Mario Burgos

Clear thinking and straight talk from the top of a mountain.

Monday, June 25, 2007

If Safety Really Was Priority Number One

A lot of discussion has occurred on the web and elsewhere about Mayor Martin Chavez's money-making machine (AKA the red-light cameras). The Mayor's story is that it's all about safety, and he is sticking to it. But reports like this kind of make you wonder:
Red light cameras and speed cameras have failed to reduce offenses committed by the drivers of school buses in Albuquerque, New Mexico. City officials insisted when the devices were installed in 2005 that their only purpose was to reduce driving violations, but drivers working on behalf of the city continue to be photographed.

Last year, six bus drivers sued the city for automatically finding them guilty of red light camera violations without offering them an opportunity to challenge the evidence.

This year, KOB-TV documented at least fifty examples of red light and speed camera citations that were mailed to the sixteen private companies that operate school buses on behalf of Albuquerque. The highest speeds alleged were between nine and ten MPH over the limit and a number of the claimed red light violations involved turning right on red.

The city makes each school bus company responsible for paying the fine.
If the city's primary concern was safety, don't you think they would terminate contracts with these school bus companies instead of just making them pay the fine? I'm just wondering.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

More to Come

I just got back into town last night after spending three days in Atlanta with a client at the Waste Expo. I've got a bunch of mail to go through including three envelopes from the DOJ regarding my FOIA request, and a City of Albuquerque Notice of Violation Fixed Speed - looks like I'll be able to take an inside look at how this new money making scheme works.

Unfortunately, I've got a meeting packed morning, so I'll have to wait until tonight to write in detail about these and other topics. Make sure to come back and visit before you got to bed.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's MY Cash Cow, Get Your Own

It looks like the truth is finally out regarding the red light cameras. Many believe that the red light cameras are nothing more than a money printing machine for the City of Albuquerque. Yet, the Mayor has often defended them as important to public safety. That is until the state government decided they wanted a piece of the action (subscription):
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez said Tuesday that he'll pull the plug on the city's traffic camera enforcement program if legislators pass a law requiring the city to share some of its fees with the state.

Senate Bill 780, unanimously approved by the Senate last week, would require the city to give the state $74 for every citation issued by the traffic camera program.

"This bill is a program killer," Chávez said. "This is very unfortunate. The state's largest city comes up with an innovative program to improve public safety, and the legislators just see green."
You tell me. Who is seeing green? Mayor Chavez wants to be Governor. You've got to be kidding. Yet again, Mayor Marty demonstrates that his primary concern is increasing the city budget anyway that he can. Any argument that public safety is his number one concern just went speeding by.

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