Monday, December 31, 2007

Can't afford law enforcement, so we will add more revenue generating cameras

the Oregonian --

About this time every year, there are new traffic laws that go into effect, and this year 2008 claims to be a little bit tougher on drivers.

Some of the new laws on the books will allow Oregon to add more red light cameras (HB 2508) and photo radar units (HB 2466).

Red light cameras which are typically fixed units mounted at or near the intersection are designed to take a picture of the driver and the license plate of vehicles that proceed through the intersection after the light has turned red. The photos are then used to send tickets to the offending driver.
Milwaukie Police Chief Larry Kanzler sees the cameras as a way to protect officers and patrol cars. Drivers struck -- and totaled -- three patrol cars in the past year while officers were doing traffic stops along Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard. So Kanzler took photos of the crumpled cars to show to legislators this year.

"I said, 'This is why it's not safe for my officers to do red-light enforcement along McLoughlin,' " Kanzler said.

Kanzler added that unlike officers, the cameras can patrol 24-7.

Photo radar is an automated and mobile radar system typically mounted within a marked patrol vehicle to catch speeders, and as with red light cameras, the offending driver will be mailed a ticket.

having friends and family in law enforcement, they have their own opinions about the "automated" system and its effectiveness in regarding "law enforcement" versus "revenue enhancement".

For example, photo radar versus a traffic stop will not capture felons. Every law enforcement personnel that I have personally spoken to about this subject, told me that they capture more wanted people for minor traffic offenses than any other method.

Secondly, regarding Kanzler's point on his officers getting into accidents at traffic stops... without knowing all the details... yes traffic stops are dangerous, however, it is also up to the officer's best judgment of where and when to safely stop the vehicle.

Third, red light cameras and photo radar should not be used replace or reduce the uniformed officer.

I highly recommend doing research on photo radar systems and the companies that provide them to the cities and how the companies profit off the systems.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and happy birthday Jesus

EPA denies California's request for tighter auto emissions to reduce greenhouse gases also upsets Kulongoski's plan and threatens lawsuit

Ashland daily tidings --

Governor Ted "tax-and-gouge-me" Kulongoski is threatening lawsuits after the US Environmental Protection Agency's decision to reject California tailpipe restrictions that Oregon has adopted.

"Today's decision by the EPA is very disappointing for Oregon and our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming," Kulongoski said.

Kulongoski continued by saying "does not diminish my commitment to combat climate change and I will move forward with any legal or administrative means necessary to make sure Oregon can set its own tailpipe emission standards."

10 other states have adopted California standards to reduce emissions.

have you noticed that more and more issues that Oregon is involved with has been part of the "tri-state" conglomeration of Oregon, Washington and California?

Additionally, as Lars Larson has pointed out with several interviews with representatives of the EPA that the figures do not back up Kulongoski's claim that Oregon needs special regulations for tailpipe emissions.

The article claims that the emissions standards can be met with "off-the-shelf" parts added to the vehicles.

Imagine if the EPA had approved the special California emission standards, where would it stop? Would Oregon have its own standards that differ from California's, which differ from Washington state, which differs from Nevada, which differs from...

It would bankrupt the automotive manufacturers just trying to keep up with all the "special" standards.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So, how much blood can you get out of a turnip?

Portland -- the city gas tax died, so city Commissioner Sam Adams would like to replace it with a "street maintenance and safety fee" instead.
the Oregonian

City Commissioner Sam Adams has dropped his idea for a three cent city gas tax, instead he will ask the city Council to add a "street maintenance and safety fee" onto the water bills to a total of $4.54 a month for homeowners. (businesses will pay a different amount based on their size and traffic)

Of course for Portland, that would bring in an estimated $464 million over the next 15 years which would be used to re-pave old roads, add crosswalks [add bike paths?] fund other maintenance and safety.

State leaders have urged Adams to drop the tax proposal because they are hoping to raise transportation funds statewide in the 2009 legislative session with a significant gas tax increase (four cents) and other user fees, license and title fees.

Adams would like to see a $.12 a gallon increase, phased in in four cents increments in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

of course, little Portland, er... I mean Eugene, is still looking for ways to gouge us for street repairs in a 6-2 vote of sending a bond measure to the voters in May 2008.
The Register Guard

The bond measure would cost a medium value home about $109 a year for 10 years for an estimated $170 million.

Counselors George Poling and Mike Clark wanted to wait until November.

"The extra time would give us more time to increase the confidence level with the public." said Poling.
Clark said the city needs to show residents that it can spend money wisely before asking them for new taxes. “I believe we have some trust to earn back,"

Now that's an understatement

Monday, December 17, 2007

A carbon tax on babies?!?
Now I've heard everything

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

A radical proposal to reduce the population has been published by Barry Walters, an associate professor of obstetrics medicine in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Dr. Walters argues that families who have chosen to have more than a defined number of children (2) should be charged a carbon tax, conversely, he feels that those who purchase condoms or undergo sterilization procedures should be awarded a carbon credit.
"population control seems to have gone off the rails in the last 30 years," says Dr. Egger, an adjunct professor of health sciences at Southern Cross University in New South Wales, "it's almost forbidden to talk about it these days. It's almost like smoking-you have to go out in the alleys to talk about it."

we have always speculated that some day they will tax us for the air that we breathe... it looks like they're trying to make that a reality.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"... EPD doesn't immediately dispatch officers to non- injury traffic accident, some burglaries, car break-ins, theft..."

Register Guard

Eugene Police Department (EPD) officers work hard to keep up with demand, however, with fewer officers than other cities, EPD is unable to immediately dispatch officers in some circumstances.
"I don’t think it’s very good service to the public, and I don’t think (residents) think so either, judging from the letters I get,” Eugene police chief Robert Lehner said."

the police officers union and the city hired consultants are demanding that the city Council hire more police officers.

“Without adequate staffing, these objectives are nothing more than lip service to our community,” Willy Edewaard, president of the Eugene Police Employees’ Association, wrote to Mayor Kitty Piercy

Edewaard commenting on Eugene's high property crime rate,
“... We got into this business to chase criminals and get people’s property back,” Edewaard said. “But all we are doing is reacting. There isn’t a lot of proactive policing going on.”

the Eugene city Council will have to decide if and which public services that it will have to cut to fund more police hirings.

perhaps, one place to start, would be to get rid of the separation of "patrol officers" and "traffic officers".

For example, I would rather see the motorcycle police patrolling the neighborhoods than sitting out on the roads running radar. Motorcycles are cheaper to run than patrol vehicles, have wider visibility and flexibility. However, the motorcycles are part of the traffic team and therefore are not typically used for "patrol" purposes.

Another important issue, the 2008 Summer Olympic trials that will be held in Eugene.

How can a city that is so understaffed now, cope with the extra estimated 18,000 people per day visiting the city and provide adequate protection?

The answer, they can't!

The frustrating point is we apparently have no problems coming up with millions of dollars for the Emx bus system or any other pet projects, however, when it comes to our basic protection, we seem to fall flat on our faces.