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Red Light, Green Light, Cough up the Cash

Are government programs designed to make us safer or are they really just more ways to part taxpayers from their money?

Today I am on fire! Absolute fire! And not a good fire! Its not often that I get on an I hate the government rant, and when I do get on it, I usually have good reason. I try to believe that our public servants genuinely got into public service because they had a desire to make the world a better place. I do try to believe that. So what happened you ask?

Well, last weekend was the big Saint Anthony’s/Chaminade game. It’s a rivalry that equals the NY Jets/Miami or even better lately, NY Jets and that nasty team from New England. But there I go rambling. Anyway, my beautiful daughter goes to Saint Anthony’s and my gorgeous nephew plays for Chaminade. It was a day we were looking forward to.

We went. We enjoyed the game. That should have been the end of the story until the next big game. But it wasn’t.

A few days later a letter came in the mail from Nassau County. It seems that when I made a turn on red at the corner of Glen Cove Road and Jericho Turnpike, I didn’t come to a complete stop. Yes, turning on red is legal there. Watching the video you can see me stopped behind the car in front of me who is stopped at the red light. That car had a clear turn onto Jericho and I watched as that car turned and saw no traffic anywhere in sight and slowly moved up, looked again, and turned. And that will now cost me money.

Mind you, I’m a good driver. At 44, I have not been pulled over since my very early 20’s. I don’t get into car accidents. I don’t’ suffer from road rage. Ok,so I may on occasion call another driver a nasty name, but they never hear me and I certainly don’t chase them down to be sure they know they’ve provoked a response from me. Basically, I’m your average person going about my business, driving safely. And I’ll add, I had kids in the car which I take seriously.

The most I’ve ever gotten were NYC parking tickets and not even for parking illegally but for stopping to read the eight signs posted for one spot that are impossible to understand. While stopped and reading, that vile creature known as a Brownie, or Traffic Agent, the lowest form of humanity, in my opinion, came over and rather than respond to my request for help figuring out the sign, scanned my windshield, produced a ticket, and went off on her merry way. Vile.

The red light program was designed to address a safety issue. It was meant to catch the idiots that blow red lights at intersections creating a hazard for other drivers. It wasn’t meant to catch the drivers who carefully look before making that legal right on red.

It certainly wasn’t meant to suck the taxpayers dry. Or was it? Now I could get into the whole Big Brother thing and how this is an invasion of our privacy and goes against the Constitution, but I won’t. I could also get into how originally the red light camera funds were supposed to support the now defunct Youth Board and the youth programs of Nassau County. I won’t go there either.

Where I will go is wondering what our local government is thinking. Times are tough on Long Island. We are in a great economic crisis. Residents are suffocating from high taxes. I know a couple who was unable to sell their home because nobody wanted to buy a home that came with $29,000 taxes. The county is forcing that couple into financial ruin. Is that what we want to do with the red light cameras?

If there were a way of fighting them, I would maybe complain less, but you can’t even fight them. I don’t’ get my day in court. I don’t get to talk to a judge and ask him to weigh the circumstances. No, I just get a nice notice telling me if I don’t pay by a certain date, fines and penalties will be incurred. Way to go Nassau County government. You’ve now figured out another way to really stick it to the people already struggling to make it here.

I made a legal right turn on red. There was no oncoming traffic for miles. I was able to see that while stopped and while inching up to make my turn. Yes, I am seeing red!

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Rob October 11, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Kristen, you did not come to a complete stop before the turn therfore you broke the law. It may have been safe to turn but the law is the law. Who are we to decide what laws to follow and which ones not to. Yes, the cameras are to raise money and anyone who believes it is for safty is kidding themselves. We all know where the cameras are so we drive different approcahing them, so I guess in way it does make it a little safer too. Your just mad that you got caught!
ed October 11, 2012 at 09:28 PM
It has nothing to do with safety...its all about #1 Revenue for the county #2 Revenue for the private company maintaining the lights #3 creating a county wide grid of cameras to watch us 24/7
Kristen Ferrari October 11, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Rob, I was stopped at the light as there was a car stopped in front of me. That car turned and I moved up. As I did, I saw it was completely clear. I don't go about my day deciding which laws to follow and which to break. I am human and don't make claims that I'm perfect so if I get caught doing something I will fess up. It was my understanding, probably incorrect, that those lights were not going to be used for rights on red.Right on red was allowed at that intersection and it is disgusting that I would receive a ticket after being stopped and then inching up to make the turn. It was hardly a safety issue nor was it a disregard for traffic laws. You're right about one thing. I am mad.
Kristen Ferrari October 11, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Cathy, Your situation is what is so frustrating. All that they're doing is fleecing people who are working to survive here on Long Island. They're creating a danger in the process. Tell me how people who commit major traffic infractions can show up in court, plea their ticket down to no points and lesser fines and drivers who get hit with these red light tickets don't have any recourse. Its unfair and hurting our citizens, not saving them.
Jack coyote October 14, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Whenever the government says its for your safety or for your own good, hang on to your wallets.

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