In the letters to the editor in today's Houston Chronicle:
Now that they have succeeded in getting the cameras turned off, most citizens are chagrined to find that the police will have to start doing without a substantial portion of their budget, the taxpayers may be on the hook for a penalty for termination of the camera contracts, and some drivers who may have begun to learn that yellow means prepare to stop will go back to their previous misconception that it means speed up. The cynics who say that the cameras were just another way to get money will have to get used to paying more taxes themselves, since the scofflaw drivers will no longer be paying those millions of dollars into the city's coffers.My, so much fisk-worthy material I hardly know where to begin.
First, there are going to be times that it's just not good to put on the brakes when the light turns yellow. I'll admit that at least as likely as not, when I see a yellow light I speed up to get through it before the light turns red. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. No doubt my wallet has thanked me, too, because it seems obvious that if one slowed to a stop every time the light turned yellow, it'd make the brakes wear out that much faster.
And "cynics who say that the cameras were just another way to get money"? Sounds like they were right to be cynical, considering that Houston mayor Annise Parker made such a big deal about the city's budget taking a hit.
Last, not that I would advocate that drivers who run red lights shouldn't be forced to pay, but for the city to rely on those cameras to plug the holes in the police department's budget just strikes me as, well...wrong. It's as if lawbreakers are financing the police department, and do we really want to fund the police departments with that concept? What's next, murderers and home invaders being fined for their crimes too? I can just see where that would go:
"All these citizens defending themselves are really cutting down on murders and home invasions. The police department's budget is really suffering because of the fines not being paid by these dead or deterred criminals. Is it really a good idea for citizens to be able to defend themselves and not have to wait on the police?"
Is it really that far-fetched?