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

Dec 11, 2006

Traffic Cameras: Traffic Safety or Traffic Tax?

Red Light Cameras, Speed Cameras, Speed Vans

They're everywhere at least in some parts of the city, taking pictures and sending out fines. At first it seems like a good idea; catch unsafe drivers and make them pay.

Eye on Albuquerque has looked into the newest tax Mayor Chavez and the City Council has devised in the name of public safety, the $afe Traffic Operations Program. You never voted on this tax; however, tens of thousands of you have already paid it or are guaranteed to pay it in the future.

Here is how it works:

· Mayor Chavez and the City Council have installed cameras at intersections throughout the city to catch Albuquerque citizens, it’s visitors and tourists.

· The camera takes a picture of your vehicle and then you; the registered owner receives a citation in the mail at a later date.

1. The first offense is $100.00

2. The second offense is $300.00

3. The third offense is $500.00 and seizure of your vehicle.

· You must pay this tax within 20 days or your fine doubles. If you choose not to pay, your vehicle is seized and held for ransom until you all fines are paid. You will also be responsible for all storage fees.

· These cameras are not 100% accurate. Meaning, you may not be the responsible party for the so-called red light violation. Someone else may have been driving your vehicle. Now you are stuck with informing the City and tattle-telling on your spouse, child, relative, friend, etc…

Lets not stop here! Mayor Chavez and the City Council have discovered that this is working very well and is raising a lot of hidden revenue for the City.

To avoid being caught running a light, people started driving through a green light faster so they wouldn’t get caught going through a red light, so another tax was added, $peed Cameras. Speed cameras were installed throughout Albuquerque next to the red light cameras; more hidden revenue.

Did Mayor Chavez and the City Council go as far as changing the posted speed limit at some intersections? For example: Traveling west on Menaul approaching the intersection of Menaul and Wyoming, the speed limit has always been 40 MPH, it is now 35 MPH approximately 100 yards before the intersection.

If you get caught for speeding you will pay:

· 1-10 miles over is $100.00

· 11 to 15 miles over is $150.00

· 16 to 20 miles over is $200.00

· 21 to 25 miles over is $250.00

· 26 to 30 miles over is $300.00

· 31 to 35 miles over is $350.00

· 35 & over is $400.00

Again, if you don’t pay within 20 days the fine doubles. If you refuse to pay, your vehicle is seized and held for ransom.

Had enough? Sorry, there’s more. The city has 3 speed vans, which are driven and hidden at different locations throughout Albuquerque.

Eye on Albuquerque has asked over 100 law enforcement officers if they are in favor of this new tax. All of them responded, “No, we are getting them while working when responding to calls.” Those are your calls that they're talking about. Your safety that is being placed in jeopardy because officers won't risk having to face disciplinary action for running a red light on the way to a call. Officers receive tickets even if they are running code (with lights and sirens)!

We think this new tax is outrageous. These cameras are incapable of using judgment or common sense. For example: What if you are a parent and your child is very sick and you are rushing to get them medical attention? Or you just lost a loved one, a job, or are just having personal problems? These things happen to all of us; after all we are only human. These cameras are just like the Mayor and the City Council; they do not care.

At a time when it is expensive to put a gallon of gasoline in your vehicle and heat your home; do we really need a new tax we did not approve? We feel sorry for the single parent who can barely put food on the table and make ends meat.

Chief of Police, Raymond Shultz, tried telling the public it is about Public Safety. Is that really the honest answer or is he afraid to speak the truth; “It’s about fleecing people out of money.” Chief Shultz also said he wanted to change driving habits. Well he has, people seem to be taking side streets to avoid these new tax cameras. The problem is these streets are not designed for heaving traffic flow. Also, traffic is entering our neighborhoods where our children are playing. Does Chief Shultz consider this a Public Safety issue?

What to do if you get one of these tickets:

· As soon as you get a ticket in the mail, request a hearing. Send this request through registered mail to make sure no one says it was never sent or received.

· Call Mayor Chavez and the City Council to inform them, you have a right to vote and you will exercise that right. Remind them, “We the people, for the people, by the people.” Let them know we are the voice for their future.

Where does the money go? The fact is we do not know how much money has been collected or where it is being spent. The city has claims that within 6 months they will have 36 intersections covered.

