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Community Comment

Tue., Sept. 30, 2008, 9:29 p.m.

The Red Light Cameras are coming…

Good evening, Netizens...

As most of you know by now, the City of Spokane is in the final stages of installing Red Light Cameras designed to capture pictures of miscreants running red lights. This complex system is not without its detractors however, based upon our irreverent view of Red Light Cameras.

You begin to suspect the Red Light Cameras might not be such a hot idea once the system is functional when:

Spokane Police Cars never get tickets, even when they run red lights without their lights and siren on. That is why we soon will have an Ombudsman, right?

Tickets for City Vehicles, including Garbage Trucks, cruising through a red light do not receive tickets as such. There is a large bin in City Hall, next to Police Chief Kirkpatrick's desk, where all tickets for City Vehicles end up, out of sight, out of mind.

Your 98 year-old grandmother who walks everywhere she goes is mailed a ticket showing her pushing her aluminum shopping cart across Mission and Hamilton after a trip to the Safeway Store.

The STA buses nearly all got tickets the first month for running the red light at Mission and Hamilton. Who yields the right of way to a city bus, after all? After a big tirade from the STA top brass about the number of tickets, bus drivers stopped running the red lights. On the average workday it now takes over two hours for a bus to turn left on Mission from Hamilton during rush hour. This is called progress. At least they do not run red lights anymore, and perhaps they will finally install a badly-needed left-turn signal at the intersection and solve the real problem.

“Turning left off Hamilton onto Mission during rush hour without getting a ticket will soon be more dicey than using an icepick to get stubborn boogers out of your nose,” one angry driver recently observed.

A few other things the cameras caught that were not red light violators were 2 dogs mating in the intersection, 2 panhandlers fighting over prime advertising space on the corner, an empty box of Kellogg's Rice Krispies scudding across the street in the wind and “Happy Hippy” Joe Hill who rides his three-wheel bicycle everywhere in town despite being mostly blind. It does seem that perhaps “Happy Hippy” was running the red light, but he was tailgating an STA bus that preceded him through the intersection, since that was the only thing he could see with his vision limitations.

One fact seems to be certain. People will acquire a newfound delight in flipping off the red light cameras, even if they are not breaking any laws.

What is your solution or observation?


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.