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Traffic Ticket Changes Sought
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Changes in enforcing traffic regulations in Riverbank became clearer at the city council's May 11 meeting when the council introduced an ordinance to amend the Municipal Code.

"Currently we use the California Vehicle Code to issue traffic citations in town. What we are proposing is to cite under the Municipal Code," Police Chief Bill Pooley told the council.

This will be an alternative left to the discretion of the officer and directed only at first time and minor traffic offenses, such as failure to come to a complete stop, turning without signaling, and minor speeding. Serious offenses such as drunken, reckless and high speed driving will continue to be handled under the CVC.

At the moment, the fines are split between the county, state and city with the city retaining only about 30 percent. Fines levied under the Municipal Code would all come to the city, the chief explained.

"I calculate we would make $80,000 to $100,000 more per year," said Pooley.

Citations under the Municipal Code would not affect a drivers' record with the Department of Motor Vehicles nor raise their insurance costs, he added.

The city would appoint a hearing officer, somebody like a retired law enforcement officer, to judge the case and assess the fine. This would usually be about $200 but could climb to $1,000 at the discretion of the hearing officer. A driver could appeal the decision to Riverbank City Council and beyond that to County Superior Court.

Local resident Doug Daniels came to the podium to say the State of California had ruled this method of traffic enforcement illegal in the 1977 case of the State vs. City of Campbell and Riverbank would not be able to put it into effect but the council will investigate the feasibility of the proposal.