For drivers, bring up the word ‘traffic enforcement cameras’ and one issure to get a lot of sometimes very heated opinions. Safety promoting tool or cash cow for cash-strapped cities? That’s the question most commonly addressed with the robo cops that seek to catch red light runners and/or speeders. Well, in East Cleveland, the people, angry citizens got enough signatures to put the issue of removing the traffic cams on the ballot this November.
For East Cleveland’s government, this referendum on the cameras proposes a sticky issue.
On one hand, the government has to respect the rights of the people. After all, this is America and America is a democracy. So, in keeping with our democratic tradition, governments have a duty to ensure that voters, when they do go to the polls, have all the materials at hand in order to make the best, educated decision possible.
On the other hand, even East Cleveland councilman Nathanial Martin admits that removing the cameras will have major financial implications for an already cash-strapped city. Speaking to Fox 8 News, Martin said that the city owes over $1 million on the cameras to the company that installed them a few years ago.
In addition to owing the camera installation company cash, East Cleveland mayor Gary Norton said that the cameras’ removal could adversely impact the safety services provided by the city, though specific implications of how this would happen (outside of less traffic enforcement) were not given.
For the people, though, this is not a question about revenue or city services, but one of government intruding into the lives of ordinary people when it should not be doing so, a case of Big Brother sticking his nose where it is not needed, or wanted. Another complaint: the cameras criminalize ordinary people for victimless crimes that do not hurt anything. After all, even if some one speeds or blows through a light just after t turns red without causing an accident, is it really such a big deal? In addition, money used to pay fines could also go into the local economy, not city coffers.
In the end, come the day after elections, the public’s true opinion of the cams will be known.
For more info:
Fox 8 News
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