LOS ANGELES, July 26 (UPI) -- Los Angeles drivers outraged at getting tickets generated by red light cameras learned a secret this week -- they don't have to pay the fines, officials say.
City officials told drivers that paying the fines was optional, and they had no legal power to force people to pay, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Drivers who had been paying fines for months were not amused, the report said. "Now that makes me nuts," said Bob Brickman, an unemployed alcohol and drug recovery counselor who fought and then paid a red-light ticket. "That makes me want to go get a refund, but I've been around long enough to know that's not going to happen. It's very frustrating to know that I was victimized by something that they think is not useful or a good idea. I could truly use that $476."
Richard M. Tefank, executive director of the city's Board of Police Commissioners, told the Times the tickets are part of a "voluntary payment program," without penalties for those who fail to pay fines.
The Times said the city is considering dropping the controversial program, with the City Council voting on the program as early as Wednesday.
That would be no consolation for the tens of thousands who have been paying their tickets, the Times said.