Finally, law enforcement officers have reported people covering their license plates to avoid these cameras. This is a huge problem for law enforcement officers trying to find stolen vehicles or people with warrants or simply trying to conduct a traffic stop. Another Public Safety issue Chief Shultz might want to consider.

Be ready for the city to spin this issue. They've already begun. You can be sure that The Eye will be watching. More to come!


Anonymous said...

I think the cameras are a great idea. OK, so you don't like the idea that you were caught forcing your way thru the intersection, being inconsiderate of all the other drivers - regardless of your justification for not stopping. If everyone runs red lights - why do we bother having them?
The problem isn't the single parent on the way to the hospital with a sick child. The problem is EVERYONE feels justified hurrying to their destination.
I'm fed up with sitting at the green light waiting for the last 1,2,3 cars to run thru the red light - when my lane has the "right-of-way."
Something needed to be done to STOP drivers from this obnoxious behavior - and if the cameras help eliminate that behavior, then so be it.
As for the stiff fines - people don't obey unless it hurts the pocketbook. If they can't afford $100 fines, then they need to pay attention to their speed (time managment - leave a few minutes early to allow driving time).
The few minutes they save running that red light doesn't warrant the hazardous driving they impact on other drivers.
Oftentimes we meet that hurried driver at the next light!
Slow down Albuquerque drivers, slow down.

Anonymous said...

The red light cameras have been unfair to several people, myself included. On December 22, 2006, I was driving north on San Mateo through the Montgomery intersection when traffic suddenly stopped without warning. I was following through the intersection behind a high profile SUV ans unaware that traffic had stopped on the north side of the intersection. I safely stopped my car and awaited the intersection to clear, when the light turned red, trapping me in the intersection. The flashes went off, and 5 days later, I received my summons/fine. I went down toen to metro court and fought the ticket. I enlarged the picture they sent me and pointed to all the traffic which had stopped. I would gladly have gone to court to fight this one. Fortunlately, I knew a couple of people down there at the courthouse, and got out of it, but how many don't have the ability to fight this type of of anarchy?

Anonymous said...

"...If they can't afford $100 fines, then they need to pay attention to their speed..."

So what, people who can afford the fines should get off? What kind of elitist BS is that?

Anonymous said...

Lie on Q, you can beat this dead horse all you want, it is not going away. Call it a tax if you want, but only the scafflaws are being taxed. Let the whining begin! Joe, Paul and Mark, get a life!!!
King Marty, you a-hole, as much as I cannot stand you, I want to see 50 more speed vans out there.

Unknown said...

The real problem out there is the whole traffic system has evolved from this nice idea of the great American road and the freedom to travel, to one of the most highly regulated activities we engage in. What we need to do is recognize that since the founding fathers did not have motor cars or routinely traverse long distances, there was no mention of the 'right' to drive in our Constitution. It thus became a privilege and subject to man's whims and shifting rationale. Over my lifetime, I have seen a steady move toward more and more regulation, more and more slowing down and stopping, and more and more money wasted.
The biggest problem I see with the Albuquerque traffic is not the routine fleecing of motorists, but effeciency. We need better timed lights, and longer yellow lights, and we need to be able to legally drive 70 MPH on the interstate, just to name a few. People have a reasonable expectation of getting to where they are going. A traffic control system that falls short of the reasonable expectations of the public is a safety hazard. With all the money being brought in by these wonderful red light cameras, it's hard to believe more headway hasn't been made. The city seems to have this playing dumb attitude about recognizing the need to change the red light timing. As if it were some kind of novel idea!? The main thing that should be done is too keep traffic flowing as much as possible. All too often, we are having to stop. Having to stop all the time is probably the worst part of driving. It should be minimized in every possible way. It really bothers me to sit at a red light at 3:00 in the morning waiting and waiting. The light control unit should be able to easily recognize the fact that its 3:00 in the morning, and I'm the only car on the road. Its bad enough when its just me, but most of the time there are dozens of other cars out there, all wasting time and gas because were too sorry to demand better from our government. Its high time we started to introduce a little technology into the national traffic control process. We need to let traffic flow as much as possible, and stop looking for ways to slow it down and stop it. It will save us money on gas, wear on vehicles, and time, and most of all, it will make driving a little more pleasant. It just blows my mind to have to stop at a red light with 50 other cars, and then accelerate to 45 MPH over and over again just to go a few miles down Coors Rd. Thats just one fine example. You guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves for letting this situation get this far out of hand.