Red Light, Green Light

The other day I was slowing for a yellow light at an intersection.  Just as the light turned red I came to a stop and  a car in back of me laid on the horn.  I looked in the rear view mirror to see a red-faced guy gesturing at me and the very red light as if to say:  “You shoulda gone, we could have made it.”  

Red Light Camera

Putting aside the fact that he would most certainly have run a red light and that he was a jerk, it reminded me of the pending vote on red light cameras in Mukilteo.  Tim Ey (Not you) Man has proposed that the red light camera ordinance be put to a citizen vote.  In his words:  “This is not about safety, it’s about creating revenues for the city.” 

Well, let’s count the ways Ey (Not you) Man is wrong. 

1.  It is about safety.  A lot of accidents occur when people feel they MUST run that red light to get somewhere one minute sooner.  Since police can’t be at every intersection, voila, red light cameras.  What a concept: fining people for breaking the law.  Imagine that.

2.  It absolutely puts money into city coffers and that is a very good thing.    I’m sure you have read about all the revenue shortfalls of virtually every entity of government.  From the DOL to teacher layoffs to government office furloughs to reduction of police and fire employees.  So, why would we not generate money for cities from people breaking the law? 

3.  Of course there is a simple solution: don’t run the red light.  I would guess that the times I have run a red light in my life have saved me a total of about 20 minutes.  That is precious time that I could have spent eating more, drinking more, sleeping more and yes, driving more.   

Look, I’m just as concerned as the next person about all the government spending.  It’s pretty scary when you see the growing debt.  But even more scary is the declining tax revenues that are causing big budget cuts everywhere.  

I think red light cameras are a smart way to generate some badly needed revenues for cities.  If you agree, then drive on over to Tim’s house and let him know.  Just don’t run a red light.


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