Texas City Councilman Arrested After Opposing Red Light Cameras

from the hush-up-or-you-might-get-a-ticket dept

There’s been plenty of debate about traffic cameras lately, with many cities and states rushing to implement them as revenue generators rather than out of any sense of safety. Reader Brad points us to a story out of Duncanville, Texas, where a city councilman spoke up at a city council meeting opposing current red light camera laws, and the mayor had him arrested and removed during the meeting. The story presented at the link may be a bit one-sided (so there may certainly be more to this story), but the council member felt that the redlight cameras were unfair — and that there were other, better ways for the city to meet its budget. Apparently, the mayor told him if he continued to debate the issue, he would be arrested… and then lived up to that threat. Who knew redlight cameras could be so controversial that speaking out against them could get you arrested?

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Comments on “Texas City Councilman Arrested After Opposing Red Light Cameras”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The red light issue was not on the agenda and the mayor told the council that he will remove anyone that goes off topic. In reading other stories, seems this council member may not get along too well with the mayor.

The mayor is right in the legal sense to control the agenda and going off topic is considered grounds for sanction but according to Texas law, the mayor does not have the right to remove a council member, only a vote by the full council can do that.

Hulser says:

Re: Re:

The red light issue was not on the agenda and the mayor told the council that he will remove anyone that goes off topic.

I’m sure there’s more to the story than what’s in the article, but it’s my guess the councilman felt like he had to bring up the issue the way he did because the mayor wouldn’t allow the issue to even be put on the agenda. It sounds like he made the decision and didn’t want anyone else to question it, especially in a public forum. Can you see the mayor saying, “OK, next on the agenda is the issue of red light cameras that I railroaded through the approval process using backroom dealings and tacit bribes. Who’d like to comment?”

The Mad Patent Prosecutor says:

Don’t know why Mr. Masnick is so against red light cameras and similar measures. I would like one of every corner, and a speed measuring camera every quarter of a mile on every road. On public roads, you must obey the laws, otherwise you should be punished. We are used to thinking it is okay to speed because we feel like it. But, *you* don’t drive as well as you think, and I am sick and tired of *you* makeing me unsafe.

Those who claim this is about revenue generation and not public safety are disingenous, since the gap between the two is closed by . . . more cameras! What I mean is this – if a city uses a camera or two, that may well result in more revenue generation than safety. If a city uses a camera on literally *every* corner or every mile of roadway, it unquestionably results in much greater safety. I know if I was virtually 100% certain to get a speeding ticket if I sped even once on the way home from work, I wouldn’t take but two or three $100 tickets that first week before I made 100% sure I absolutely *never* sped on the way home again. Anyone who says otherwise is simply not being truthful.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re:

You are a fool.

Why stop there? Let’s put cameras in every house so no one breaks the law? Shall we discuss the fact that speed limits are too slow? Here in Boston, if someone were foolish enough to drive the speed limit, they’d be putting a lot of people in serious danger. The police certainly don’t drive the speed limit off duty or on duty without the sirens, but it would be a cold day in hell before you saw a cop pulled over by another cop– so it’s not illegal for them, just me?

If you ask me (and as of this writing, no one has) we should ditch all speed limits and start issuing a lot more careless/reckless driving tickets. The people driving 80mph in one lane don’t worry me, it’s the people driving 75mph in all four lanes that worry me.

The reason Mike (and others) are against red light cameras is because at intersections where they are put, more accidents occur. You know this isn’t the blatant the-light-was-red-when-I-saw-it running, it’s the it-was-yellow-and-just-turned-red-and-I-know-there-is-a-delay-before-they-get-a-green running. The best solution I’ve ever heard to prevent that is adding a semi-random fudge-factor to timing delays on both yellow to red and red to green, then people would be unsure of how much time they had to run it, and would feel less safe doing so.

That, or get rid of lights all together.

Hulser says:

Re: Re:

Don’t know why Mr. Masnick is so against red light cameras and similar measures.

I believe that in previous posts, Mike has stated that red light cameras, as typically implemented, are far less effective than simply increasing the duration of yellow lights. The obvious conclusion is that cities go with the less effective measure because it brings in revenue.

Those who claim this is about revenue generation and not public safety are disingenous, since the gap between the two is closed by . . . more cameras!

You position makes absolutely no sense. The people who believe that red light cameras are more about revenue generation than safety don’t base their opinion on some hypothetical model where there’s a camera on every corner and every mile of roadway. Their opinion is based on — surprise! — the models that are actually in place. Even given the possibility that your model would work, the fact remains that this model isn’t being used, so has no relevance on people’s opinion of the model that is in place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

and the red lights? people who should go through the yellow lights (because they can’t stop safely) instead slam on their brakes so that they are 100% sure they won’t get ticketed for running a red light. That cause people behind them to also slam on their brakes, and you end up with a nice long line of people slamming into each other. then when the red light cameras don’t generate any revenue and the people have adjusted they shorten the yellow light time and you have a nice repeat of the problem.

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