Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Florida Department of Transportation is run by liars and lawbreakers

Via WTSP in Tampa, Florida comes a disturbing story by citizen journalist Joel Chandler about highway toll takers in that state regularly unlawfully detaining as well as demanding personal information from "certain" drivers (mostly horses of a different color, if you catch our drift) who have the audacity to pay with a $10 or larger bill.  The workers then threaten to call the Highway Patrol when the motorists refuse to roll over and obey.

"Chandler says to the toll taker, 'So I'm being detained?' She says yes sir."

And, of course, the highway department compounds the abuse of their taxpayers by going right ahead and swearing up and down that they aren't doing any such thing, all the while frantically sending out the word to halt the scheme because they've been found out:

"When Chandler called and e-mailed the Florida Department of Transportation to complain about the policy, he was told there is no policy to detain people who give large bills... Chandler continued to complain and on July 21st at 7:19 p.m., he received an email from the assistant General Counsel of FDOT saying essentially the department didn't know what he was talking about and they don't have sufficient information to investigate. However, earlier that same day, there were a flurry of e-mails going back and forth in the department saying shut the program down, temporarily suspend it and who should call Chandler and what should they say." 

We don't know what's worse - minor government functionaries ordering employees to exceed their legal authority or their blatantly lying to a complaining taxpayer's face about it.  Either way, the coming class-action lawsuit should be quite enlightening.  Too bad there's not a provision for the martinets who dreamed up this program to pay the damages out of their own pockets.

If nothing else, this story provides another clear example of why the American peasant should be free to record without fear of reprisal the public actions of the government workers whose salaries they pay.

UPDATE:  Trigger bill denomination changed per the documents shown in the video.


TBeck said...

When I left Florida the trend was on to replace tollhouse crackers with an automated system. Too bad it hasn't been completed.

Chris Mallory said...

Racial discrimination? Every toll taker shown in the video was a minority. Were the government employees taped not representative of the toll taking work force?

Anonymous said...

The lawsuit that I filed names the leadership of FDOT individually - they are being sued personally.

The toll workers in the video are both whites and minorities. The issue of racial profiling comes from their own internal documents.

Joel Chandler

Anonymous said...

Chandler needs to reshift his focus to something else. It's ludicrous that he spends 70% of his time on this and 30% on his work. Where's the work ethic there? Furthermore, it's ridiculous to think paying cash for everything is the way to go these days. Time management should be this guys focus, not running through toll booths with large bills trying to blame the government for his way of living. Pathetic.