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Houston Red Light Camera Ban Rejected In Federal Court—Let’s Accept The Voter’s Will With Both The Red Light Cameras And The Storm Water Fee

A federal judge has ruled that the  successful ballot issue that prohibited the City of Houston’s use of red light cameras is invalid.

(Above–A red light in Houston.) 

From the Houston Chronicle—

“U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled the city can not reverse an ordinance except by a referendum of voters held within 30 days of the passage of the ordinance. Opponents to the red light camera ordinance, which passed in 2004, mounted the last year challenge as an amendment to the city charter but Hughes said it was essentially the same thing. “Presented with this mislabeling, the council supinely ignored — over voices of some of its members — their responsibility and put the proposition to the voters,’’ Hughes ruled.”

This type of mob rule outside the process of the law reminds me of the classic book and movie about a lynch mob called The Ox Bow Incident. 

Though in this case the lynch mob took six years to form since the red light cameras were installed in Houston.

I suppose that is as clever as you can expect a lynch mob to be.

It is clear enough that the public rejected red light cameras. These cameras were on the ballot in November of 2010. The people of Houston voted by a margin of 53%-47% to get rid of the cameras.

While the ruling of the court must be respected, the City of Houston should defer to the decision at the ballot box. Mayor Annise Parker says she is considering many options about what the city should do after this ruling.

I say this as someone who very much supported the red light cameras. I believe they save lives.

(Below–Grim Reaper. Drawing by MesserWoland. )


At the same time, if we are going to go by the decision of the public about red light cameras, let us also respect the decision of the public at the ballot box about the new storm water fee.

The storm water fee was passed the same day the red light camera ban passed.

Some are now upset that the fee will be more than was claimed during the campaign. Though, since folks who backed the storm water fee want to do the right thing—if only for politcal purposes—the assessment has now been lowered.

Instead of the ceaseless harping about a fee that will help Houston deal with the serious flooding problem, let us just accept what the people decided on Election Day 2010 and move on to the next fight.

( Top Texas blogger Charles Kuffner has also written about this ruling.)  

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Red Light Cameras Turned Off In Houston—Let The Killing Begin!

Because the public has spoken, all red light cameras are being turned off in Houston.

As we allow our smart phones and personal computers to  track us for the good of commerce, we surely can’t allow government to know when we were running a red light at a Houston intersection.

Anybody who drives in Houston knows our roads are filled with crazies.

Now, because we as a community lack the character to obey the law and to conduct ourselves with others in mind, the carnage will get that much worse.

And just to make certain you’ll die if you’re not killed in the accident, we here in Texas will work to repeal Health Care Reform and to pull Texas out of Medicaid.

Pro-life all the way!!!!!

(Read here about all the ways Health Care Reform helps average working people. Do you want to go back to lifetime limits on policies and to when you could be kicked off your policy for getting sick?)

Let the killing begin!!!!!

(Below–The Grim Reaper will be making some extra stops in Houston. Drawing by MesserWoland. )

November 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas Liberal Endorsements For 2010 In Houston, Harris County & Texas

(Blogger’s Note—With Election Day tomorrow, I’m rerunning this post from last week.)

Here is the Texas Liberal endorsement post for the 2010 general election.

(Above–The red is the City of Houston within Harris County, Texas.  In the upper right is Harris County in Texas.)

Where possible, I am voting the straight Democratic ticket.

In the case of the office of the State Comptroller, I am voting for Green candidate Edward Lindsay. There is no Democrat in this race. If the Green gets 5% in this race, then Greens get automatic ballot access in Texas in 2012. I want the option of Green Candidates on the ballot.  Texans merit a choice that will consistently advocate for social justice and fair play. Hopefully the Greens can grow into this role in cases where Democrats let voters down.

(Blogger’s Note —I voted for Mr. Lindsay in early voting. Since that time, Mr. Lindsay’s ability to hold the office has come into question. You’ll have to figure out for yourself what course is best in this matter. It is a frustrating situation.)

I am voting Yes on Houston Proposition 1 in favor of the job-creating Renew Houston. This issue will help address our flooding problems in Houston.

I am voting Yes on Houston Proposition 2. This issue will help manage the Houston City Council redistricting process more fairly for incumbents not sure where their new district lines are drawn.

I am voting Yes on Houston Proposition 3. A yes vote in on Issue 3 will help save lives on our already dangerous streets by keeping our red light cameras.

I’m not voting the Democratic ticket with a full measure of enthusiasm. I’ve lived in a city everyday of my 43 years. Democrats sometimes take advantage  of the loyal support of urban voters and offer little in return. It is really little different from how Republicans take the majority of rural votes in our nation, yet at the same time offer few solutions to the many problems of rural America.

