If you talked to me a week ago about hiking in L.A., one place would have come out of my mouth: Temescal Canyon. Nevermind that when I was last there on June 25th it was majorly overgrown so that numerous spots were like bee gauntlets and so dusty that my friend slipped and twisted her ankle - that sort of stuff tends to be a temporary state, and it remained my favorite urban hike. I can't count how many times I've recommended it to people.
And yes, I pay to park in the lot. This time I didn't have change to put $7 in the iron ranger, so I put in a $10. To support the park.
Then last Thursday, I got a $175 dollar "Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority Stop Sign Photo Enforcement Program Administrative Citation" in the mail. Which I have only until August 15th to pay. And which, if I would like to request an administrative hearing about, I still have to shell out the $175 dollars first. I will have to put it on a credit card, because I don't actually have that much available spending money in two months, much less one.
Yes, I ran the stop sign. In fact, they have a charming video I can watch online for 60 days.
That said, $175 is an absurd amount of money for running a stop sign, and more importantly, camera traps are currently illegal in the state of California (see this article in the Palisades Post regarding a current class action lawsuit) - and this ticket seems to be from a private company that runs the camera. Had I known I'd gotten a ticket that day, from an actual law enforcement officer, I would have known to pull back on my grocery shopping and gas consumption so I could pay the ticket without having to put it on a credit card.
Also, I now loath Temescal Canyon with the strength of a thousand suns. I will never hike there again, and I will actively warn people not to go there. Honestly, the entire thing makes me sick to my stomach, $175 is so much money to me. I'll never be able to go there without feeling horrible.
Note that these cameras are in five locations I will personally avoid like the plague: two in Temescal Gateway Park, Two in Franklin Canyon Park, and one in Topanga (according to the Palisades Post article).
Did I run a stop sign? Yes, I did. And if the ticket was a reasonable amount of money and issued by the state of California via an actual law enforcement officer, I would feel a heck of a lot less scammed.
Are $175 tickets worth forever alienating your patrons? I guess so.