Don't Outsource Traffic Enforcement

Post-Standard letter to the Editor.

May 22, 2009

To the Editor:

The city wants to install red-light runner cameras. 30%-40% of the fines will go to the private contractor. Do we have a red-light runner problem? The city hasn't been complaining about it.

Purposely running a red-light in traffic is extremely rare and unnatural and stupid, or desperate, such as when being chased by police. The private contractor could never profit from fines to "red-light runners". Profits will come from normal drivers who occasionally don't quite make it through an intersection on the yellow-light (to be avoided, but rarely merits a fine). The choice of high-traffic rush hour intersections getting the camera is proof that the goal is to catch--let's call them--"yellow-light runners".

I marvel at the gumption of the contractor who lobbies state government to get laws passed allowing tickets to be issued to car owners rather than the drivers. We're changing well-established laws so that a contractor will have a workable business model. This is unfair to vehicle owners. And the system overall wreaks of privatized law enforcement, a very bad precedent. What is wrong with our politicians?

Doesn't the city have more important things to work on than this project? It won't reduce true red-light running; it worsens the quality of law; and it takes money out of the community. Extra revenue to the city? I say to the mayor, if the city needs more money, just tax us; don't hassle us. I urge the mayor and common council to reject this project.

Carlo Moneti