About 10 percent of California's population is registered to carry a disabled parking placard, which enables them to park for free, forever, in designated spots. In a state where driving between rooms in your foreclosed house is standard, these placard thingies have become hot items, as you might imagine!
Officials with the California Department of Motor Vehicles tell the L.A. Times that one-third of the cars parked on California streets at any given time are doing so illegally, which is why they're boosting enforcement. The placards, which you get from a doctor, nurse, optometrist, or other kind of medical person, are intended to help people with "missing or paralyzed extremities, impaired vision or heart, circulatory or lung disease" find convenient places to park while they visit said medical persons or "run errands." But now everyone from perfectly sighted yoga teachers with all their extremities intact to Lasiked rich people with their extremities also intact (or enhanced with plastics) are using the cards.
Why not just park somewhere legal? Two reasons: walking is boring/sucks/is hard, and increasing parking fees, which can run up to $4 an hour. A placard, which are apparently easy to get, can help that frugal, busy parker on the go pursue their important activities/teach their classes/do the Lord's bodywork. The only negative consequence seems to be that cities lose millions in revenue. Oh, and actually-disabled people miss out on what they're entitled to, and have to spend extra time looking for spots. That doesn't seem quite right, either.