Ditch the cameras
Regarding “Put the Brakes on Red Light Cameras” by Joe Henderson (Metro, Dec. 14): Joe Henderson’s column is right on the mark. The intent of red-light cameras is to enhance safety by protecting innocent people from harm. Unfortunately that purpose has been superseded by the ability to generate revenue. In August I experienced this by being issued a violation for entering a Clearwater intersection 0.14 seconds after the light turned red at a speed of 29 mph in the 30 mph zone. It is my understanding that the city knew the state was in the process of revising the yellow light timing by adding to the amount of time, but the administrator still approved my fine. The people overseeing these programs need to act in the interest of safety, not in the interest of issuing fines to generate cash. Yes, it is time to ditch the cameras until a better system can be implemented.
After reading columnist Joe Henderson’s harrowing experience, along with his indictment of the red-light cameras in Temple Terrace, I could almost feel his pain, and it nearly brought a tear to my eye. And if you believe that, I have a Major League Baseball franchise in Tampa Bay to sell you dirt cheap.
Come on Joe, give me a break! At your age, you should know the rules of the road. I will agree on one of your points: there are flaws in the system and the sheer thought of getting a $158 traffic ticket makes me ill. But when it comes to running a red light, I stand totally behind the cameras. I must admit, and not proudly, that I have done it myself. However, knowing that the cameras now exist actually keeps me from making that potentially tragic mistake. That said, if I were to run another red light I’d gladly pay the fine and hope to God I don’t injure someone.
Say it ain’t so
Tribune columnist Joe Henderson is certainly not speaking for many of us as he requests the Legislature to put the brakes on red-light cameras. The cameras stop people from exploiting the red-arrow turns, reduce collisions — and replace T-bone crashes with great potential for injury with a few rear-end fender-benders. I think the trade-off is very worthwhile and support some legislative review to avoid the “just-for-profit” incentives and allegations. But please don’t throw out the law because you dislike the way it is being implemented. To advocate for a return to what we had and not take advantage of the technology available to us for safety’s sake is illogical, and I’m surprised Henderson wrote this column. C’mon, Joe, say it ain’t so.
William L. Gross
Keep the cameras
One major reason to support the cameras is a report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety finding a 56 percent drop in crashes at intersections where cameras are in use. Some opponents claim the number of rear-end crashes increase with the use of cameras. Probably true, but if drivers slow when approaching an intersection rather than barging through, hoping to beat the red light, there would be fewer accidents. There would be fewer irate drivers following too close behind when you decide to stop on the yellow, as in Henderson’s case.
I agree the $158 fine is excessive. If the fine were reduced to $25 or $50, it would be more acceptable to the public and refute claims that the cameras are for the sole purpose of generating revenue. Henderson concludes with the statement: “I don’t think there’s any way to fix this system. Ditch the cameras.” Such a defeatist attitude. If a few intelligent legislators would put their minds to it, a good program can be made better, and possibly a few lives can be saved.
Carl D. Brannan, M.D.
Change gun laws
When will our lawmakers come to their senses and stop the unnecessary bloodshed? Will we have to wait until it is one of their children who are affected? Schools used to be safe havens for our teachers and our children.
Will we have to constantly look over our shoulders and wonder if we will get to see our families again because of the laxity of the gun regulations? Enough is enough. Our gun laws must change now.
In response to the Festivus pole being displayed in Tallahassee: First, is the pole in violation of the open container law? The constitution says the government will not impose a (singular) religion on the people and that everyone is free to worship their religion. That’s why we have the manger to remind us that Christ is the reason for the season. He was born and died for the sins of all men. Beer cans are only for the consumption of the individual who drank them. Being a biker, I have a patch that says “eternity is too long to be wrong,” So I say let the gentlemen worship his beer pole. I only wish he’d picked a better beer than Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Raymond Paul Guglielmini
Support medical pot
Thank God the medical marijuana amendment is happening and people will finally get to decide on this very important issue. Twenty-one states have legalized medical pot as a way to relieve various chronic pain conditions and debilitating diseases. I have suffered for many years from chronic knee and lower back pain. This plant helps with all kinds of medical uses and is far less harmful than alcohol or narcotic pain medication.