The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Mar 7, 2007

Red Light Camera Town Hall: Were They Listening?

Last night's Town Hall put on by Councilor Brad Winter drew a large crowd of around 150. (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required). There were a lot of good questions raised, questions of the length of yellow lights, economic profiling, funds distribution (where $4 Million of the $6.3 Million received has gone), due process, and excessive fines. Most of the crowd was less than happy with the program; in fact, down right angry. But even supporters found things to be concerned about and many of them were the same complaints voiced by the program’s critics.

If you distill the evening down to a few points you find that people believe that the program is a cash cow for the city, that the fines are excessive, and that they do not receive a fair and impartial hearing (how can they when there are bills to pay?). We told you about the pressure not to dismiss these citations here. The fact is, as long as the City of Albuquerque sets the fee schedule, is the accuser, and acts as the judge; fair and impartial hearings will be impossible and will take a back seat to revenue concerns.

If there was ever any doubt that this program was all about money, just look to today's Albuquerque Journal (Subscription Required). The Legislature has managed to do something that angry citizens have been unable to do... threaten the existence of the program. Mayor Marty has vowed to pull the plug if the Legislature passes a bill that would send $74 of every citation to the state. Why? Yep… Money.

The Almighty One claims that it cost $5 Million a year to operate the program, a figure that is sure to include every "cost" even those charged by the City. And apparently, if the City weren't allowed to keep all of the loot, that $5 Million a year would be "a program killer." Wait, wasn't this about public safety? According to the Journal this is how the fines collected are broken down:

"Of a standard $100 fine, city officials said, $14 goes to the company that owns the equipment, $15.65 funds the hearing office, $18 processes the fines and $9.60 pays for officers to review the citations."

There are other costs associated with start up and expansion but when you take a look at the core costs of each citation, your immediate reaction is that the City is paying $57.25 per $100 ticket and only keeping $42.75. Hey that seems fair... right? Not really. You see at least $25.25 of the $57.25 actually goes to City departments, upping the City's take to 68 bucks and that's on a citation of $100. Remember those fines of $100, $250, $500, and the two year term for repeat offenses? There ends up being an awful lot of gravy or profit over and above the $68.

Let's review... We've established that the Imperial City (hat tip to Sen. Tim Jennings) makes a LOT of moolah (that's money Councilor Mayer) with the cameras. We've established most of it goes to the City. We've established that there are a large number of people who view the cameras with distrust, suspicion, and down right hatred. We've established that it's impossible to get a fair hearing. We've established that it's not at all about public safety or the Almighty One would be willing to continue the program even at a loss. (After all, the police department doesn't turn a profit.)

Now the real question after last night's Town Hall Meeting is: Councilors, Mayor Marty, were you listening?

----- UPDATE-----

Looks like great minds... well, you get the idea. The local blogs are a buzz over last night's Town Hall Festivities. Take a gander at these great minds!

Mario Burgos - MarioBurgos.com

The Wednesday Morning Quarterback - WednesdayMorningQB.com

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of the little kid who says, "ok, if you won't play my way, I'll just take my toys and go home."
So, um, go home already Marty.....and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Anonymous said...

So, it is about the money. Let's s scam as much moeny as we can before we get found out. In other words, I've got one term left(Mayor, Mayer)and I must have my retirement egg set aside. I've never seen anyone go to the lenghts these people go to, to hold on to their money raising ideas and projects, instead of just saying, ok we won't fight the public, we'll make some changes. No, they will fight the very public that put them in office, because they only care about they're personal bank accounts, in another state or country ( they have to launder the kick back money somehow)We know how Marty's doing it- and we think we know how Mayer is doing it as well. Lets see, how many projects and out of sate companies has the city hired to fleece us? Have you ever seen politicians fight so hard when there's money involved? Hmmmmm..

Anonymous said...

I have my "hearing" tomorrow on 2 speeding tickets that my wife received going thru 1 particular intersection. Any defense we should try? The dates of the offenses are over 3 months old+ I tried to pull up the video on them and was informed by photonotice.com that vids over 60 days are no longer available. I have not been able to see them yet...

The Eye said...

We did a post on how to fight the Red Light Cameras. You might want to refer to that post. You can find it here:
http://eyeonalbuquerque.blogspot.com/2007/02/red-light-cameras-how-to-beatem.html

Hope that helps and let us know what happens. You can reach us at editor@eyeonalbuquerque.com

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

"CASE DISMISSED" due to not bringing them to hearing within 90 days...On both tickets. In fact, the person in front of me had the same thing happen DESPITE ADMITTING guilt! My suggestion if anyone gets notice. Ask for your hearing: Then hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

Here's a great tip to help you beat the ticket and it works everytime. DON'T SPEED you moron.

