Here on Long Island, as well as around the country, local municipalities are installing two types of traffic enforcement cameras. One is the red light camera at intersections to catch people going through the light without stopping. The second is the speed camera, which is set up in school zones to catch people speeding.
About four years ago, I was rushing to get to work. Instead of taking the shortcut through the parking lot, just before the light, as I usually do, I tried to catch the green and didn't succeed.
Instead of coming to a full and complete stop, I slowed down and made the right turn, not realizing both video and still cameras caught me. Imagine my surprise several weeks later when a ticket showed up in the mail for $50. Everyone in the house gave me a hard time.
The next day at work, I warned everyone about those cameras; they told me the cameras had already nailed several of my coworkers. I haven't gotten another one since then. I made it a point to learn the location of all the cameras on my route to and from work. I always look for them at intersections I may not have been through before.
The newest things here on Long Island are the School Zone Speed cameras. The fine is much heftier, $80, for speeding in a school zone. The speed limit in school zones are 20 miles per hour and these cameras will catch you if you go over 30 miles per hour.
There are several around where I live and I am very careful to go 20-25 mph and no faster. It's funny to see all the cars on the road suddenly go from 40 mph to 20 mph in the space of a minute.
I understand that this is for the safety of the kids, but let's call it what it really is; a speed trap to generate money for the cash strapped county whose budget is in the red.
While all the county legislators voted for these cameras, the leading Democrat, who is in the minority, is now calling for the cameras to go offline until all the locations are decided, finally, and proper signage is established.
Give me a break! All of that should have been done while in the planning stages, not after they are up and running! Some locations give no warning to motorists, whereas others have a speed limit sign and another warning of video cameras.
Are you kidding me?!?! Many legislators and citizens feel there should also be yellow blinking signs warning motorists of these speed traps: “Excuse me, school speed zones.” Someone estimated it would cost $6 million to install fifty-six of those yellow blinking signs around the county. That's not going to happen because the county doesn't have the money to do it!
Normally, it is the responsibility of the individual towns to post signs on their roads, but for some reason the county has taken responsibility for them, with no way to pay for them. Talk about an oxymoron, or, in the case of the county executive, just a moron.
Our county executive has a habit of rushing into projects without thinking things through, as do most politicians. They have their secret inner circle whispering in their ear, all the while blocking out the very people that voted them in.
Special interest groups and political action committees are two of the worst things to happen to the voters. They represent the big corporations and the wealthy people of the country, paying their way through campaign contributions and illegal gifts to get our legally elected representatives to vote their way on legislation that will benefit them.
Is there any other way to explain how an Arizona based company got the contracts for both the red light cameras and school zone cameras, instead of a New York based company? There had to be contributions and pay offs galore for that to happen.
Call me a cynic, but I believe that most politicians may go into their jobs thinking they are going to better the world, only to change in later years and find ways to make the job better suit them in terms of money and perks.
My advice is simple: always make a full and complete stop at red lights before turning and don't speed near a school. Big Brother may be watching.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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