18 March 2008

I'd Like To Believe the Chief

But, alas, it is Minneapolis we're talking about:

Photo enforcement of red-light violations is proven to reduce accidents -- accidents that kill and severely injure far too many people.

Police chiefs in other cities already using photo enforcement tell me that "everyone becomes more law abiding very quickly" when it is used. And it is technology that Minnesota should use, too.

Think of your safety and the safety of your loved ones. We need photo traffic enforcement in Minnesota.


I want to be on your side, Chief Dolan, but I don't trust the spoiled children who run that municipal encounter group called Minneapolis. The mayor and council play city all day long, believing they are so progressive, but they are really behind the curve when it comes to so many areas of modern city administration.

First, red light cameras won't do anything to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities. All the camera does is take a picture after the fact. The ONLY way there will be safer streets is if those who run the red lights have their cars impounded and are put in jail. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege that should be speedily rescinded from the slackjaws that make driving dangerous.

Second, the Minnesota Supreme Court already said the city cannot punish the car. You have the law changed that essentially allows for prosecution without definite identification of the driver. It'll be interesting to see the reaction of the usual reactionary types on this one since they're so politically inconsistent. You know who they are - on one hand, they freak out if you ask them for identification at a polling place, but on the other hand, they'd gladly let Barack Obama see all their private medical charts if it meant getting free health care.

Third, and this is the Biggest Third Ever, Chief: You and that play city you're paid to protect had better be way out in the open about:
  • how locations are chosen,
  • how it's going to function,
  • how the prosecution will operate
  • how much money is in it for the city
  • how much money is in it for the for-profit, 3rd-party provider that will install and operate the whole thing?
Will the lights be retimed to catch manufacture more violations like they were in Garland, Texas? Will the outside company get a larger percentage of the fines like in Knoxville? Will the whole noble effort be tossed on the scrap heap is the revenue doesn't meet the projections like in Dallas, therefore reducing the whole safety crusade to a talking point?

How about this for an insight into council's chambers - Will the city dedicate the proceeds from violations to budget item that requires constant or increasing funding into perpetuity?

This has got to be about the enforcement and not about the money grab. Stop playing the progressive card, Minneapolis; this red light camera voodoo is failing all over the country and you're not even in the pool yet.

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