Red Light Cameras Stay – Here Comes The Controversy
The Council voted and decided that the cameras are going to stay. The vote to get rid of them was 6-3 against. But then, something else happened that is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows.
The City-Parish Council voted to continue the contract and add four more intersections to the mix, making the count go up to 16. Also added were 2 more "speed vans" which catch people speeding in random locations around town. The other change discussed was to put the program under the police department. In a conversation with Council Chair Jared Bellard on Mornings with Ken and Bernie, he mentioned that the council would talk about making tickets issued by the cameras a criminal violation, rather than a civil violation. That would mean points on the license as well as the fines that go with the cameras.
For many that have been against the cameras all together, this is not a good thing. They wanted to see the cameras packed up and sent away to the furthest corner of the world. If the council decides to make these a criminal violation, that would turn more people against it. Let's face it, it's less of a sting to pay $25 and forget we ever had a speeding problem than to have your insurance go up, among other things that happen when you get an actual ticket.
There are many arguments for why people don't like them and why they do. They have brought about safer driving, but at what expense. We have talked about that before, but when things happen at the expense of freedom and due process, you have to ask yourself if it's a good idea to continue a program like this. Councilman Bellard mentioned that an issue can be voted on by the people if 15 percent of the people sign a petition asking that it happen. That has yet to happen, but if this sort of thing is loathed as much or more than what it already is, you can bet an effort will get underway.
There is still work to be done on this and you can expect more to come out of it, but if you don't like the cameras, then more bad news is likely to come. One thing is clear. Either you behave yourself or smile for the birdie when you go through one of these intersections, because they aren't going anywhere soon.