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The End of Traffic Cams?

February 3, 2010 at 11:06 am Matt Leave a comment Go to comments

Good news:

Voters unplugged Steubenville’s traffic cameras in 2006. Ballots cast in Cincinnati banned the long lens of the law from that city’s streets two years later. Two communities outside of Columbus — Chillicothe and Heath — rejected photo enforcement last November.

Could Cleveland or another Northeast Ohio community be next?

A local campaign to oust cameras may be developing: “We’re prepared to make this an issue,” said Maryanne Petranek of Cleveland, vice chair of the 150-member Cuyahoga County for Liberty. “This is a case where people have to find their voice, stand up and say no.”

The idea will be among the subjects discussed Saturday during “The Power of Coalitions” program at the Beachland Ballroom on Cleveland’s Waterloo Road. (Cuyahoga County for Liberty is a sponsor.) The chairman of a group tied to three victorious anti-camera campaigns in Ohio is an event keynote speaker.

Jason Gloyd said his organization — the Cincinnati-based Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, or COAST — will assist efforts to eliminate intrusive click-it-and-ticket equipment in the state.

COAST views red-light and speed cameras as an erosion of civil liberties fueled by government greed for revenue.

“People are starting to realize that they are chipping away, slowly but surely, at our rights,” Gloyd said.[...]

[M[ore than 8,500 Toledo residents signed petitions last year to put a camera question to voters. (A filing error kept the issue of the ballot.)

“If people have a choice,” said Chris Finney, an attorney and COAST board member, “they’ll get rid of them.”

Even though they are creepy, as a general rule I’m not opposed to putting cameras anywhere in a public location that a policeman might otherwise be able to stand. However, not only are red light cameras are a money grab by local communities and camera vendors, you are automatically presumed guilty- ie., can’t face your accusers to plead your case, and as you attempt to fight it- some major late fees will be added.

This is very similar to the “gotcha” late fee on drivers license registration that Ted Strickland and Democrats put into the budget. In both situations, drivers are breaking the law, but all the state and local governments are concerned with is generating extra revenue to help make up for their fiscal mismanagement.

But if these pesky cameras can’t be defeated and as the benefits of public sector employment continue to balloon, perhaps Ted Strickland will support special camera-immune license plates for government employees and their families?

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