A Driver's Revolt In Hawaii!
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California January 27, 2002A Driver's Revolt In Hawaii!"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found the exact
amount of injustice and wrongdoing which will be imposed on them; and
these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." - Frederick Douglas, 1857
Camera Rage Strikes Hawaii Drivers
THE NEW YORK TIMESJanuary 27, 2002
HONOLULU, Jan. 26 -- Bumper stickers here shout the slogan "Slow down! This ain't the Mainland!" But drivers are now in open revolt over a
program forcing them to drive more slowly.
This month the state began using digital cameras operated from unmarked vans and mounted near intersections to catch drivers who speed and run red lights on selected state roads and highways.
The response has been swift. Rebellious drivers have snapped up
several thousand license covers that illegally obscure plates, owners of automobile-accessory shops say. They have sent angry letters to the
local papers urging people not to pay their tickets. Cellphone brigades call morning radio shows to relay the vans' locations, and reports abound of drivers hurling obscene gestures, insults and even trash at the vans.
Some officials are even saying that the program may be working too well. "People are now driving too slow," said Carol Costa, a spokeswoman for the City of Honolulu "They're driving in packs so their plates can't be seen by the cameras. There are people who speed around the packs of cars. And the vans, of course, themselves are being targeted by drivers."
The effort has ignited such rage that some lawmakers are considering
repealing it, and the City and County of Honolulu have bowed out of the antispeeding part of the program, saying it makes people drive erratically....
The three-year pilot program is being run by a technology company, ACS
State and Local Solutions, which receives $29.75 for every citation paid. For a speeding citation, the state receives $27 plus $5 for every mile over the speed limit; the fine for running a red light is $77. ...."There's a difference between going a little above the speed limit and
reckless driving," said George Chan, a clerk for the State Department of Health who often travels the monitored roads. "The police have more
discretion. The cameras just sit there and say `You're over the limit.' There's no reasonable leeway."
One group says the problem is not speeding, but the speed limits. At 55 miles per hour, Hawaii's speed limit is the lowest in the nation, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va. On many major highways, which often front schools and residential areas, the limit drops to 45 or 35 m.p.h.
"This is an island of Sunday drivers," said Terry Poland, who owns a
business center in a Waikiki hotel. "The speed limits are too slow. You have to ride the edge of the limit just to get anywhere."
Though the Hawaii Legislature authorized the cameras in 1998, it has
taken the state this long to put the plan into effect. Now, proposals are being made to change the law. Among them are reviewing speed limits, treating the citations like parking tickets and repealing the legislation.
Joseph Souki, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, has
introduced a bill to raise the statewide maximum speed limit to 65 m.p.h., though making changes on specific roads would be determined by traffic engineers. ....In December, when the state issued warnings in a trial of the system, Ms. Kali said 50,000 vehicles were checked and 30 percent were speeding. ....
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
If there is one characteristic that defines government, it is hypocrisy! Imagine, for a moment that the speed limit is 35 m.p.h., and you are "caught" doing 36. For that 1 m.p.h., you are photographed, sent a citation for $61.25, with $29.75 going to a private company, and the city does not have to do a thing but place their share of the booty in the bank.Could anyone possibly imagine any government agency being held to such tight standards of discipline? Government couldn't operate under a zero tolerance standard so imposed upon its citizens. Since we are here talking about a private company placing profits in the bank, does this not raise the question of whether we are here talking enforcement or business?In Los Angeles, Lockheed Martin has placed up its cameras at various intersections throughout the city for a profit take of $60 per "violator." The other day the news reported that Lockheed was complaining to the City Councilmen that there were not making enough from these cameras to make it profitable for them, stating that many days they only "caught" approximately three violators at some intersections. Filmed shots from Lockheed's cameras revealed that the biggest violator class in Los Angeles was the Los Angeles City Parking Violation's vehicles with whom Lockheed is in cahoots. Oh, but the city doesn't have to pay. But wait a minute, this is about public safety, not profits, right? One can be killed by a city vehicle running a red light as well as a private vehicle.And where are the courts on all this? Prior courts have stated that when it comes to traffic enforcement, there can be no hint of profit-making, yet judges generally turn a blind-eye to this for private for-profit business and will not address the issue. One judge in San Diego was bold enough to declared this private for-profit camera business a violation of the Constitution. What is interesting here, is why this private for-profit business is unconstitutional in his realm, but not in others.Now what would happen if the citizens started placing up cameras in the proximity of the bureaucrats and sent them a bill for every minor infraction? Wasn't it not that long ago that the federal judges were complaining about their every keystroke being recorded on their computers in their chambers? Ah, yes. Isn't life wonderful?
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