Parking activist Jay Beeber joins crowded L.A. City Council race

Man known for campaigning for public parking reforms joins crowded race to replace Councilman Tom LeBonge

A Sherman Oaks activist who was a leader in the battle against red-light cameras on Los Angeles streets is joining a crowded race to replace City Councilman Tom LaBonge.

Former filmmaker Jay Beeber is best known for campaigning to remove the cameras, which he argued unfairly penalized drivers while doing little to improve safety. Los Angeles city officials voted to kill the program three years ago after a backlash over patchy enforcement of the fines.

More recently, Beeber has tackled parking tickets, arguing that the city leans too heavily on drivers to balance its budget. He and his Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative co-founder Steven Vincent recently teamed up with the mayor’s office to brainstorm reforms to the parking system.

His recommended changes include allowing people to pay afterward for parking instead of plunking in money beforehand, with rates going up the longer people park, as well as putting parking fines and meter money into a separate fund to improve parking, streetscapes and transit.

A self-described independent who is not registered with a political party, Beeber also argues that the city has poured too much money into “unsustainable” raises for city workers at the expense of public services, such as street repairs.

Beeber joins a crowded and competitive race: More than a dozen other candidates have filed paperwork to raise money for the March election to replace LaBonge, who will be termed out next year.

Many have already started drumming up funds. Three candidates -- LaBonge’s former chief of staff, Carolyn Ramsay; hospital development and public affairs director David Ryu; and community college trustee Steve Veres -- had already raised more than $150,000 as of the end of June.

The district they are vying to represent includes stretches of Hancock Park, Sherman Oaks and Hollywood.

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