Something about the proposal to donate Murietta's red-light camera fines to charity bugs me.
Councilman Rick Gibbs suggested the idea during a meeting two weeks ago, when the council decided to expand the program from three intersections to five. He referred to any money the city made off the cameras as "an irritant," because it fueled complaints that officials were using the cameras to make a quick buck. Mayor Randon Lane confirmed on Friday that the city would pursue the idea and donate any future revenue. Details haven't been worked out yet, but Lane said the money could go to local charities that apply for federal Community Development Block Grant money, which the city council doles out annually.
I don't know if I'm for or against red-light cameras. I see plenty of people running red-lights (most recently an LAPD officer on Figueroa Street in Highland Park who did not have his siren or lights on), and I'm all for a heavy crackdown involving vehicle impoundment, huge fines, public humiliation, and banishment from the realm.
But if the city is going to fine me for a crime, I want that money going toward schools, libraries, sidewalk and pothole repair, the courts, or something municipally related. Not a charity, for which I make separate accomodations in my personal budget.
In other words, the Murietta City Council should have the courage of its convictions.
Meantime, I do like Tom Reece's post on the paper's website in response to the red-light protestors, some of whom say the cameras cause accidents:
The solution is simple: don't run red lights.
(Photo: View of Olympic Blvd. looking west at Union Ave. on a rainy day on February 6, 1975. National Home Loan Co. is at right, as is the Building Industry Center, under construction. A Standard gas station is at left, and there are cars on the street, waiting at the red light. Credit: LA Public Library online photo archive.)