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Bloviating Zeppelin: YOUR Local Agencies: Coming For YOUR Money

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

YOUR Local Agencies: Coming For YOUR Money

My consistent readers know that there's one aspect of me that I don't hide; I'm a peace officer for a major Left Coast agency in Fornicalia. Let's pause right there for a moment. Why do I call my state Fornicalia? Because my state essentially manages to screw over its taxpayers and then disseminate its scat about the rest of the outlying states.

With that in mind, I'll make my point directly up front: beware. All of your local agencies, utilities, governments, are looking to make up their budget deficits on the back of YOU, the local citizen, the local taxpayer.

Trust me, your local police department has had meetings about bringing up the number of citations issued. Your local electric generation utility has had meetings about ways to increase their revenue and increase your bill. Your local recreation or park district has had meetings about increasing fees. All would like to be able to pass blanket levies and taxes. Their blockade is the average taxpayer. Absent ballots where taxpayers actually get to vote, the only venues left are fees and rates.

For example, let's review your local police department.

The area where I work -- and not where I live -- is peppered with red light cameras. These are high-population areas with like high-density traffic. The unincorporated area has a smattering of red light cameras. The outlying and much smaller newly-incorated cities are rife with red light cameras. The justification for red light cameras is nothing more than "safety."

"These cameras will enhance safety!" bleat the local jurisdictions. Well, except for the fact that they haven't. They have, however, done one thing rather icily and stentorily: increase revenue.

Let me break things down to their basics: red light cameras are a scam. Their purpose is to be a money-making scheme for the applying agency and government. They cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase and install. The installing company historically GETS A CUT OF THE REVENUE. So, do you suspect they have an uninfluenced reason to trot their product out to as many police departments as possible?

This is the proverbial WIN/WIN situation for the installing company and the local government. Local revenues increase due to, ostensibly, "unimpeachable" red light camera photos. The contractor gets a percentile of this revenue.

With this dirty little secret: in many jurisdictions -- and you can't PROVE this because no one possesses the prior requisite statistics and timings -- the yellow aspect of many of these camera-monitored intersections has been purposely shortened by one second or more.

Okay: so PROVE that. You can't.

If these agencies really wanted to improve safety at intersections, all they'd have to do is hit the utility boxes at designated intersections and INCREASE the yellow aspect by a second. Or perhaps two. That would cost nothing more than generating a "work ticket" for a local utility work truck and operator.

Red light cameras and "speed cameras" are a scam. They exist solely to generate revenue. This is where the Libertarian in me comes out. And, as I mentioned above, I predicate this post and this opinion upon the fact that I am a cop. Red light cameras disgust me. Speed cameras disgust me. They are an abomination. They gut the ethics that exist in me. The local population associates red light cameras and their concomitant technology with the local cops. They associate the cameras with "cheating" and the local cops, therefore, with "cheating." They cheapen and reduce the perceived authority and authenticity of your local police officers.

They reduce respect for authority in general -- and rightly so. Because these techno pieces of crap completely de-humanize law enforcement. People can contest other people and feel as though they can actually have an opinion and a demand and are invested, at least a bit, in the governmental system. With technology, they are run by robots.

If I weren't a cop, and if I didn't have any ethics within me, I'd completely advocate for the long distance sniping of every red light camera and speed camera in existence. But, of course, I couldn't advocate for that.

What brought, by the way, this post to the foreground of my mind? Why, that would be my most recent ocean vacation in May. I noted that the police presence in this coastal city of roughly 8,000 increased geometically since my last visit -- and that those officers were making vehicle stop after vehicle stop after vehicle stop. I've been consistently visiting this coastal town for the past five years and, never before, have I seen its officers conducting so many vehicle stops. Click on the photo above to see the agency involved.

I should care to point out these were not simply calls for service where you see a unit parked in front of somebody's house and the citizens talking on the lawn. No. These were only vehicle stops. Their originating source was a violation of some perceived vehicle code section. I had one of these officers follow me for a number of blocks during my vacation, but I was aware. I drove like I was taking a DMV test.

That department was doing nothing much more than attempting to increase its governmental revenue through traffic citations.

Here is an elderly woman in the state of Washington whose water bill increased from $30 per month to $1,181. The water authority insists she must pay the bill.

Be forewarned, people. You think the fed poses a great threat?

No. It doesn't stop there. Beware your LOCAL governments. They are scrambling for cash.

Add the "i". Governments don't run -- they ruin.



Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

Hey BZ:
Thanks for your candor. You know you are one of the few cops that I truly care about. I generally don't like cops and just a few months ago one pulled me over for speeding and he pulled a gun on me. I begged him to put his gun away because my baby was in the car. He was a total asshole. In Modesto, I used to drive around with my brother and the cops straight up harassed him.

With all of that said, the red light cameras violate our Constitutional rights in so many ways it isn't funny. I also read a legal document that said that when you get a notice from the red light camera company you can discard it because they have no legal authority but as soon as you sign your name and admit guilt then you've screwed yourself.

