Constitutional Rights or Dead Women & Children?

September 1, 2009

redflexThat seems to be the question photo radar peddler Redflex is asking while conducting questionable push-polling in Louisiana.


Would you support a person’s constitutional rights even if it meant the death of women and children?

That’s how one question was framed in a recent public opinion poll on the use of automated traffic enforcement cameras in Lafayette.

To be fair, this was the question as asked: “Some people say the state Legislature should outlaw the use of traffic cameras because they are a violation of a person’s constitutional right. Other people say that we need to allow the use of traffic cameras because women and children are being killed by people who speed and run red lights and the use of cameras will save lives. Which do you agree with more?”

One might question the lack of concern in that question for the lives of men, but the words “women and children” seem to roll off the tongue nicely when laying out the dire consequences of traffic scofflaws. […]

Beyond the “women and children” question, there were a few points where it seemed the poll was attempting to make an argument for traffic cameras rather than gauge opinion about the devices.

One question asked poll takers to agree or disagree with the use of video cameras in other situations:  a security camera at an ATM machine, security cameras in department stores, video cameras in police cars.

One might question whether the use of those examples offers an implicit argument that traffic cameras are no different from other uses of video technology.

Photo Yardwork Tickets Become Reality

July 22, 2009

What a "photo yardwork" ticket might look like.

What a "photo yardwork" ticket might look like.

Not satisfied with automated tickets for alleged traffic violations, Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions is boldly expanding their big-brother repertoire to go places never gone before:  directly to your house.

Known for their unpopular red-light and speed cameras, ATS will be managing a “litter enforcement program” in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, according to WBRZ News 2, the local ABC affiliate:

“15 workers are getting training on documenting blight with photographs and in generating warning letters and hearing notices to send to property owners.”

In other words, “photo yardwork” ticketing has arrived and, like always, it’s all about the money:

Violators face possible fines of $117, plus $50 in court costs if they fail to correct the violation within 15 days of receiving a warning letter. The new system also gives city-parish workers the right to clean up an uncooperative property owner’s parcel and add the costs to the owner’s annual tax bill.

Almost a quarter of the population within Baton Rouge city limits live in poverty, according to 2007 census data. While $167 may sound steep for an automatically-generated ticket processed by a greedy, private company which received a large cash infusion from taxpayer-bailed-out Goldman Sachs, we hear that ATS might still be giving away some backpacks.

How generous. Perhaps they can be boiled and eaten.

Louisiana City Votes ATMs Out

April 5, 2009

runalong86% of Sulphur, Louisiana voters delivered a resounding death knell this weekend by voting out automated ticketing machines (ATMs), otherwise known as photo radar or photo enforcement, is reporting:

In a special election yesterday, a Southern Louisiana city of 22,000 overwhelmingly rejected photo enforcement. Asked, “Shall Ordinance No. 873, M-C Series adopting automated speed enforcement for the City of Sulphur, Louisiana, be repealed?” eighty-six percent of voters said “Yes.” After results are certified on April 13, the Australian speed camera vendor Redflex Traffic Systems will be sent packing…

…voters in Cincinnati, Ohio rejected red light cameras last November. Seventy-six percent of Steubenville, Ohio residents rejected photo radar in 2006. In less recent votes, speed cameras lost by a two-to-one margin in Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois. Anchorage, Alaska also rejected a photo radar program in 1997.

The next referendum on automated ticketing is set for Chillicothe, Ohio where enthusiastic residents succeeded in gathering more than double the amount of signatures required to qualify for the ballot.

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