Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Fleecing of our County

So the News Sentinel sang the praises of the RedFlex Red light Cameras yesterday. According to our distinguished editors, the fact that there were no deaths last year after the cameras were installed, versus the two deaths that occurred the year prior to their existence is overwhelming evidence that they are working and saving lives.

Wow, what incredible statistical analysis! I mean last year I got sick twice after I ate at Wendy’s, but this year, because they put up the sign that said employees must wash hands before returning to work, I haven’t gotten sick. According to the News Sentinels methods, this is a completely valid approach to analyzing cause and effect.

There is also the matter of money. I mean wow, the county collected $933,013 from these cameras. Well that makes it worth it, right? I mean that’s real proof, revenue that can go to help the children in schools, get seniors help with heating bills, and pay for lobster dinners at Regas for our county employees. But wait, what were those other things that the Sentinel said justified the Cameras?

The county gets 15% of the first $4500 from each camera each month. That means that at every camera, for the first $54,000 they generate each year the county gets a whopping $8,100. So lets see, with 17 cameras making the base of $54,000 each, RedFlex gets 780,300 a year for starters. But don’t worry the county gets its cut, $137,700.

HMMM, that’s looking a little one-sided.

But let’s continue, from there on out the county gets its fair share, a full 50% of the tickets thereafter. So we still have to account for the remaining $795,313. Lets just keep this part simple. In order to get that amount from a 50% cut we must assume that RedFlex made the same amount. So we got half of that total of $1,590,626 of revenue collected.

Time to work up a grand total now, so out of $2,508,626 the city of Knoxville got $933,013. Does anyone else feel that this isn’t a good deal? Why are we paying a company IN ARIZONA over $1.5 Million to ticket Knox County Citizens?

How about I sit at a intersection with a camera, issue tickets and only take 30% of my total? At least that way the money stays here.

My final objection is to a quote that they got from the Chief of Police, I don’t blame this guy for supporting these cameras, if I got paid the same amount to do less work I’d support the new toy too, but I digress. He said, “Anything we can do to make people more aware of traffic laws is going to be beneficial to the community.” Well if we started imprisoning J-Walkers and shooting people that didn’t use a turn signal that would bring attention to the laws as well. That is a ridiculous way to defend an infringement of liberties that they should be protecting.

Seriously, what are we doing? Outsourcing tech support and shoelace factories is one thing, but to send our law enforcement to a private company in another state and pay them through our noses to punish us is ridiculous.

The leaders who put these in place are the same ones who have given us the current mess we have in government. We need to send the cameras along with these people as parting gifts and save us our money and our freedoms.

3.17.08 UPDATE: Want to get rid of these cameras in Knoxville? Write in "John Spellings" (known here at the Wigshop as "The Pol") for County Commission for District 1-A. He's running despite the fact that the main parties won't let him compete. As you can see from above post and here, he's been an opponent of the red light cameras from the very beginning. As commisioner, I have no doubt he'll do everything in his power to cancel the Red Flex contracts in Knoxville. Vote Spellings and Get Rid of the Red Light Cameras.
-ck


4 comments:

Mickey said...

Whoa, dude.

This is a surprisingly complex issue, and one I've never been quite sure how to feel about. But you're telling me that of the $60 (or thereabouts) I sent in to satisfy the Man for my law-breaking ways last spring at the intersection of Western and Henley (a right-turn I still haven't exactly figured out), only about $22 of it stayed in the city?

Damn the Man.

Pat in Colorado said...

I do however like the idea of shooting people who don't use their turn signals.

shelby said...

The Redflex contract is with the City of Knoxville. How is a Knox County Commissioner going to get them eliminated? Your post confuses City and County government. I look forward to the day when people stop endangering my life by running red lights. As in Dallas, the way to eliminate the cameras is to STOP RUNNING RED LIGHTS, thus eliminating the economic support for the cameras.

ck said...

baby steps, shelby. baby steps. we'll try and get the pol on the commission, then who knows? maybe stan on the city council.
your comments brings up a good question though- why do we need two governments? i'd like to see one metro government in knox county.
and i agree, people need to stop running the red lights. the intersections of knoxville would be much safer for all of us. but the argument here is that the means (cameras) does not justify the ends (safer roads).