Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White
Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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In an entreaty for donations to his mayoral campaign posted to Instagram Monday morning, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White held up what appeared to be a traffic citation.

“See, when you get stuff like this in the mail, that speaks to tickets that are the third highest in the country,” White says in the video, holding up an envelope from the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles adjudication services administration. “It’s not about public safety. It’s about dollars. And this city has been about dollars too much, but not for all people.”

But, White says in a text to Loose Lips, the envelope doesn’t contain his speeding ticket.

In the video, White presents himself as the “people’s champ” and promotes his work “to implement creative legislation” for all residents.

Asked what legislation he’s introduced related to traffic cameras, White cited three bills. The first bill became law in 2018 and was supposed to stop unpaid fines from doubling after 30 days and create a program that allows low-income residents to do community service instead of paying a fine, among other items. But most of the bill’s provisions were repealed this year because the Council failed to allocate the funds to implement them. The second bill would have created a ticket amnesty program for D.C. residents who owe more than $1,000 in vehicle violations. But it never made it out of committee to a full Council vote. The third bill, which White co-introduced, made it out of committee but never came before the full Council for a vote.

After this article published, White noted a fourth bill, which he co-introduced, that allows residents with overdue civil fines get their licenses back.

White’s message that traffic cameras are more about generating revenue than traffic enforcement is not a new criticism. Yet it comes at a time when traffic fatalities so far this year in D.C. have already increased beyond the total count for all of 2020. From 2017 until now, Ward 8 has seen 40 traffic fatalities—more than any other ward—and ranks among the top in major injuries, according to city data.

This article was updated after White clarified that he didn’t receive a speeding ticket.