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Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/19/11 in all areas

  1. I'm sure it has been mentioned, but I'll rattle of my list of issues with allowing these red-light cameras. Some are Constitutional, others are safety related, others are just based in what I feel is right and wrong. Off we go... First, the cameras violate my right to due process. Second, I do not get to confront my accuser. Third, the cameras don't work. I know several people who were in the process of making legal traffic maneuvers but were ticketed anyway (legal right-on-red turns for example). Fourth, safety. More than once I've been startled by the flashes going off while driving. At 610 and Westheimer, the flashes have caused two accidents that I know people involved in them. Near my home, my father also ended up curbing his car because the flash not only scared him causing him to flinch, but made him unable to see momentarily causing him to curb the car which resulted in a blown out tired and scratched rim (plus possible mechanical damage). Fifth, accidents are caused by people trying to beat the cameras. There have been studies showing more accidents at intersections with cameras, caused by "beaters" as well as the flashes. There have been conflicting studies showing the intersections are safer. I don't know who to trust frankly. The university or non-profit that does the study or the company with a vested interest in keeping the cameras up. Sixth, they are wrong. They have been put up under the guise of public safety, but in the end, the ultimate goal is revenue. So the city uses tax payer dollars to pay for and install, maintain and operate technology who's sole purpose is to fleece the tax payer. It is somehow ok because it is supposedly only bad people who run red lights? No. There are other reasons, but in the end, the one that matters is the voters of Houston do not want them. They proved this, voted them out and now the city counsel has taken it upon themselves to ignore the voters (the judge's decision did say that the vote wasn't valid because it violated the city's charter, but there was no order to reactivate the cameras). I could be convinced to remove my objections to the cameras if certain concessions were made. Such as signage leading up to every intersection with a camera notifying traffic that there is one. Second, that the cameras be adjusted so that they cannot see inside the vehicle (as of now, two photos are taken, some actually shoot inside the vehicle, where I have a reasonable expectation of privacy). Third would be that the cameras be monitored by a qualified police officer. Perhaps five cameras per operator. When a camera is triggered, the officer is notified (he'd be watching them live as well) and a 30 second playback is queued up and played for him so that he can verify the accuracy of any citation written, and he would have to be present in court for all all court dates for those tickets as the accuser/witness. Fourth, the flashes need work. They are too bright right now and too startling. Fifth, better calibration. If you enter the intersection under a yellow light, the cameras will tag you. This is not legitimate. Also, I don't know about others, but I was always told in Driver's Ed that if you cannot stop at an intersection without "shifting the contents of the vehicle" you were supposed to continue through. So perhaps more than two shots are necessary to form a full assessment about whether the charge is legitimate. In regard to RedScare's commentary about us being more worried about the Patriot Act, you're absolutely right. We should be worried about that. That does not mean we should not be worried about this as well. There is a perfectly valid "slippery slope" argument here (one of the few places it applies). If we allow these cameras, what will we allow next? Speed cameras are already in use in numerous places in this country, and those are wrong wrong wrong a well. One of the primary purposes of a police car on the side of the road manning a speed trap is deterrence, not just revenue. Revenue is supposed to be tertiary. A bi-product of the deterrent and safety measure if unheeded. It is a short step from these cameras to cameras that can and will be used to track citizens (check Las Vegas for example). We already have HPD cars with a camera that reads and runs every license plate it sees, without any cause to do so. Liberties are taken most effectively in increments, not in fell swoops.
    1 point
  2. I'm not sure why an income gap is a bad thing. There are always going to be rich and always going to be poor. By comparison, the poor in our country (for the most part) would be considered wealthy in quite a bit of the rest of the world. They might be eating Top Ramen and living in cruddy apartments, as I was 20 years ago, but that was something my family was thankful for. That isn't to say there aren't others who are worse off, homeless, etc. The difference is, here, they have far more of a chance to change that circumstance. Having worked with the homeless for going on a decade now, I was surprised how many of them actively make the choice to maintain their circumstances. I also feel as if the constant discussion of an income gap is meant to shame the wealthy. Why shame those who determined their own circumstances? For most, they built their wealth themselves. That isn't something to discourage. To tell someone who did not allow the circumstances of their life determine or limit their reach that they should feel bad or they don't carry enough of the load is insulting to them. We really do live in one of the few places on the planet where someone has the ability to go from being homeless to being a millionaire with the right attitude and the willingness to make opportunities. I've been poor, I've been well off, I've been poor again. I just don't see, as someone who has seen both sides of the coin, how it is anyone else's responsibility.
    1 point
  3. maybe it got a good prescription.
    1 point
  4. Not if you live in Sugar Land.
    1 point
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