I don't know if thats true but hopefully there is a way to legally get around that issue.

The truth is that our economy was built on a house of cards and is doomed to fail UNLESS we radically change how we do business.

The government has morphed into a big revenue collector and for no good reason. Half the buearocratic jobs don't even need to exist.

With that said I think the key to fixing our economy would be to fire at least 70% of the CA state bureaucratic workers, then completely computerize these positions. There is no need for paper shufflers with the technology available today. I also feel that the only necessary state workers are fireman, police and teachers. When I think of all the other state jobs and so forth, there is no need for them to exist.

Granted, I'm off topic here but good post:)

Sat Jun 20, 01:29:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Okay, I have to ask: why the gun pulled on you?


Sat Jun 20, 05:56:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rivka said...

I agree with this-that it is wrong.

On a side note, I happen to be a cop supporter for many different reasons. Just like I am in regard to our men in the military.

I have noticed in Kansas that they are stepping up on pulling people over and hanging out on the highways. Also I have noticed more cameras at stop lights. I think it is going to really stink when locally we have to pay more regarding electricity, not to mention when Cap and Trade is passed.

Sat Jun 20, 06:35:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous WMD_Maker said...

I have always viewed red light cameras as unconstitutional since they presuppose an illegal activity. To me the "drunk stop" roadblocks are also unconstitutional. Here in Texas the legislature ruled against red light cameras and ordered them shut down. Within a week they reversed themselves and said that there cant be any new "inquiries" into using them. Meaning that if they are up or your city is in the process of getting them its ok. I suppose it also means that if you just put them up without a study its ok too.

Sat Jun 20, 07:10:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Carlisleboy said...

Well, at the risk of being called "racist" I will say "monkey see, monkey do". the State and Locals are just now acting like the Feds have been for years. Wipeing their asses with the Constitution to fatten their wallets.
Pure Scum.
Much like the comment from the Adbot before me. Can you report these my 5 year blogging Friend?

Sat Jun 20, 03:42:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

When he pulled me over, I immediately pulled over to the side of the road when I could. I was on Hwy 132. When he approached the car, my dog began to bark at him. He pulled the gun on me and threatened to shoot my dog. He said this: "Maam set that dog down or so help me God I will shoot it."

I started crying and asked him to put the gun away. I said this: "Officer please put the gun away. My dog is protective because my baby is in the car. I will not let her harm you and if you wait a second I will secure her." He kept the gun on me and ordered me out of my car. I PLEADED with this asshole because my baby would be left alone in the car with the dog who was already agitated. I said: "Officer, please my baby is in the car. Please let me get my baby." He refused and ordered me out of the car and proceeded to tell me that he was afraid of dogs and that I should not have my dog in the car without being secured because if there is an emergency they will shoot her.

He also asked me why I was speeding and I told him that I was having trouble breathing and needed to take my inhaler in addition to having a panic attack. He was the most unsympathetic asshole cop I've ever known.

OK I can understand his advice but his conduct was reprehensible and if I could have, BZ I would have caused him bodily harm. He was a total asshole, especially ordering me out the car when my baby would be left attended.

I truly hate this man. I truly hope he lives a miserable rest of life and that afterwards he rots in hell.

He was an authoritarian asshole for whom I have zero respect.

I don't have a problem with an officer pulling me over for a perceived infraction and I don't have a problem cooperating. But there was no need; no probable cause for him to behave in that manner.

Once I told him my baby was in the car, he should have allowed me to attend to my baby. After all, he only accused me of speeding and nothing more.

Fuck that dude. I really mean it.

Sat Jun 20, 04:58:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Mr Adbot just got deleted.


Sat Jun 20, 05:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Mahndisa: what department did that officer represent? CHP? Local police? Sheriff?


Sat Jun 20, 05:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

CHP BZ. I know I was shooting off at the mouth, but sometimes when I am driving I get panic attacks for fear a cop will pull a gun on me. This has truly caused some difficulties in my personal affairs and coupled to other stresses is part of a toxic brew of never ending issues! Don't mean to muddy your doorstep.

Sun Jun 21, 02:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Trust me, your local police department has had meetings about bringing up the number of citations issued.

So I've recently found out here in Northern Virginia.

I feel almost as if I'm living in a police state when I'm driving. Every little thing is being watched, and units are everywhere.

Sun Jun 21, 05:42:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

The Virginia reacton to radar detectors is a perfect illustration of what you say. If traffic radar were intended to save lives rather than raise money, the states would like radar detectors because any time it signals that you are on radar you slow down (making things safer). They would rather you maintain illegal speed until you are pulled over (raise revenue). Downright scary. Mahndisa, this is the second or third time I have heard a story like your cop, his gun, and your dog. Iiick)

Sun Jun 21, 10:59:00 AM PDT  
Blogger shoprat said...

I don't know how much more they're doing here but I started getting concerned and am driving closer to the limit now.

Sun Jun 21, 09:07:00 PM PDT  

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