Reference (the Road Warrior column) Jan 1: I’m sorry Albuquerque doesn’t still have speed vans and red light cameras. Who better to help pay for local government than the people breaking our laws and causing taxpayer expense for treating the injured uninsured and fixing infrastructure damage caused by accidents? While Albuquerque had the program, my family wound up paying three fines. But we deserved the citations and learned from the experience. To say this program doesn’t increase safety just does not make logical sense.
Since the program went away in Albuquerque, people don’t worry as much about crowding the yellow light or even running the red light. If you want to keep up with traffic, you have to speed. As a former motorcycle rider, I know getting T-boned is a scary thing about driving in the city. I want people to stop at red lights. The police need to lower our crime rate instead of monitoring speeders when a machine can do it.
I suspect one of the things leading to the program’s demise was that the “powers that be” could longer get their tickets fixed.
Of course there need to be standards as to how long the yellow lights last, reasonable speed limits, etc. But willfully ignoring the speed limit is not the way to get it changed. And I wish one of the levels of government was running the red light/speed cam program, but if they can’t run the program, they could negotiate better contracts. Rio Rancho’s policy of beginning violations 11 miles an hour above the posted speed limit is one way to make the program more acceptable.
Our conservative friends like to call these red light camera and speed van programs a money-making exercise for government and would rather starve government out of existence. But if we are going to have a police force and a district attorney, they need to be properly funded. Our crime rate and the delays in the district attorney’s office are ridiculous. If you don’t like some of the things the city/county does, then vote to stop those programs. But if there are legitimate programs on the books, they need to be funded. And maybe it would be nice to paint some lines on the streets and do some repairs other than tar strips.
The Albuquerque program was stopped by the City Council based on a 53 percent disapproval advisory vote in an election held at a time that nobody but grumpy retired people are likely to vote. Since it was only an advisory vote, the city/county can reinstate the program. We need to find funding for the legitimate functions of government, especially the police and district attorney’s office. And nobody wants to pay extra taxes just for the privilege of living in their own house or buying things in local stores. Let the scofflaws pay.