Although parking tickets are meant to punish violators and provide maximum street access to those who live, work, or visit here, the city depends on this revenue to shore up its budget. We intend to find out whether all residential neighborhoods and business districts pay an equitable share of parking fines. If not, why? We will analyze the ticket data to see who is paying or not and for which types of tickets.
This story will address related questions, including : What strategies might the city be using to ensure it captures the parking ticket revenue it relies upon? How does Somerville compare to surrounding communities and what might account for any differences? How have our parking policies and enforcement levels evolved over the years? How many cars are towed and what costs and revenues does that generate? Interviews will be conducted with the mayor, Board of Aldermen, and major stakeholders including business and resident groups, officials at the Traffic & Parking dept., and concerned residents.
How this will work:
- Pledge the $15 suggested amount or whatever you can afford through the campaign webpage. Funds are only deducted from your credit card if we reach our goal of at least $500. (Once funds are gathered, your donation is non-refundable.)
- You may contribute anonymously or not as you choose.
- Once the campaign “tips”, the money will be collected and used to pay an investigative journalist to write the story.
- Expect an article in approximately a month after the tipping point. Depending on how the story develops, there may be more than one article resulting from the investigation. If extra funds are necessary, another campaign will be created.
Questions, ideas, and advice are welcome below in the comments.
Thank you for your support!
on behalf of the Somerville Voices team
We hope this story will be just the start of a new initiative for community-funded reporting. For more about this, read my April 8, 2009 post Addressing the Lack of Investigative Journalism in Somerville