"I'm against photo speed enforcement completely," Babeu said, walking the three-member panel through a detailed PowerPoint presentation. "Here in Pinal, it's failed miserably."Interestingly, the reason that Babeu gave for pulling the plug on the program was that only a third of the citations were actually being paid. The paid citations brought in $134,199.43, but after paying Redflex the county only netted some $12,391.58
Moreover, Babeu said, total motor-vehicle accidents increased by 16 percent in the same time period, and fatal collisions in the Queen Creek area doubled from three to six.Babeu's reasoning is only half right. The sheriff cites public safety concerns as only part of the reason that he wants to replace scam-era vans with deputies. What seems to be the real concern is the "paltry" profit generated by the program.
The sheriff said he couldn't be certain that speed cameras were to blame for the crashes, but he believes they were a factor.
Last week Councilor Harris told KOB-TV that Albuquerque's scam-era program could only operate for another 4 years without costing the city money unless the legislature repealed the restrictions on Albuquerque's program (read it here). Just today it was revealed that some unnamed administration official signed a five year contract extension with Redflex (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
[Sidebar]Scam-eras are proliferating across the state - Farmington wants them, Santa Fe is negotiating with Redflex, and Las Cruces has signed on to the scam. Folks, this is about money - yours flowing directly into government coffers.
Exactly which bonehead signed this contract? It has to be someone with some level of executive authority. Marty's Minions are acting like a bunch of children who got caught eating stolen cookies. No one seems to know who was responsible for the cookie caper despite the chocolate smeared all over their faces.
That leaves just one person who's ultimately responsible... Mayor Martin Chavez. He hired these guys, he brought the Redflex scam-eras to Albuquerque, and he's responsible for both the new contract and the chaos surrounding it.
A quick search of news articles shows that local governments in San Jose California, Tulsa Oklahoma, and Richmond Hill Georgia have already or are considering raising traffic fines to pay for various government programs. The small community of Richmond Hill anticipates that the added fees will generate around $20,000 to pay for internet service inside their police cars. In California, speeding drivers who request a driving school to keep their insurance rates down saw that fee rise from $24 to $94 after January 1st.Governments all across the country are trying to find ways to generate revenue. At the top of the list are items like scam-era programs and traffic enforcement. These types of programs can be instituted under the cover of "public safety" with the sole purpose of funding government programs and the excuse that if you don't want to pay don't break the law.
Who cares about due process, the right to face your accuser, or even whether or not you are guilty. In scam-era court you are guilty until proven innocent and are forced to rely solely on the state's evidence without any ability to question its accuracy (see a scam-era malfunction here).
To make matters worse, when government makes revenue its primary objective there's pressure to make sure that a certain amount of revenue continues to flow into its coffers. The simplest way to maintain revenue is to shorten the duration of yellow lights or change the light's timing (read it here).
Short yellow light times at intersections have been shown to increase the number of traffic violations and accidents. Conversely, increasing the yellow light duration can dramatically reduce red-light violations at an intersection.Unfettered, the Redflex scam-eras are a great way to raise revenue for the city. If you'll remember the program brought in over $6 MILLION in just a few months (read it here). The money has been so addictive that Marty and his Minions have even lied to the public about the effectiveness of the program (read it here).
Some local governments have ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.
Look... It all comes down to what you believe the role of law enforcement in society truly is. Should we use our sheriffs and police officers to protect the public and punish criminals or should we use them to collect revenue for the state - a tax collector behind a badge?
We've said it before... Law enforcement should not be about profit. Whenever the state relies on enforcement action for a source of revenue there's an incentive to break the very laws that government is tasked with enforcing.