generate more revenue for schools and for city services, then we should look at the possibly of utilizing them," said Kenney.

It's not about quality of life but about revenue. If targeting littering and other sidewalk infractions were a quality of life issue, it might not require ticketing every time. If it's about revenue, on the other hand…

Kenney, incidentally, was the driving force in the city council in getting marijuana decriminalized in Philadelphia last year. In negotiations with Michael Nutter, the current mayor of Philadelphia, it was Nutter, not Kenney, who pushed for additional fines for public consumption of marijuana. Kenney's original bill had only a $25 fine for possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana. A $100 fine was added for public consumption of marijuana to win Mayor Nutter's signature. Even when politicians say they want to decriminalize marijuana, they want to reserve their right to keep interfering in people's lives over it.

Importantly, such petty law enforcement, which focuses on revenue collection not imprisonment, can trap people, especially the poor, in a criminal justice cycle that ends in jail anyway. The treatment of resident infractions as potential sources of revenue is an often overlooked aggravating factor in the problem of police violence across the country. 

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  1. You keep giving me all these reasons not to move to -or even visit – Philly. Really – you can stop. You were there a long time ago.,

    1. We don’t all allegedly fuck sheep.

  2. Last paragraph. Features, not bugs.

    1. I wonder if the underclass will eventually make up to the railroading they’ve been increasingly getting from their supposed political benefactors. I kinda doubt it.

  3. …generate revenue…

    So cute – I love how politicians adopted this as a euphemism for ‘confiscate at will and whim’ to make them sound like a legitimate, going concern.

  4. I know something else meter maids could do to generate revenue. Of course, we are talking about Philly so.

  5. Why do they need so much revenue?

    Oh yeah, union retirements from no-work jobs.

    America: following the Greek model from before Christ to the present day only faster.

  6. Could we get the IJ to sue *every* city that owns the sidewalks but that “press-gangs” the adjacent homeowner to maintain?

    I’m thinking of cities like NYC that want to keep up the pretense that the city owns the sidewalk, the street trees, the roadbed, etc but makes it the duty of the property owner to keep those sidewalks in good repair, shovel and de-ice them during the winter, maintain a “broom-swept condition” up to 18″ on the roadbed, finds them at fault for 3rd party torts (like if someone trips on the sidewalk in front of your house), etc.

    While it’s expedient for the city to declare the adjacent property owner as the unpaid caretaker, it is hardly just to do so without their consent.

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