The D.C. City Council voted last night to turn over the writing and adjudication of parking tickets in the city to civilians.
The measure, proposed mid-1977 by Mayor Walter E. Washington, received preliminary approval on a voice vote after a brief debate. The action requires a second passage in two weeks.
Once it goes into effect, probably next fall, the measure provides for hiring 50 civilian ticket-writers who would work for the D.C. Department of Transportation. Police would continue to have the power to write parking tickets, as well as citations for traffic violations.
Parking and minor traffic violations would be considered by civilian hearing officers, instead of by Superior Court judges. The program is expected to add $14 million in fines to the city's spendable annual revenue.
The measure had been held up for several months by David A. Clark (D-Ward 1), chairman of the council's judiciary committee, in a dispute with the mayor over delays in compiling the municipal code of regulations.With action assured on the code, Clarke recommended passage of the measure.
The council also voted, 7 to 5, to send back to its government operations committee for further action a bill creating machinery for the city's new initiative, referendum and recall procedures. These procedures were authorized by the city's voters last November and provide a method by which voters can enact or block legislation or remove elected officers.
The measure was sent back to the committee in a legal dispute over an amendment designed to prevent referendums that would limit human rights, such as those granted homosexuals under antidiscrimination laws.