Sunday, January 04, 2009

Statements like this are why he won election

One of incoming Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu's first actions has been to cancel the county's contract with a mobile photo radar camera manufacturer and operator based in Scottsdale. He quite reasonably believes that they don't help one bit with law enforcement, and that it's unethical to enter into a contract with a private business solely to raise revenue for the government:

"'I am against it, not only because I'm a strict constitutionalist, but I believe that the main purpose, is it's driven to create money for the government, in this budget deficit that's what the whole design is' Babeu said in a video shot by a group opposed to photo enforcement called CameraFRAUD and posted on its Web site on Friday. 'It's corrupting law enforcement for us to be partnered with a private entity that creates revenue. Purely that's their interest.'" (Emphasis mine)

That's the best summation yet I've seen yet that explains why the epidemic of unleashing privately-owned and operated Big Brother operations on the public, especially in Arizona, is nothing more than a revenue-enhancement program for the government entities involved, particularly since no points are assessed for most offenders, save for those being caught going 40 mph or more over the limit. In other words, there is no penalty or deterrent except monetarily for being caught speeding by the cameras. If you're rich enough, you can blow by with impunity forever.

Alternatively, one can just do what some camera-firm executives for the two main companies in Arizona have repeatedly done and just blatantly ignored the tickets mailed to them, forcing dismissal after 120 days or compelling the courts to send process servers out to give them their citations personally. Why should the peasants have to do things any differently than they do?

(That last article brings up a very good point. Technically, the camera companies have the power to void tickets issued to their own employees before the officials receive them. I wonder how many times that little scenario has happened?)

I've seen no fewer than three near-crashes caused when people (two who weren't even speeding at the time) entered a photo-enforcement zone and promptly slammed on their brakes, almost causing rear-end collisions (not to mention almost blinding me in the third incident with the camera's flash, even though I was not the one ticketed). The major intersection of Cactus and Hayden Roads near my house is photo-controlled, and I've anecdotally noticed a large increase in accidents there since the fixed cameras have been installed. I routinely pass by there multiple times a day, and there now seems to be a crash that requires police and tow assistance at least once a week, if not more.

Congratulations to Sheriff Babeu for seeing the negative Constitutional implications of such a chilling and dangerous policy, and for having the fortitude to use his authority to end the madness, at least in his county. Now if the other sheriffs would only come around to his way of thinking.

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