Dave said...

Who's the MORON?! I was just the registered owner. I didn't speed! Can't you read? My wife received the tickets in one of the many traps in Albuquerque. This one in particular coming in the 35 mph zone coming off I-25 between the freeway at Carlisle light. Try going through there sometime and tell me you go 35 mph! Now, I am not longer anonymous since the hearing is over and I don't fear unfair judgement. Do you have the nuts to come out and debate in the open as well?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Is this pathetic and apathetic City finally waking up.
Don't have as much money as you used to? No? That's because the city is fleecing and 'shaking you down' with new taxes on animals, alarm Unit fees(taxes)Red Light & Speed Van Fines,Fees(taxes)and next; lets everyone be forced( bend over) to change out their faucets for low flow ones, just in case you think that the water coming out into your bathroom sink has too much pressure. How do you think everyone at city hall is affording the extras they have or just flat out making a living? Think real hard now. It's called kick back, pay-ola. Albuquerque is getting a "Financial Enema" compliments of Mayor Marty and some 'bought and paid for' City Councilors. Can you now smell the roses? Or, in this case the manure?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave. Wow, what strong words. I read your comment, but did not want to refer to another man's wife in a derrogatory manner. So you call me out? You call into question whether or not I have the NUTS? Why Dave, yes I do have the nuts, you can find them dangling off of your wife's chin. Ouchhhhhhhhhhh

TitanBlitz said...

What are you in grade school? Put your name out in the open and debate like a man...Then we can talk again, otherwise I will just know you are fishing.

Anonymous said...

Ok, enough. Does anyone think that the Mayor,Chief,Counilors Mayer, Loy and others aren't mixed up in some sort of graft? Does the idea of them geting rich off of your tax dollars,let alone kickbacks bother you? DOES ANYONE OUT THERE NOT GET THE CONCEPT YET???

Anonymous said...

Sorry kiddies, but there is no grassy-knoll shooter; there are no aliens in Roswell; Elvis, Kurt Cobain, Tu Pac and Anna Nicole are dead; and we did walk on the moon. As long as you continue to perpetuate bogus conspiracy theories, no one will have serious consideration for the LIE On ALBUQUERQUE.

Anonymous said...

Actually, as much as I love conspiracy theories, I'd have to say no, I don't believe they're involved in graft regarding red-light cameras.
First of all, when a city official back east in the Midwest (Missouri, I think), solicited a bribe, kickback (whatever) from the camera vendors, Redflex cooperated fully with the authorities. It was good business.

You're making this way too complicated. There's way too much money to be made by the contractor to be implicated in any impropriety.
Locally, there are way too many political incentives already built-in (...my, what a big general fund you have, grandma!) for local politicians to get caught with a hand in this particular till.

Unfortunately, there are many other tills built into our democracy(?) for that.

Anonymous said...

re: Hearing tomorrow on wife's 2 tickets. I just plain refused to pay my citations because that seemed to be the only way I could "fight" back at what I consider to be the city's unjust practice. But keep in mind, they would be doing me a favor if they came an took my car.

Melissa said...

this is for every impeccable citizen who tells me to avoid the red light tickets by "slowing down". first of all, i commute every week from downtown abq to bernalillo and rio rancho...that's a lot of time in my car per week...by the end of the day I have the wonderful rush hour traffic to face....maybe you'd like to go sunday driving on I25 at 45 miles per hour on the far left lane on a Wednesday at 5, but some of us are have homes we'd like to get to after working all damn day. When you are going slow and refuse to move to one of the right lanes, your idiocy helps to contribute to this shit hole traffic hour(s). As for the cameras, it's just one more little piece of misery to add to my drive...I've already received one of those tickets. They fined me as a second offender even though I had never received a ticket prior to this. I haven't paid it, nor did I go to my hearing (i was in austin) I'm going to get out of it no matter how many lines I have to stand in, or how many hours the city bureacracy puts me on hold for, I deserve my money more than these greedy lechers

Anonymous said...

City voters need to keep this in mind when going to the polls. It's obvious the only way to strike a real change is by not re-electing officials who do not listen to concerns or have our interest at heart.