The vote on Canton’s proposed civil code language has been delayed until March 23rd, as I’m sure you know from reading the Repository, or checking up on the issue on The Canton Red Light Cameras Blog.
This is so that the Mayor, William J. Healy II, can try to somehow muddle the issues and come up with some sort of compromise. I’m sorry, but there is no compromise to be had. Red light cameras are a true “black and white issue,” there are no shades of grey. You are either for freedom from surveillance and “gotcha” enforcement of traffic laws, or you are for abusing and terrorizing the citizenry and motoring visitors that drive in your “fair” City.
Finally, I have some words about The Repository’s current coverage of the red light camera issue. Initially, Bob Russ and Charita Goshay came out with opinion pieces that rightly called the city out on its greed. But after they covered the informational meetings and got some good information out there (as well as some quotes from yours truly), their direction on the camera issues changed quite inexplicably.
I can’t say why they reversed their opposition of these systems, but maybe it was a simple case of “management” overriding the employees. I don’t have any sort of inside line to The Repository, or their reporters, and I have considered calling them to ask, but don’t know that I would get a 100% open and honest answer on what would be perceived as “belligerent questioning.”
I am not accusing The Repository of any impropriety, but would like to engage in some wild speculation as to what may have gone on behind the scenes.
1. Redflex sees the veritable poo-storm unleashed by residents’ vehement opposition to red light cameras, and decides ‘we have to do something or we’ll lose this contract.’
2. So they contact The Repository, whose main editorial backed off the hard-line anti-camera sentiments of its opinion writers, and floated the idea “Let’s try these cameras for a year.”
3. Then they receive a prepackaged article full of graphics and explainations of “how the system works” to run on the front page in Sunday, March 8th’s edition. Much like how many news channels will receive pre-packaged news stories from marketers and even the government.
The article “Red or Green” was not posted on the website until Monday though, maybe an “honest oversight” or maybe deliberately held back so that many, many negative comments could not be added before the supposed Council vote on the issue that was to take place Monday night.
In the editorial on TTAC (the truth about cars.com), it was pointed out how Redflex and ACS executives have never received (or never paid) violations from their own sysem, but have violations from each other, and they detailed the story of one Michael Ferraresi, who:
has been through a revolving door with the Australian camera vendor and the Arizona Republic newspaper. After writing stories about the company for the Republic, Redflex hired Ferraresi to be spokesman– often speaking to his former colleagues at the paper about the company. Ferraresi is once again reporting for the Republic, a paper that offers enthusiastic editorial support for the use of speed cameras and red light cameras.
So one of my questions would have been, “Were there any offers from Redflex to a certain reporter who seems to be supporting these fraudulent ticketing systems for such an ‘ambassadorship’ job? Or was The Repository paid or otherwise influence to come out in favor of the cameras?”
I’m not making these accusations seriously, I’m just playing “what if,” but this exercise does raise some very valid points. I don’t know why all three bodies, The Mayor, The City Council, and The Repository might betray the public’s trust by reccommending flawed, dangerous, and illegal systems such as these (uh yeah, finding people guilty without due process and ‘prosecuting’ people with a system of ‘guilt until proven innocent’ directly contravenes the U.S. Constitution, therefor, illegal, no matter what the apologists say). Oh, I’m sorry, yes I can think of one reason for all these people who should be living up to their responsibility of respecting and defending the rights of the citizenry would commit to such a repugnant policy; Money.
Time and time again, these cameras and their support systems have been found to violate the due process rights of the motorists caught by them, have been set with too short of an amber signal, have been caught not having any review by police officers, and increased accidents, etc. The problems seem to be endless. If the Canton City Council won’t send these frauds packing, then the people will stop the cameras through a petition or whatever other means necessary, and they will send those members of City Council that were blind and deaf to the wishes of their constituents, even if it means recalling them (which would be easy to do folowing the passage of any contract with Redflex, even if after re-election).
That’s all for now. More, as it develops, my three loyal readers.
Red light camera studies abound. In the final informational meeting for Canton Ohio’s proposed red light and speed camera ticketing system, Aaron Rosenberg, the Redflex Executive Vice President brought his “A” game. This presentation was much more involved, cited more statistics and studies, and was thoroughly debunkable.
In starting the meeting, he gave a backhanded compliment to me. He gestured towards me mentioning that “I have my figures and this gentleman has his…” in regards to whether or not accidents are reduced at intersections with ticketing cameras.
But what is the truth? The Truth About Cars has a nice article about how gaping chasms of lies, half-truths, and skewed results seem to be in every study commissioned by those with a financial stake in these cameras. The Newspaper, whose excellent English coverage of all things traffic camera related is a godsend, has a handy roundup . Plenty of quotable quotes in there, including a couple of studies from researchers in Australia its self, where Redflex is based.
During the last meeting Rosenberg quoted a North Carolina study, attributing it to “a college” and he continued that “you know they are impartial because they have no financial stake in the red light cameras.” This study may or may not be it.
