Thursday, July 23, 2009

1-2-3 RED LIGHT -OR- Money, they say, is the root of all evil today

In a decidedly twisted, in a "would be funny if not so fucking evil", way, a local debate over installation of "Red Light Cameras" veered off into the twilight zone.

The village of River Forest Illinois voted to install cameras, but modified the contract to differentiate the fines for blowing a red light and for violating the no turn on red without coming to a complete stop infractions. The company that would install own, maintain, process, review and collect on the "tickets" balked at the contract claiming, first that the system is not suited for multi-level fine assessment and that tweaking it to allow such would mess up the whole system, then finally issuing a statement rejecting the contract on grounds that different fines would be UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

The cameras are a hot issue in the greater Chicagoland area, where private/public law enforcement issues border on the absurd. Stepping out from the City of Chicago debacle of leasing its parking meters to a third-party for-profit corp for
the next 75 years then having serious glitches in the transition.

With Citizens revolting in many of the affected areas and general complaints of price gouging and non-functioning, error prone enforcement, the situation is being reconsidered.

Now the debate over the cameras that have generated millions and millions of $$$ for cash-strapped municipalities is heating up.
The Daily Herald editorial sums it up nicely. Quit installing these things until they work properly and "consumer protection" laws can be determined and implemented. (This link offers links to many of the individual community debates and stands in a sidebar.)

When a high traffic community like Elk Grove Village can generate more revenue from the cameras than it does through its traditional court system, the efficiency of one only highlights the inefficiency of the other. And nowhere in either system do laws and justice seem to be a prime consideration. Traffic court in Crook County is an ongoing ponzi scam, a rigged game and a major embarrassment each and every time it is looked at close-up.

The Criminal Justice System is an apt descriptive. Top to bottom. Front to back it is the playground of organized crimes perpetrated upon the public. Evolution? Through installation of red light cameras, they're now adding drive-thru lanes and outsourcing the judicial process.

Oh yeah, and the major players in this game are the same high-powered, big contributing names that sent George Ryan to jail and made Blago a household name.
Unnamed Lobbyist B, Fund-raisers A-Z inclusive. But trust them on this Red Light Camera thing. It's gonna be HUGE! It's gonna save your city.

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