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Emanuel Supports Crackdown On Litterbugs

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Aug 5, 2013 10:00PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced he'll support a measure that would crack down on litterers with fines up to $1,500, but he stopped shy of supporting the full measure that would impound litterers' vehicles.

Emanuel wrote in a letter to the bill's sponsor Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) that he agrees to support the measure, but only if he watered down his initial proposal. "This is an issue that affects all Chicagoans because littering has a distinct and deleterious effect upon our overall quality of life,” Emanuel wrote. Brookins had proposed a mandatory minimum fine of $1,500 for littering, but instead the new measure will raise both the minimum and maximum fines for littering. The minimum would rise from the current $50 to $150, and the maximum fee would rise from $200 to $1,500 with a possibility of one's car being towed.

Brookins' original proposal mandated authorities tow the vehicle of every driver caught fly-dumping, but in the new measure, authorities would have the discretion to decide which drivers deserved to have their cars towed. The Sun-Times writes:

“They raised some concerns that, if this thing were significantly enforced, they wouldn’t have the manpower to tow all of these cars. It made sense to give law enforcement discretion,” Brookins said.

“Just like seat belt enforcement and certain places where they do speed traps, we can convince the Police Department to do enforcement — specific missions with respect to littering and, at least during those missions, we can convince the Police Department to tow the car.”

Brookins introduced the proposal in June. "When you look through the communities, people generally determine if a community is safe, if it is a good neighborhood, etc. just by seeing trash and litter. Those who come through the communities automatically dismiss certain areas, saying [they're] bad, because there's so much trash thrown around," Brookins said.