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Photo-red viewed through different lens

Ignoring the public’s wishes (as always), Spokane leaders are forging ahead with their revenue-raising scheme to install candid cameras at three of the city’s busiest intersections.

Because of this development, today’s column has been given to America’s traffic expert Captain Gridlock, who will answer your photo-red and other transportation questions.

Q: Capt. Gridlock, do these spy cams have any constitutional implications?

Capt. Gridlock: Do they ever! The photo-dread system violates one of Spokane’s most sacred rights.

Q: The right to privacy?

Capt. Gridlock: Hey, that’s a good one, too. No, I’m referring to a Spokane driver’s right to blow through red lights.

Q: Spokaloo does have a lot of red light runners, doesn’t it?

Capt. Gridlock: Next to crossing double yellow lines, yakking on cell phones and not signaling, running red lights is our number one motorist malfunction.

Q: Man, that’s some horrible driving.

Capt. Gridlock: Yes. And that’s just the cops. Civilian drivers are even worse.

Q: Is there a safe way to avoid a red light runner?

Capt. Gridlock: When approaching a yellow light, a driver should always slow down, look both ways and flash the headlights in the international Morse Code “S-O-S” pattern.

Q: Anything else?

Capt. Gridlock: Leaning your head out the window and screaming “COMING THROUGHHHHH!!!” can’t hurt, either.

Q: How much money do city officials expect to rake in from their photo-red scam?

Capt. Gridlock: About $190,000 a year. But the city will make a lot more if we get lucky.

Q: Lucky?

Capt. Gridlock: Yeah. Say a famous politician or celebrity is out cruising with his mistress and gets photographed at one of our camera-equipped intersections.

Q: Are you talking about blackmail?

Capt. Gridlock: Of course not. That’s illegal. I’m talking about a bidding war for the photo between Fox News and the National Enquirer.

Q: Changing the subject, I see the Maple Street Bridge is finally up and running again. Boy, that project sure took awhile, didn’t it?

Capt. Gridlock: Only the Great Pyramids took longer. And they built those without the benefit of modern construction conveniences like flaggers, union bribes or portable toilets.

Q: So what made the Maple and Ash makeover drag on so long?

Capt. Gridlock: Improper permits. Unearthing human remains. And, of course, that embarrassing screw-up that happened halfway into the project.

Q: What embarrassing screw-up was that?

Capt. Gridlock: The project foreman realized he was tearing up Monroe instead of Maple.

Q: Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will be at Boone and Ash today at 1 p.m. to celebrate the reconstruction. Do they expect a big crowd?

Capt. Gridlock: Naw. While it’s true that Maple and Ash are decent, the rest of Spokane streets are so potholed and crappy that it’s still almost impossible to drive anywhere.

Q: Some things never change, huh?

Capt. Gridlock: Nope. But hopefully a few pedestrians will show up.

Q: Speaking of pedestrians, did you see that story the other day about Mayor Verner and the silly goose?

Capt. Gridlock: Councilman Bob Apple?

Q: No. I mean a real goose.

Capt. Gridlock: Oh, yeah. You’re talking about that Canada goose the mayor and City Administrator Ted Danek found wandering into Spokane Falls Boulevard traffic one night.

Q: Yes. The story said that Verner and Danek were able to herd the goose safely toward Riverfront Park and the Spokane River. But what happened after that?

Capt. Gridlock: It was a very happy ending.

Q: Really?

Capt. Gridlock: Yes. Some indigent people who have been living in the park ever since officials closed down the Tent City took care of the goose.

Q: Oh, that’s so nice.

Capt. Gridlock: It sure was. In fact, they said it was delicious.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or dougc@spokesman.com.

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