Red Light – Green Light!

When you are nine years old…and a guy in a train Engineer
hat on television tells you Red light….you slammed down your
milk on the wood table and milk went flying. Then he would
say Green Light and you would grab the glass of milk with both
hands and start guzzling. Then it was Red Light again and
the glass is slammed down again and the milk goes flying all
over the kitchen floor. Engineer Bill Stulla showed a variety
of cartoon features every afternoon on Channel 9 – KHJ Television
way back in 1954! Mom’s around Southern California were both
happy that their kids were drinking their milk…as well as
quite disturbed that the kids made such a mess!

Red Light cameras in Orange County cause the same dismay. There
isn’t one person that drives through Costa Mesa…that isn’t
totally paranoid that they are going to be nailed by Red Light
Enforcement Cameras. The price for violating the restraining
line is roughly $500 the time they add in all the little
goodies. Based on the initial thought that rear end and deadly
intersection collisions would diminish with Red Light Enforcement
Cameras…a series of unintended consequences has continued
unabated. The first big flap was the shortening of the Yellow
light under State standards to nail people with more frequency.
As much as a second and half were removed from the normal cycle
which caused a whole bunch of illegal tickets. Most drivers and
their insurance carriers paid the freight. Those that fought
the City of Costa Mesa got the tickets overturned….but that took
a class action suit and months of effort.

The worst part of Red Light Enforcement Cameras is the fact that
until they were challenged…there wasn’t even any signage which
would warn the uninitiated of impending doom! How about those
nagging details….and possible exemptions? In Costa Mesa, they
have a $500 dollar Blocking the Intersection provision at some of
these same intersections. What happens when you enter the light
on green and the person in front of you stops for whatever reason
and doesn’t proceed? Will the Red Light Camera nail you for
Blocking the Intersection? In the City of Los Angeles they get
you for turning right on red. They can get you for not proceeding
on a left turn into traffic…..the list goes on and on. The
big difference is that in Los Angeles…if you enter the light
on Green or Yellow….you don’t get the ticket if you are blocked
from going through even when the light turns red.

The whole funding mechanism for Red Light Cameras has been a
serious bone of contention since the beginning of Red Light Cameras.
In the beginning, Cities were given Cameras…free. Installed by
the manufacturers with the concept that they would share whatever
revenues that are accrued over years. Sounded good on paper. How
much does an average intersection cost in equipment? How much does
it cost to maintain and operate that equipment per year? How much
revenue does that camera create? Let’s just say that Red Light
Cameras are gold mines that can direct revenue into General Funds
rather than Public Safety budgets without much accountability!

In the United Kingdom…they had been sold a bill of goods that
not only included Red Light Cameras, but Highway Enforcement Cameras
and Suburban Surveillance Cameras. The citizens are suffering ticket now Congesting Pricing is charged each vehicle wherever
they go. That means that one day you could be driving on Harbor Blvd.
and you would be charged say $1.00 for using the road. The next day
might be more congested and they would charge you $3 dollars. This
is a Big Brother world….which if it were “efficient and equitable”
might even be a consideration. The problem is – that it isn’t!

Cities need strict oversight of any Electronic Surveillance and
Enforcement Programs. As much as we are opposed to Big Government,
this area requires a responsible Program Director that is totally
and completely responsible to City Councils, City Finance, Public
Safety Officials and the Public at large! This process needs to
be transparent and every Camera should be mapped..with the ability
to view the locations from any City website. The Costs and the
annual revenue should be out there for all to see! Red Light
Cameras are a big deal that need responsible and open operation.
Contact your City…find out how many Red Light Cameras you have
and where they are. Demand that mapping and signage be provided
for each and every piece of Government or Private Industry Equipment!

If we don’t…we might find that the our milk will be spilled all
over the kitchen! Green Light…….Red Light kids!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.