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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Brother is watching and taking your money !

My wife and I have shopped in Red Bank Off and on for years. I remember when Shoney's was there and that breakfast bar hasn't helped my fiqure. You could go to the old Cancun and get a great Mexican meal. I wondered the Isles of the appliance store at the corner of Ashland Terrace and Dayton Blvd several times, picking up repair parts or window shopping for a new range. I really liked their sidewalk and tent sales, but they weren't approved by the City.
See the connection. The three examlpes I gave off the top of my head are gone. But a new attraction has taken hold with a very different effect, Traffic Light ENFORCEMENT Cameras.
On Aug 12, 2009, My wife, Deanna, was traveling north on Dayton Blvd to the intersection where the Camera is installed at Signal Mountain Road. You know, the one where the great Hamburger Resturant used to be. She was in a line of perhaps five cars in the turn lane. It was warm day, Deanna was tired and played follow the leader thru the light. Yes, she did run the light. The car in front of her ran the light. The car in front of him ran the 3 second yellow, and the green Dodge pickup in front of her was in the intersection on a yellow arrow. I am not disputing the fact that yes, she was in the intersection when the red light had came on. Here's my problem.
We recieved her "citation"/Bill on or about 8/30 or so. It had been reviewed by an offiicer and signed by him. Thats the Police Officer job I want, staying in the cool office, drinking coffee, going to lunch at a regular time, and after my day is done, leave at a regular hour and play with the kids momma. Most Police Officers don't have this kinda job but who knows, maybe more in the future.
I studied the ticket, went online and saw the offense in Living color, steaming video on my computer at a website provided on the citation/bill. Next I did something different. Armed with my camcorder, I went to Red Bank. Beginning with Traffic Light 1, I studied and Taped each light. I recorded duration times, observed traffic patterens and spent almost 3 hours, even about 30 minutes across from the Police Department studying their light. All day no one asked me what are you doing, why are you taping, are you a terrorist with a beard, nothing. But that's another story.
My study after I came home and prepared it on computer yielded very little results, except one. Turn Arrow yellows are set at three seconds. This setting has been critized nationwide by a group headed by from Senator Dick Armey. They contend that the 3 second yellow creates a point of no return, where if you go, you get a ticket, if you stop, you risk a rear end collison, which has been documented,
You can do a Google search on Red Light Cameras and get a boatload of info.
I think I also found in my research the real reason for this, as in all things, Money. The City of Gallatin Tn put in Red Light Cameras. Their annual revenue from violations at lights and such was around $ 100 K. Well, after the installation in an effort to reduce injuries, in the public interest, their income last year was over $ 1,000,000, yeah 1 Million Dollars. But remember, it is for your own good, never to pad the coffers of city government. .
I examined one of the agreements that the companies have with these cities. It was on a sliding scale. The first year, the co gets say 62%, the next 58%, the next 52, you get the picture, and that from each citation/bill. And since these citation/bills don't go on your driving record, most people just go ahead and pay it.
If everyone benefited from this enforcement i.e. no one runs lights anymore, the company would go broke. They know this is not to happen. Can anyone believe Gallatin wants everyone to obey the law, I'll bet you a $ 1,000,000 not.
Some states have ruled these systems unconstitutional, since you can't question a camera. Like I said in my opening, I can not find a real valid reason to go to Red Bank anymore. I can find everything they have somewhere else, even Darr's Shooting Supplies is gone, ( oops, I own a gun ).
Redbankistan citizens will have to endure. But remember, those good looking Dodge Charger Patrol Cars had to be bought with something. I have talked to several people who have gotten these tickets, they did not object, go to court, anything, they just Obeyed. They thought it was great it wasn't going on their DL record, it's only $ 50.00
Mitchell Thurmer
Signal Mountain

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