Saturday, July 08, 2006

Cross The Border, Okay. Cross the Street, Get a Ticket, if Elderly in LA.

It is no secret that Mayor Villagiarosa, of Los Angeles, is pro-Illegal Immigration. In his 1999 bid for Mayor he declared that enforcement of immigration laws was a federal responsibility, not that of the local police, should he be elected.

Well, he was elected and obviously has kept true to his desires. L.A. Police may not arrest illegal immigrants within the city unless they see them commit a felony, beyond that of being illegally in the country.

Said Mr. Villagiarosa during his campaign, “[T]hey (Police) need to focus on violent crime, on the crime that violates the rule that thou shalt not hurt me.”

Maybe with this in her memory, I’m sure that 82 year-old Mavis Coyle was completely taken aback when, on February 15, she was given a ticket for “jaywalking” and “obstructing traffic” because the elderly lady, walking with a cane in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other, was taking too long to cross an intersection. By too long, I mean she couldn’t get across the four-lane intersection in the short allotted time the Pedestrian light stays green.

The ticketing officer, a motorcycle officer, said she entered the intersection after the “do not walk light” started flashing. Mavis disputes this and said the light had just changed. A reporter, in April, tested this very light and found it would not change to green unless the button was pushed for it to change. Then, according to him and others who have used this intersection, the light gave someone between 20 to 27 seconds to cross the busy intersection. At one point, a group of High School students couldn’t cross in the allotted time and ended up running, something I would not expect of an 82 year-old lady.

Once was the time, way back when there was actually some common sense in the world, that the motorcyle cop would either have gotten off his motorcycle and helped Mavis across the street. Or, he would have maneuvered his bike to block traffic until she crossed. Ticketing an elderly person crossing in the approved crosswalk too slowly would never enter the mind.

Whatever happened to Pedestrians have the right away? Are we so busy that we have forgotten our elderly and would run them over to get to our next stop a few seconds earlier? Have we become so callous as to demand the elderly stay off the streets so we don’t have to slow down just a little? Just be glad she wasn’t driving, as some have tried to keep doing beyond when they should.

I remember as a young Boy Scout, we prided ourselves on helping the elderly across the street, even if we had to make cars wait a few seconds. Back then, few seemed to mind the wait and were looking forward to a time they could leisurely cross a street without worrying about running or being run over.

L.A. Police have said they are cracking down on people improperly crossing streets due to an increased pedestrian accident rate. I don’t see this elderly lady using the crosswalk as “improper crossing,” due to her being slow.

Is this the “violent crimes” candidate, and now Mayor Villagiarosa was thinking of during the 1999 interview? Are the elderly in Los Angeles being targeted while police turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants?

In an obvious face saving effort, a court commissioner sent her a notice that she was found guilty of “jaywalking,” but the $114 fine was being waved.

Makes me wonder if she were an elderly illegal immigrant if Police would have ticketed her at all. If so, would Mayor Villagiarosa himself have waived the fine or buried the ticket?

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