"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington
OPINION – You own a car. One evening, while enjoying your private property, a series of sensors and cameras detect your movement and computationally decide that you are exceeding the speed limit. A for-profit corporation receives high-resolution images of the alleged “violation,” which then forwards the allegations to another series of for-profit corporations.
Municipal corporations have a budget and, lets face it, payroll is a bitch for any corporation. Instead of a co-op where residents are viewed as equal shareholders in their community, they are instead viewed as revenue machines ready for milking. The true shareholders in these muni corporations are the usual suspects: investment banks like Goldman Sachs (which also owns American Traffic Solutions and Geico) and Macquarie which just gobbled up Redflex.
Yes, big banks, the photo firms, and Anytown U.S.A. have a lot of things in common: They care about money, power, and control.
Lets not forget that a “traffic ticket” in any form goes well beyond the scope of a tax. It is a lawsuit directed at you on behalf of a carefully-vested collective of public and private entities that survive only on their ability to take by force the property of others. This collective includes the very elected officials that are supposed to represent the people and protect their private property: city and town judges, the town prosecutor, police officers etc.
In grade school, this is called stealing. In muni law, it’s considered “revenue enhancement” and your immediate, unquestioning compliance is not requested but demanded. The endgame to this bastardization of law is obvious: corpgov sanctioned theft:
If you’ve got one of the 15,000 traffic camera tickets the city says remain unpaid, you might want to keep an eye on your car. Police will begin seizing or putting boots on vehicles whose owners have unpaid tickets from the five Redflex Traffic Systems cameras around town, the Las Cruces Police Department announced Tuesday. LCPD Police Chief Richard Williams wasn’t available to comment on the new enforcement action, but LCPD spokesman Dan Trujillo pointed out that nothing about the ordinance itself was new.
“Fighting” photo enforcement by trying to change out the politicians who allowed it to happen is like voting for a new board of directors at McDonalds because of a lousy drive-thru cheeseburger. A better solution is to immediately stop patronizing the corporations (City of Scottsdale, City of Mesa, City of Phoenix) and their hired thugs (corrupt police officers, judges, prosecutors).
In Arizona, the advice used to be “careful driving down to Mexico, the corrupt police there will seize your car on a whim.”
In 2011, we can revise the sentiment: “careful driving across town, the corrupt police will seize your car at the command of a private corporation.
Editor’s Note: Received via email, 5/4/2011.