Three years ago, before everyone was on to the con of red-light cameras, the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark in partnership with its sister newspapers, Wednesday Journal and Forest Park Review, did a deep dive that made clear these cameras have nothing to do with traffic safety, how rapidly small towns and cities had become fiscally addicted to this grift revenue, and how corrupt the politics of red-light contracts were at their core.
To their credit, Brookfield and Riverside never fell for this scam, though they may have flirted with the siren song of ringing cash registers. Now everyone is on to it.
State legislators and municipal officials are resigning, being indicted, getting raided, lawyering up. The Sun-Times and the Trib are in the chase.
Federal prosecutors are wiring and flipping weasel politicians. And down in Springfield, the dirty town on the prairie, momentum is building to attempt once more to outright ban red-light cameras.
We’re all for it.
Red-light cameras are a scam perpetrated by greedy con men — elected and otherwise — on overtaxed drivers just living their lives. The cameras cannot be justified as an advance in traffic safety.
There are more serious traffic worries than a slightly rolling right turn on red. If the scoundrels behind this technology are so determined to save lives, if the town trustees hooked on $100 fines to pay their underfunded pensions want to argue it is all about safety, then just leave the cameras pointed at bad drivers actively running red lights. That could do some good.
Back in 2006 when the village of Riverside was rewriting its zoning code, officials kicked around the idea of creating a design review committee, to approve how buildings looked before they were built.
They decided against it for a good reason: Government shouldn’t be in charge of architectural design.
So, forgive us if we get a little queasy when elected officials take on the role of tastemakers, in this case for a small addition to Blythe Park School, a local architectural landmark with serious modernist bona fides.
The architect, following best practices, used wood exterior paneling, echoing the interior of the school but avoiding brick to delineate the historic original building from the contemporary addition.
Members of the Riverside Preservation Commission, a group of people with experience in architecture and historic preservation, agreed with the architect on that choice.
The village board, however, kicked the matter back to them last week for clarification on that choice. We suppose there’s no harm in not rushing into judgment, but we hope that the move wasn’t seen as a pressure tactic by the commission and that the village board won’t make a regular habit of second-guessing design choices that have the blessing of people charged with safeguarding the village’s national historic landmark status.
Back in 2006, the village board put the kibosh on a design review committee for good reason. There’s no needr the village board to get into that business on an informal basis.