Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vote Against Prop 1 - Rebuttal

AB: In response to your well received argument in favor of removing the red light cameras, I want to post a rebuttal and some suggestions.

1. “Innocent people are being ticketed, harassed, and forced to pay fines for something they didn't do just because the vehicle is in their name.” Loaning your car to people who run red lights or don't come to a complete stop before turning on a red light will result in THEM paying the fine(s). However, YOU will have to be the one to enforce that.  The bottom line is to tell them when you loan the car that they have to obey traffic laws.

2. “We are exporting over $100,000 a MONTH out-of-state. Well over a million dollars a year." Based on these numbers and the amount of money the city receives for each violation, there are an average of 20-30 cars every day of the week in violation of either running a red light, or not coming to a complete stop on the streets which have red light cameras, which incidentally are installed at the expense and maintenance of the Arizona-based company, free of charge to the city. I would say we have a major problem here, especially because of the hundreds of stop signs and red lights which do NOT have a camera. It’s called poor driving.

3. “We've outsourced our legal system. Now we need to talk to someone out of state to address something that happened in Baytown.” That company is carrying the burden of installation, equipment cost, and maintenance. If it were a Baytown owned and operated business, would you agree with the cameras?

4. “The laws are being played with to violate our rights. You are now GUILTY until you can prove your innocence.” If a cop watches you run a red light and gives you a ticket, you ARE guilty also until you represent yourself in court, regardless of the innocent until proven guilty argument. Watch one provided video of the infraction and you will readily see it is obvious the car did not stop.

5. “Running red lights have been changed from a moving violation to a non-moving violation (to circumvent the law).” After getting a ticket, most people would see this as a plus, since their insurance doesn’t go up and they don’t have to take DE.

6.” It is WAY too convenient to issue a ticket now. Press a button and someone gets a ticket. Quality control is out the window. Yeah, someone REVIEWS the footage, then pushes a button and tickets get sent out.” It’s my understanding 3 different people review the video. If there is a shadow of a doubt, it is discarded. I’ve watched 2 now and it is so obvious, it disarms argument of right and wrong. I can’t speak of the ease of the operation as to whether this is a bad thing, or good.

Conclusion: The bottom line is somewhere between 600-700 people per month are without a doubt running a red light, or not stopping completely before turning at the relatively few camera covered intersections in Baytown. There is no telling how many thousands of times it happens in the city limits and no cop is present or no accountability.

DS: In response to your well received argument in favor of removing the red light cameras, I want to post a rebuttal and some suggestions.

“No, I can't vote FOR Big Brother. If CITY COUNCIL had entered into this agreement in all honesty then perhaps I'd think differently, but THESE clowns KNEW they were screwing us with their freakin SHORT yellow lights. I've got a good idea, let's sue THEM and make MILLIONS!!!!!Oh....and put these clowns in JAIL where they belong. Seriously, folks. Let's NOT let these idiots rule our world. We are all intelligent enough to drive safely down Garth Road. City Council needs to have their own bank accounts audited. Thank YOU!! “

I am also very distrusting of “Big Brother” - a reference to George Orwell’s great book ‘1984’. However, having an automated device at an intersection, which is monitored by a human being after an infraction, is hardly in this day and age something I am wary of. I also would not be suspicious of an automated device which determined the red light frequency based on how many cars (or lack of cars) before it changed and this without human oversight.

I can’t speak for City council’s veracity in this matter, or if they are clowns (they don’t appear to be), or if they deliberately set some of the yellow light intervals shorter to make more money. I also have no intention of suing them and making millions. In response that we are “all intelligent enough to drive safely down Garth Road” it is readily apparent that every single day in Baytown, somewhere between 20 to 30 unintelligent people are not and this is only the ones who are caught by a red light camera. I imagine BPD catches a few every day also, but I can’t say, as I don’t have the numbers.

And lastly, I imagine auditing City council’s bank accounts is beyond the scope of my original argument.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"1. The registered owner of the vehicle gets the ticket and has to go to court to get it taken care of.

If the person is lucky to know who borrowed/stole/whatever their vehicle at a particular date and time (weeks after the fact), AND convinces the person that it was them that committed the offense, AND gets the person to cough up the money; yeah, the registered owner might not have to actually front the $$. But, they still have to send it in and deal with all the hassle of tracking everything down. Good luck on knowing who used/borrowed/stole your vehicle on a given day/date/time.

2. No way Jose'. These things are not installed free of charge to the city. The city leases the equipment and pays back the installation fees based on the contract.

If you're okay with exporting millions of dollars from Baytown that's fine. We're leaking money out-of-state to the tune of MILLIONS.

Forget "Buy Baytown". Arizona needs our money I guess.

It can also be argued that red light cameras increas rear-end collisions.

So, we're changing red light runners for rear-end collisions and STILL exporting millions. Something doesn't add up, but I be Arizona likes their cut.

3. It doesn't matter. We've still outsourced our legal traffic system out-of-state. Our own police officers, judges, clerks, etc are at the mercy of this system... in Arizona!

I've been personally told "We can't do anything, you need to call (whatever company it is in Arizona)."

4. Not so. If an officer witnesses you run a red light and gives you a ticket, the city is still burdened with PROVING you did it because it's a criminal offense.

The red lights have been changed to a civil offense (hence no jail time, no real citation, etc) to remove the burden of proof from the city. They don't have to prove a single thing. The accused is assumed GUILTY. You should sit in a courtroom and listen to the judge's opening remarks. They say point blank "We have no burden of proof".

Playing with the laws to suit their needs.

5. Yeah, I'd love to get screwed over by our legal system so I might not have to possibly pay a higher insurance premium. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

6. I have seen many people get a ticket where an officer would have never issued one. It's just too convenient. Especially with the amount of citations given out, someone's going to get screwed over. I guess it's a consolation that it's not a LOT of people, just a few. But, I bet those few people don't feel very good about getting screwed over.

Conclusion: Yes, people are running red lights. So, the city is admitting our police can't handle the problem? Is that what this is?

If our police force is ineffective put cameras everywhere and fire the entire police force. We'll save even MORE money!

Also, the red light camera operators are giving TENS OF THOUSANDS to fight to keep the cameras in place. But, it's not about the money, right? I guess these people in Arizona REALLY CARE about us here in Baytown, Texas... NOT! $$"

One other thing. There's really nothing the city can do to force you to pay the fines because it's a CIVIL case. All they can do is possibly deny you from registering your car in Harris County... and even that's being fought.

The true criminals just laugh off the tickets while us law-abiding citizens actually pay them. Woot! Justice!!" AB

This tariff business ain't going away

I read Steve Showalter's opinion piece in Wednesday's Sun and I posted a comment in response. If you recall he is qualified ...