If there were ever an indication of the nature of the St. Pete Red Light Camera program – and the ends to which the people driving it will go to keep this turkey flying – you saw it this past week.
There appeared to be a deliberate attempt to withhold information from the City Council when the fine folks over at Traffic Engineering did not include the intersection crash data in the Council Report.
This latest move follows an unannounced attempt to slip in more red light cameras past City Council.
The whole program just smells. As I have mentioned before, I sat in on some of the early planning meetings with ATS, the Red Light Camera company, and I felt like I needed a shower after they were over.
Joe Kubicki said: "We had no intention to mislead the public." It wasn't the public he was trying to mislead but the eight decision makers he bamboozled.
Kubicki, who has wrapped himself and his department in a warm coat of generating revenue for the City, is the third guy Bill Foster should have fired on his second day in office.
Kubicki smiles, promises more money and the Mayor fawns, City Council drools and away we go.
There is no evidence that red light cameras have made the "streets" safer. They haven't even made the intersections where they are located safer.
A study from USF Public Health Researchers, Take a Closer Look at Red-Light Cameras, indicates red light cameras have little safety value.
They are all about money. Kubicki figured out a long time ago that if you generate enough money in this government you can get the leaders to do just about anything.
And he is right.
Put a guy like him with a company like ATS and you get a woeful attempt to mislead the City Council. A program where the big losers are the citizens and the City is on the very short end of the revenue stick.
If I were a Council member what would anger me even more than the red light lies is the fact that they think the Council is dumb enough to pull these tricks and get away with it.
It is time to end this thing right now.
It is time to face the facts, City Council: You are not making this City any safer, and you are costing this City money and jobs, making it less pleasant and less friendly by supporting people who mislead to get your vote.
This year, the program took $3.6 million dollars of discretionary income out of this City, and we got $707,000 back and lost the velocity of money gains on the whole $3.6 million. How many jobs did that cost and what was the real benefit?
You are spending $3.6 million of the citizens' money, getting no significant safety improvement and netting just over $700K in return. If there ever were a bad deal this is it.
Have your say. Be sure to get a petition for the Pier Referendum and complete it properly. Information and schedule of events at Stop The Lens.