Last week Landmark reported Riverside’s consideration of new revenue-raising via red light cameras. Landmark’s article notes the camera company will receive 40 percent from each ticket, which caused red-light camera programs (like this one) to be criticized as a “[M]unicipal money grab … [with] little impact on overall safety.”

The article contained no justification other than this: “Red-light cameras have proliferated … with some municipalities reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars.”  Tellingly, the article does not discuss a need for “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and the trustees quoted never address this.

Landmark’s article further explains the source of fines: “Right-turns on red account for 90 percent … of violations … [when] … police determine [the driver] has not stopped long enough.” 

That is it? Sloppy right-turns? Sloppy right turns – without a demonstrated increase in safety — is no justification for turning local government into a traffic-ticket creditor via an unblinking 24-hour eye regarding a non-public safety issue. 

If money is needed for a valid purpose, let’s have that discussion in the ordinary course of municipal business. The loss of public support for government function will increase as our village demands “a cut” from its own residents via police power for a “problem” that no one identified. 

Michael J. Maher