While I do believe that former Houston Mayor Bill White will be a much better Governor than the incumbent, I’m disappointed that he has not put forth a vision that includes all Texans. We live in what is many ways a poor state. Yet the poor frequently seem shunned by the modern Democratic Party. Continue reading

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Houston Mayor Annise Parker Supports Renew Houston And Red Light Cameras—She Asks That You Please Do The Same

Houston Mayor Annise Parker recently discussed the various City of Houston ballot propositions in a conference telephone call with local political bloggers.

Here is Kraftwerk’s video The Telephone Call. It’s a classic.

(Below–A video snippet from Kraftwerk’s The Telephone Call.)

I don’t have any verbatim quotes from the Mayor’s call because I was knitting during the call instead of taking notes.

Please don’t tell the Mayor because she won’t approve, but knitted graffiti is all the rage. See below–

(Photo by Noah Sussman)

Don’t worry though, the essence of the Mayor’s words are clear in my mind to the extent that anything is clear in my mind.

There are three issues on the Houston ballot in 2010. Mayor Parker favors all three of these issues. See encourages all her supporters and all people of Houston to vote for these issues.

Proposition One is the so-called Renew Houston initiative.  This issue will levy a fee on property owners that will go to a dedicated fund that will be used to address wastewater removal and flooding in Houston.

Mayor Parker says that this initiative will use the funds it raises for only the stated purpose of curbing flooding in our city, and that she is aware of no other solution that has been proposed for this longtime problem.

She says that everybody has to pay up for this, because once exemptions are granted to one group of people or one type of property, then others will want an exemption.

Where would the pleas for exemptions end?

Again—I’m giving you the essence of the Mayor’s remarks because I was baking a pie during the call instead of taking notes.

Proposition Two on our ballot is so tedious to describe that someone is going to have to slap me across the face to keep me awake to write the next two sentences.

(Below–Former President George W. Bush slapping Houston-area Congressman Al Green across the face)

Proposition 2 will, for one time only, lessen the residency requirement for Houston City Council candidates to have lived in their district before the November, 2011 municipal elections. Since council redistricting will take place after census results are announced next year , some incumbents may find themselves in new territory.

(Below–Sometimes the ground shifts beneath your feet.)

Mayor Parker supports Proposition as a basic measure of fairness. Redistricting happens and folks deserve a chance at keeping their seats.

This is, in the main, the substance of the Mayor’s thoughts on Prop. 2. I did not take the exact notes because  I was playing pinball during the call.

(Below—KISS pinball machine. Photo taken by The Consumerist.)

Proposition 3 is red light cameras. If you vote Yes on 3, you will be voting to keep red light cameras in Houston.

Mayor Parker urges you to vote Yes on 3. Her bottom line concern is safety on our roads. She wants drivers in Houston to please stop at red lights. She feels red light cameras lessen the number of people running red lights.

That is pretty much what she said on the matter. I don’t have the exact notes because I was driving while on the call.

(Using the phone. Photo by Edbrown05)

Houston Mayor Annise Parker asks her fellow Houstonians to support all three Houston propositions on the 2010 General Election ballot.

She feels that these issues reflect good public policy that will benefit the people of our city.

I agree with the Mayor on these ballot questions.

Here are my Texas Liberal endorsements for 2010.

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Please Vote Yes On Prop. 3 To Keep Red Light Cameras In Houston–Our Roads Are Already Filled With Crazies

(Update 6/18/11—A federal judge has invalidated the vote to get rid of the red light cameras.) 

There is an initiative on the ballot in Houston to get rid of red light cameras. This is Proposition 3 on our ballot. To keep the cameras, you must vote yes on Proposition 3.

The only reason to get rid of these cameras is so that we can run red lights and, by so doing, cause accidents that kill and maim people.

Anybody who drives in Houston knows that our roads are filled with drunks and crazies.

Why would we make our roads any less safe than they already are?

Red light cameras reduce accidents and save lives.

Red light running crash

One objection people make to red light cameras is that cameras exists only for cities to make money from tickets.

No money would be raised if people would stop running red lights.

Revenue from the cameras have raised millions of dollars for Ben Taub Hospital in Houston.

The bottom line is that red light cameras save lives.

Here is the Houston Chronicle editorial in favor of Proposition 3.

From this editorial—

“We’ve all seen the tragic consequences of motorists violating traffic signals and maiming or killing innocent pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles. The right to privacy doesn’t apply to reckless driving on public thoroughfares that endangers the community. We believe the cameras are a vital extension of our undermanned police traffic-enforcement capabilities. In this case, a picture can vastly multiply the eyes and extend the arms of the law…Mayor Annise Parker and a majority of City Council support red-light cameras. These elected officials are joined by an impressive group of community law enforcement officials and health care leaders of the Texas Heart Institute, Harris County Hospital District, Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems, Teaching Hospitals of Texas and the Texas Hospital Association.”

Read more in favor of Proposition 3  at the web page in favor of the issue.

Safe driving is not an ideological issue. All people need safe roads.

Please vote Yes on Proposition 3.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments