There has been a lot of whining down at the state capitol in the last two weeks as anti-photo radar/red light camera activists have applied serious pressure on legislators to cosponsor and support HB 2579.
They’ve used every excuse in the book and here are some highlights:
“I don’t cosponsor any bills, that’s just my policy.”
“It doesn’t matter if a bill has cosponsors and you should leave it up to the bill sponsor to contact them.”
“If I cosponsor this bill, another legislator who doesn’t like me might kill the bill to even the score.”
“I really wanted to cosponsor, but I just couldn’t find the time to go over and sign my name on it before it was filed.”
“You’ve missed some (arbitrary or made up) deadline and I’m no longer allowed to sign on.”
“All the phone calls and emails are a turn off and you should really back off before you upset your reps and they vote against your bill.”
These are what we call excuses and poor ones at that.
The real deal is that your legislature is mostly bought and paid for by photo ticket money that funds their campaigns.
The Redflex scandal in Chicago isn’t going away, any time soon. Politicians who may or may not be in bed with the camera vendor in other cities and states may claim that Chicago’s corruption doesn’t apply elsewhere.
Anyone using this excuse is either lying, ignorant or both.
Let’s take the entire state of Arizona as an example. More than 10 municipalities, such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tucson, Chandler, Prescott Valley, Surprise, etc still use a combination of speed or red light cameras. Despite the fact that photo tickets sent by mail are not legally binding in Arizona, millions of dollars in fines are still collected.
10% of that money goes into a fund ironically called “clean elections,” which provides public funding to political campaigns, like members of the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives. These folks, not coincidentally, are responsible for allowing photo radar and red light cameras to litter the roads and scam Arizona motorists.
What’s also NOT a coincidence is that 80% of candidates for Arizona Legislature use “clean” election money to fund their campaigns. If you connect the dots, that means that Redflex and American Traffic Solutions fund their operation and basically own them. If a bill (currently HB 2579) to ban them passes, most of that clean election money will instantly vanish. The political gravy train would stop dead in its tracks and there would be quite a few state senators and reps scrambling to find a way to fund re-election in 2014.
Those are the hard facts and they’re undeniable. Chicago-style corruption with backdoor payola is still likely to be going on, but the scheme in Arizona is right there in plain sight.