Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza said Monday her office has begun cross-checking Illinois secretary of state car registration information to crackdown on city sticker scofflaws.
“I think that’s just such low hanging fruit, that’s common sense. With technology, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be feeding into each other’s data bases,” Mendoza said at a City Club of Chicago luncheon. “We are in the process of trying to work out all of the kinks so that our data does talk to each other. But the will to do that is there, which was never even entertained before.”
Mendoza, a former state legislator who was sworn in May 16, has criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to increase sticker fees on heavier vehicles. She favors higher fines and stronger enforcement efforts for those who don’t buy stickers, and said she has asked for a formal meeting with the mayor.
Emanuel wants to reclassify more vehicles in the heavier weight category, arguing they cause more damage to city streets. The move could cost owners $60 more for a sticker next year. Mendoza prefers raising the fine for failing to purchase a sticker to $200 from $120.
“We are stepping up our enforcement very, very heavily,” she said. “Before I’m ready to ask any law abiding citizen in the city of Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter, to pay more, we should be going after those individuals who have made an active choice not to pay.”
Mendoza said accessing the state’s vehicle database would involve more than just trying to round up vehicle owners who don’t pay the city wheel tax. She said the information also could allow her office to contact new city residents and inform them of vehicle registration and parking rules as a “welcome kit of sorts,” rather than having them learn of the city’s sticker rules by getting a ticket.
Mendoza also said her office is continuing to examine the possibility of seeking an advertiser or sponsor for the back of city stickers. She said instead of just getting a logo, a sponsor could use new technology that allows smartphone users to take a picture of a digital grid and be connected to an ever changing ad site.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun