Monday, October 1, 2012

Seeing red

The fight over League City's red light cameras is intensifying, with a lawsuit having been filed over an upcoming vote on the issue. 

I'm hoping that Galveston County Daily News still has more to say about this issue, and that they can say it more concisely than they have to date.  I'm also hoping that The League City Blog will start a new discussion thread on this issue (hint, hint) because they are more of an "issues" blog and they draw readership that focuses on "issues".  Centerpointe Communicator is more of a "lifestyle" blog and, by design, doesn't have that same lightning-rod social impact potential. 

But let me take a stab at it anyway.  Here is a summary of what I myself know about red light cameras right now:
  1. The issue has been controversial and complicated from the start, both in Houston and in League CityBUT --
  2. According to published reports, red-light cameras have been endorsed by LCPD.  As I've noted in previous posts, I'm not a freakin' mobility expert.  I do possess some common sense and the ability to formulate viewpoints based on that.  What my common sense tells me here is that if LCPD believes that the merits of these things outweigh the drawbacks, then I'm in favor of them.  My common sense tells me that LCPD's traffic analysis expertise outweighs the personal opinion of any given loudmouth, including me.  Unfortunately, with the controversy and lawsuit issues going on, the analysis of what these cameras are either achieving or not achieving is getting seriously lost in translation. 
  3. Here is something that I did not know until reading this Chron article: The funds generated by red-light cameras are earmarked for "pedestrian and road safety".  The paranoid wing-nuts who complain bitterly in the press about these cameras creating a "money grab" by League City... what do they imagine these red-light ticket funds are being spent on?   Hawaiian vacations for city staffers or something??
Do you recall my post called "Sidewalk Surprise" from back in June of this year?  My delight at seeing some ACTUAL PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS being installed in League City? 

Is THIS how some of our red-light revenues are being spent??  If so, HALLELUJA!!!

WHO in their RIGHT MIND would want to stop this kind of thing?!
When I read about the funds earmarking, I almost wanted to go out and run a red light so that I could contribute to the fund

All this red-light rancor and debate comes at a particularly sobering time in our local history:
If ever a picture told a thousand words, this right here is it.

Narrow road
No sidewalk
Large vehicles
Limited traffic control measures
Dead child.

Screengrabbed from this GCDN article.
Galveston County Daily News left that same picture on their frontpage for an entire day last week.  Many newspapers churn their on-line content every few hours in order to draw as many views as possible (Chron certainly does), because that increases their advertising dollars.  But that pic really needed to stay up so that everyone could get a good, long, hard look.  Christina Lopez's death was not some unprecedented "accident".  In my not-so-humble common-sense personal opinion, this was a fully-predictable outcome - the only question was, which local child would it prove to be? 

Not only that, it's almost certainly going to happen again to some other local child.  I myself have witnessed countless near-misses involving children and motor vehicles, including those incidents that I photographed, blogged, and re-summarized in my tribute post to Christina.  When we see near-misses happen, we know that failures are imminent unless the conditions that led to the near-misses are rectified. 

Anyway, in summary, I'm hereby making an appeal for better information and improved local reporting on League City's red-light camera issue.  To date what we've seen is individual disjointed news articles that are restricted to addressing different facets of the City of Houston situation, the League City lawsuit, etc. etc.  League City voters would really benefit from seeing a concise compilation of all of the facts and considerations so that these can be weighed before we all get into the voting booth.  TJ?  Heber?  Chris?  Chris John?  Anybody care to step up to the plate and pull the whole story together for us in a way that maximizes the facts and minimizes the vitriol?   Drop the other shoe while you're at it - tell us exactly where League City spent the resulting money, because that probably matters to people just as much as any other facet of this situation. 


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  2. If we do not have the police resources to adequately enforce the laws in our community, we should hire more cops. It is my opinion that sidewalks and other non-roadway mobility improvements should be funded by local entities similar to MUDs in residential areas and economic development districts in commercial areas. The revenue generated from red-light cameras is just not worth the collective loss of Liberty associated with big brother style cameras straight out of George Orwell and Ray Bradbury novels.


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