Skip to comments.Speed(Spy) Cameras
Posted on 04/04/2012 9:49:24 AM PDT by campg
DES MOINES The Iowa House voted Tuesday to ban red light cameras on a 58-42 vote that broke largely but not completely along party lines.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where there seems to be little chance that it will make it to the floor for a vote.
The legislation took a long route to Tuesdays vote. A camera ban had momentum at the start of the session, including tentative support from the governor and one legislator offering a constitutional amendment to ban the devices in the state. But as the session wore on, support dissipated and the bill was considered dead, until House leadership stepped in and revived it.
Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, the floor manager of the bill, said he has spoken with several people as he worked on the legislation over the last few months and a common thread to all those conversations was a single word.
That word was hate. Hate in the sense that people hate these things, Rogers said. He said the safety data from the cameras was conflicting at best; at worst, its misleading.
The Republican majority stopped several amendments to the bill.
Red light and/or speed cameras are placed in several cities in the state, including Davenport, Muscatine, Sioux City, Ankeny, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Other communities, such as Cedar Falls and Waterloo, have had presentations from companies that sell the cameras but have not installed the devices.
Several Democrats pushed for something less than an outright ban.
Were taking the position that we dont like the technology, were doing away with the whole thing? asked Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton.
Jeremy Taylor, R-Sioux City, said technology wasnt the issue as much as what cities did with that technology once they have it.
I come from Sioux City where traffic camera (violations) once cost $195, he said. I think your average, common-sense person would like to see some sort of fair play.
Others argued the safety angle. Rep. Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport, said statistics gathered from Genesis Health System in her city showed a 42 percent decrease in accidents in intersections where cameras were installed. Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, read statistics off a letter that he said was from the police chief. The letter credited the cameras with reducing fatal accidents in the city.
Rogers said there could be other reasons for the reductions in accidents, such as precipitation or poorly engineered roads.
The final tally saw some Democrats join the majority Republicans in voting for the ban and some Republicans joining Democrats in voting against.
Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, encouraged Democrats to vote for the ban because he felt the cameras intruded on civil liberties.
These cameras are revenue enhancers for the cities. They are taxation under the guise of “safety”. You receive the citation from a private company in the mail eleven to twelve days after the the incident, and can’t even remember if you were out driving that day.
When a policeman pulls you over at the time of the incident, you know you screwed up, as well you know why, and that contributes to safety. Notification almost two weeks after the fact contributes to nothing but the coffers of the city.
Photo cameras are simply for the purpose of enhancing the bank account of the city, not for any other stated reason. The private company makes the BIG bucks, and the city makes the BIG bucks.
I’d rather know at the time I screwed up so I can know for a fact that I did, and without a doubt.
Yes one of those red light cameras tagged me several years ago alleging I didn’t stop at a red light prior to making a right turn costing us $500.00, and it was obvious to me that the camera could have been faulty in its capture, but the citation I received in the mail almost two weeks after the alleged incident told me it was going to cost me an additional $300.00 for court costs if I lost the case. Intimidation by threatening my bank account to dissuade me from going to court. After heated discussion (I wanted to take it to court) my wife paid the citation, and later we found for a few dollars we could have had a professional service (YES! Someone is making money at getting victims of these cameras out of paying these outrageous fines, and doing it inexpensively) get us off the hook with some manuevering of law we aren’t aware of.
These damned cameras are everywhere, and they are nothing but revenue enhancement for the cities.
The main thing is that their use introduces admiralty law, which is pre-Revolutionary (and therefore British Crown law) into traffic enforcement, thus changing the rules of criminal law to give camera-trap owner-jurisdictions easy convictions and accused parties no chance to defend, since theoretically the automobile is the offending entity, and of course it has no "rights" -- and (this is good) its owner has no "standing" (where'd we hear that one lately -- oh, yeah, in the Obozo eligibility cases), at least until he's handed the (stiff, and rising) fine.
He doesn't get to defend, but he does get to pay.
The use of admiralty law effectively abrogates the BoR, and the municipalities typically take their decisions without public input (except for occasional "popoff" sessions which are held to placate the unwashed).
This is even before we get into the technical and procedural issues.
In Cedar Rapids, there is no question that drivers are much more likely to stop for red lights and they’ve slowed down on I-380, especially where the cameras are located.
The real problem I have is when the city leaders tell us they’re all about safety and not about revenue.
If that were truly the case, they wouldn’t budget the revenues. Instead, they’d return the camera revenues to city taxpayers, such as by lowering property tax rates.
At least Cedar Rapids hasn’t (yet) stooped to BONDING FUTURE REVENUES (borrowing money by selling municipal bonds on the promise that the camera income will pay bondholders back). I heard Sioux City is doing that.
“and later we found for a few dollars we could have had a professional service (YES! Someone is making money at getting victims of these cameras out of paying these outrageous fines, and doing it inexpensively) get us off the hook with some manuevering of law we arent aware of.”
I realize it doesn’t help you with the fine you paid, but for the benefit of others, could you point the way to such services for those of us who might need to know, someday?
The public would be much better served by having cameras installed in the offices and homes of politicians who support this idiocy.
I wish I could, but only heard about it in passing from an acquaintence in conversation one day, and a friend of mine was present at the time nodded in agreement saying his Grandkid had such experience, so I have to believe them. I didn’t need the information at that point, so didn’t bother to get it. We’d already paid the fine a couple of years prior.
The whole thing really ticked me off as I am one of those that stops no matter what before making a right turn as when I was a kid just having recently acquired a license the only ticket I got was for that. I rolled through a stop sign, almost stopped, but not quite while making a right turn, and got nailed. I’ve never “rolled” through a stop, a stoplight, since. That was about fifty years ago.