Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hypocrisy from City Hall

"We're going to make a lot of money."
-- City Council President Gladys Santiago, quoted in City News story July 22, 2009, following presentation by red-light camera vendors
"I don't think we'll ever see much revenue from these."
-- Mayor Duffy, quoted in Democrat and Chronicle story September 28, 2010, announcing start-up of red-light cameras next month
"City officials have estimated revenues at $3.5 million in the first year that all 50 intersections are active."
-- same Democrat and Chronicle story, next paragraph

It's amazing how, at yesterday's news conference where the Mayor and Police Chief Moore announced next month's start of the red-light camera ripoff, not one of our ever-vigilant press watchdogs thought to ask the Mayor or the Police Chief whether they had shortened the yellow-light duration at the red-light camera intersections.   That's standard operating procedure in jurisdictions that install these red-light money machines.

The D&C story we cite went up on the web yesterday afternoon.

Maintaining, as ever, its protective cocoon around Duffy, the Democrat and Chronicle scrubbed from the print version of the story in today's paper the Mayor's embarrassing lie, shown above, about "not believing we'll ever see much money" from the red light cameras.   Embarrassing because the Mayor's clumsy dissembling was followed almost immediately by the official city estimate -- from Duffy's own administration -- of $3.5 million!

As of this writing, the paper hadn't yet got around to scrubbing it from the story appearing on the web.  Our links above are to our screenshot of the web story in its original form.

Ninety-eight percent of people caught by red-light cameras aren't scofflaws who run the light.   They're people caught by shortened yellow-light times, and people turning right on red in the way that you do every day, and so do all the rest of us when there's no traffic coming from the left, by a "rolling stop" rather than a complete halt.

When government criminalizes more and more ordinary behavior, it collects more and more money.

And where are the civil libertarians and self-appointed press "watchdogs" while all this is happening?   Looking the other way, apparently.

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