He also referenced the Oxnard, CA study saying that “Fully 80% of residents were pleased with the Red Light Camera Systems and their performance. They called and interviewed 1006 people. I don’t know the population of Oxnard, CA, but I do know that this study has been used for years to sell cities on installing Redflex’s systems. One fairly glaring problem: The study is complete hogwash. Actual independent analysis concluded that: “The Oxnard red light camera study violates many basic principles of sound statistical public health research and lacks internal and external validity,” Florida researchers concluded. “All red light camera investigations should be scrutinized for adherence to applied research methods since studies with greater adherence to quasi-experimental research designs have concluded red light cameras are associated with large increases in crashes and since special interest groups with a financial stake in red light camera use are actively working to influence public opinion and policy.” (quoted from The Newspaper article linked from “Oxnard, CA” above). Which means they paid for the studies, and got the results they were asking for.
Quite damning, isn’t it?
An increase in crashes means an increase in injuries, something that Redflex and the cities partnered with them want you to ignore. This blatant disregard for citizens’ and visiting motorists’ safety is disgusting. All the cities with these crash inducing systems are exposing themselves to ENORMOUS liability. There will be lawsuits when people get spinal or whiplash injuries, especially those that can barely be treated, or leave them paralyzed for life.
Well, we’ve only started our journey into the dark and devious world where Redflex stalks every driver, tickets many of them maliciously and erroneously, and steals as much as it can grab. Follow me down the rabbit hole, and let’s expose these villains for what they are. See you next crime.
Cold and fuming, Navarre – Feb 11th, 2009
Warning! Graphic accident footage. Not for the squeamish, may be NSFW!
The above video was taken at the last informational meeting for the city of Canton, OH’s proposed Redflex Camera Initiative. The pedestrian, which was crossing on a don’t walk signal, was pronounced dead at the scene, but was later revived, so there were no fatalities in this accident.
I attended the first meeting of the four they held in Canton, as well as the last, where I filmed that clip. I had called ahead to make sure I would be allowed to attend the first meeting, especially as I am not a city resident. They are probably regretting allowing me to attend and ask questions by now.
A few things I want to make clear. I acted, probably more than a bit, like an ass at that first meeting. I’d like to sincerely apologize here, and I had already half-apologized to Mayor Healy, and Mr. Rosenberg, the Redflex salesman in the comments from the newspaper article I was quoted in.
Secondly, I do not have any children of my own, the ones I was quoted as being worried about were my brother’s three beautiful kids, that love to hang out with their “Uncle Nick,” and also enjoy riding in the ‘way-back’ jumper seats in my station wagon(s). I will admit that I became more than a little emotional, and I increased my volume to try not to let my voice crack when I yelled that ‘any increased accidents and injuries would be their fault.’
Thirdly, I was utterly negligent in accusing the Redflex representative of his company and employees committing various crimes such as deleting ticket violations for the CEO or other executives. Never happened. The article I read basically stated that ‘Redflex and ACS ticketing systems have the ability to make sure their employees are not issued violations.’ I will be linking these, and many more articles in this blog soon.
I would like to point out that I did attend the final informational meeting at the North Branch of the Stark County Library. At no point did I interrupt the meeting. I didn’t make any speeches, or try to get myself on WEWS Channel 5 News, which was there covering the meeting. I was not permitted to speak, as there were plenty of extremely concerned residents attending, and I fully understand their reluctance to let me do any more damage to their cause, ESPECIALLY since I had thrown around such unfounded allegations before. I may have made some snide comments directed towards the ears of the persons seated around me, but I’m sorry, it’s hard for me to hold my tongue in the face of outright deception.
Well, since then, I’ve done the research I should have completed before the meetings on these systems, and I have no excuses to offer other than laziness, and procrastination, for my previous mistaken allegations. I have found concrete, verifiable problems though, and proof that Redflex blatantly violated State and Federal laws. As any company would be severely remiss not to send Cease & Desist letters to any website or newspaper that reported anything untrue about them, lest their image be irreversibly tarnished, I believe the sources I’ll be using are completely trustworthy, and reporting the full truth of the matters of Red Light Camera Systems.
Now, at the conclusion of this editorial I wrote for TTAC, I stated that I’m starting a petition to put the red light camera issue before the voters. It is due by August 20th of this year (2009), but I hope to file the signatures much earlier than that.
I will be dissecting the arguments made by Canton, and Redflex in this, my personal blog, as well as updating the status on the efforts to get a petition filed so that the voters can decide whether or not they need these types of systems in Canton, OH.
There is also another Canton Red Light Camera Blog. I do not know the gentleman who is currently running that website, but I am glad that others are now giving the issues some of the attentions they deserve.
In the interests of full disclosure, I am going to confess that I, Nicholas Cincinat, have had red light and stop sign “violations” in the past. Each and every one of these was paid for, by me, and while I may have groused about them a little at the time, I admitted my mistakes, and owned up to them. A couple of the violations I have perfectly reasonable excuses for why I absolutely HAD to ‘run the red light,’ and for the rest, I have nothing but explanations. The city of Canton, OH, Redflex, or some pro-camera citizens group may try to use these against me in a smear campaign to try to paint me as a “dangerous driver” or “scofflaw,” so I wanted to get this out there now, for everyone to see that I have nothing to hide. I have only ever been in one accident in the past, which I was not at fault for. Also, even Mr. Rosenberg admitted to having red light or speeding violations in the past so let’s keep things on the real issues which are the Company and the Cameras.
Anyway, I hope that the citizens of Canton Ohio will be permitted to decide this issue, based on the facts, for themselves. Thanks to both of the people who got lost and ended up here for reading this.