The first cameras were installed in 2004, so this year marks the third year that the program has been in operation. If yesterday was any indication, the public is not only rejecting the scam-era system and its inherent injustices, there's growing anger and resentment towards the program. In political and media circles, this story could be identified as one that has got "legs."
Yesterday, the Tribune led with a front page article entitled "Plate-Cover Crackdown." In it, the Tribune reporter Michael Gisick asked the question "are the devices really illegal?" The answer from city attorney Greg Wheeler was "we don't know... it hasn't been tested."
The Trib article seemed to trigger KKOB AM's afternoon drive time talk-show host Jim Villanucci. He spent the majority of his show talking about the plate cover enforcement and the underlying scam-era system noting that (among other things) traffic light timing is more effective at preventing intersection accidents than the photo enforcement scam-eras. In addition Mr. Villanucci read statistics that came from APD that showed an increase in overall accidents at photo enforced intersections in their first full year of operation.
Richard Edes, Villanuci's on-air sidekick and show producer, pointed out something that we've been saying for months... police officer's almost universally are opposed to the scam-eras. After 3 hours, the general consensus of both callers and hosts was that the system was about money and not safety.
Further underscoring Mr. Villanucci's argument that the scam-eras are about money and that yellow light timing has an impact on both accidents and revenue, theNewspaper.com is reporting (hat tip NewMexiKen):
Mesa [Arizona] has struggled with earning a significant profit from its program since November 2000 when the city increased the duration of the yellow warning signals at left-turn intersections from 3.0 to 4.0 seconds -- in violation of a Lockheed Martin IMS contract stipulation that mandated no timing improvements be made. As a result, red light violations dropped 72 percent at those intersections and never returned. The cameras lost significant amounts of money.Today the Tribune is back at it again with a story about a class action lawsuit that aims to put an end to the scam-eras and force the city to refund all of the money collected from scam-era victims.
All of this activity in just a 24 hour period. How long will it take for the council and the Almighty Marty to get the point that for a whole host of reasons people don't like the scam-era system? Just in case you've forgotten the system's short comings, here's a partial list:
The lawsuit argues that the camera program conflicts with established state traffic law and sets up an illegitimate, quasi-legal hearing process for people who challenge their tickets.
"They've essentially set up a parallel court that has no legal standing," Sandoval said.
- Due Process (nonexistent)
- Accuracy (KOAT Employee Gary Williams pointed out the system's flaws.)
- Scam-eras collect money - not about public safety
- Revenue based enforcement (500 citations for plate-covers that aren't even illegal!)
- Most police officers hate the system
----- Eye Alert -----
Our Eyes are telling us that 770KKOB AM is promoting Bob Clark's morning show for Wednesday morning. Apparently, Mr. Clark's topic will be the red light scam-eras.