This article by a blogging friend is so true, funny, and entertaining. She granted permission to re-print in its entirety. It tells the story of traffic cameras in metro Atlanta, Georgia. Detailing why they were installed, the astronomical cost, the trapping of victimes, cost of fines, etc. It is an interesting article.


Avast, me Bloggies, what news headline from the coffee-stained AJC might cheer grammaw and make her laugh out loud? Well, it’s the one about how the red-light cameras are being abandoned at the busy intersections, by several cities in one metro-Atlanta county! “Cities say service doesn’t pay for itself due to dip in citations.” Is that a hoot or what! Did grammaw ever tell you about the time she was photographed running a red-light in her classic, you-ain’t-leavin’-grammaw-behind, Barney Oldfield-comin’-down-the-stretch, leanin’-forward-to-catch-every-bit-of-momentum-and-cut-down-on-wind-resistance position? There was a page of color photographs in the mail one day, showing grammaw’s auto from several angles, with the red light signal glaring above like an infected cyclops. There was a choice of fighting the $70 charge in court, but it was accompanied by a sneering caveat that before attempting to defend oneself, one should make an appointment to view the incriminating cinematic proof of grammaw’s criminal violation. Discretion is nothing if not the better part of grammaw’s valor. She popped a check in the mail to the extortioners immediately. The cities are saying that even though the cameras have reduced accidents, the service has proved too costly. The cameras monitor and record red-light violations, at an annual cost of over $400,000 (not including police to review the citations, plus color toner for printing and postage to mail them out to the suckers), which was more than compensated in 2008 in Lilburn by almost 1,500 citations. But a year later that figure plunged to about 300. This golden goose of a self-perpetuating revenue producer and overhead and personnel reducer, has now imploded into an albatross with egg on its face. The various powers touted the controversial cameras several years ago as the perfect new millenium solution to every affliction tormenting the great minds of our age. “We HAVE to get these systems in place,” the news media trumpeted constantly for months and years. Until finally, all the objections were overcome and the big busy retail-rich intersections were fitted with three cameras each. Maybe they got the idea for three cameras from Desi Arnaz, the first tv-show producer to use three cameras. Well, it took some time and some getting used to, but the savvy north Georgia drivers finally learned, once burned, forever shy – when you see the yellow, get mellow and that means, stomp your brakes or else dump your money in the bag. There were lots of rear end collisions at first, but the learning process finally made it over the curve. Now there are so few people running red lights which means there are fewer accidents, “…the cameras are working,” said the mayor of one town. “But when you build your budget around these sources of revenue, it’s difficult.” Did you get that? They didn’t install the cameras to cut down the number of accidents – WHICH IS WHAT THEY CLAIMED when they were fighting to have the systems accepted by the public. They now just toss off the honest truth – “Oh yeah, we planned to make money by catching people violating traffic signals. But we didn’t think they would STOP DOING IT!” The mayor of one of the other towns said, “We’re going to continue to enforce the red-light laws, but we’re going to have to do it with people.” OH the disgrace, the disgusting comedown, the loss of dignity and superiority: To have to go to the horrendous lengths of providing employment to HUMAN BEINGS in order to accomplish a task such as maintaining compliance with the laws of the land. Who woulda ever thunk it? Grammaw is cackling all the way to Trader Joe’s.

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