That’s what a headline above a story in the Chicago Sun-Times read yesterday.
Anyone surprised that the primary purpose of red light cameras is revenue?
That’s what a headline above a story in the Chicago Sun-Times read yesterday.
Anyone surprised that the primary purpose of red light cameras is revenue?
A press release from State Senator Dan Duffy:
Senator Duffy’s “One Second for Safety” bill adds one second of yellow time to intersections which are equipped with Red Light Cameras. This bill is based on studies conducted by
All studies show accidents decrease anywhere from 35% to 92% by adding one second of yellow time at troubled intersections.
No studies dispute these facts.
This bill follows all federal traffic safety guidelines which state yellow light time must be between 3 – 6 seconds.
The bill will not allow cities and municipalities to reduce yellow light time at red light camera intersections.
Along with reducing accidents, the One Second for Safety bill will also drastically reduce red light camera tickets.
The City of Chicago and powerful Red Light Camera lobbyists strongly opposed the bill.
The Senate agreed with Senator Duffy’s safety measure and overwhelmingly supported the bill.
SB3504 will now move onto the House for a vote.
Please contact your House Representative and ask them to SUPPORT SB3504. A list of email addresses can be found at http://www.senatorduffy.com/, click on “G.A. Email List” at top of the page or a list of all contact information can be found by clicking on the representative’s name through the following link, http://www.ilga.gov/house/.
In his latest mailing from State Rep. candidate David McSweeney, he uses red light cameras to ask, “Who can we trust to defend our rights?”
He uses the revenue-driven devices, co-sponsored by local Democrat Jack Franks, to promote his ability to stop “the uncontrolled growth of government.”
“Our rights could be gone in a flash,” his mailing reads.
This is the second time (the first was the week before Thanksgiving) he has tied himself to State Senator Dan Duffy’s campaign to ban red light cameras for right turn violations.
Strangely, no mention is made of the recently authorized Speed Cameras in Chicago.
McSweeney is facing off against State Rep. Kent Gaffney, whose appointment was opposed by Duffy, and Danielle Rowe for the term beginning January, 2013.
A press release from the campaign of State Senator Chris Lauzen, who is running for Chairman of the Kane County Board:
Aurora, IL (February 14, 2012): Illinois State Senator Chris Lauzen invites you to a Press Conference on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 2 PM at the northeast corner of the intersection of Randall Road and Williamsburg Drive across the street from the southern edge of Geneva Commons in Geneva, Illinois
Fellow State Senator Dan Duffy will speak against red light cameras as the lead sponsor of legislation that would restrict and eliminate these devices.
Peter Breen, Chairman and Founder of BanRedCams.com will also speak and endorse Lauzen based on his opposition to red light cameras.
An email from State Senator Dan Duffy:
Today Illinois faces problems like never before. Our state is in need of strong leadership. As your representative in Springfield, I am working to promote a job-friendly environment and restore common sense, efficient policies to state government.
Spending is out of control and the budget is completely out of alignment. In January, I voted against a 67% tax increase which unfortunately passed. Our state deficit continued to grow even after passing the largest tax hike in state history. Clearly, we can not tax our way out of this mess. The answer is not increased taxation, but effective, efficient government.
I have consistently opposed additional borrowing in order to meet Illinois’ financial obligations.
Unfortunately a budget passed which increased spending and once again deferred millions in Medicaid payments.
I advocated for a smaller, smarter government in order to balance our budget and restore Illinois’ fiscal health.
In November, I voted against a bill that would increase your monthly utility bills to fund so-called “smart grid” upgrades to our power infrastructure. I do not believe the state should further burden the people of Illinois in the middle of a deep recession.
This year I also continued to fight corruption in state government and spoke out against “pay-to-play” political appointments.
It is an honor to serve the 26th district in the Illinois State Senate. Your concerns and questions are very important to me. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your feedback so that I may better serve you!
Very truly yours,
State Senator 26th District
After the letter came the following press release:
Senator Duffy has argued for spending restraint insisting that the state must live within its means. Duffy voted against the 67% tax increase in January 2011, and opposed additional borrowing and increased spending. Legislators must identify real solutions that deliver services more efficiently.
During the 2011 spring legislative session, Senator Duffy and others offered a detailed “reality check” plan that would eliminate the deficit, phase out the tax increase, and revitalize the state’s economy by supporting Illinois’ job creators. The “reality check” plan outlined a menu of specific efficiency measures that, if implemented, would put Illinois back on the road to a balanced budget – without sacrificing essential services.
Some of the specific suggestions included combining the Treasurer and Comptroller’s offices to save as much as $12 million dollars. The plan also included meaningful public employee pension reforms which would save the state as much as $1.35 billion immediately, with additional savings in the years ahead.
Government pensions are more generous than those received by private sector tax payers. Some government pensions offer retirement at age 55, require minimum pension contributions, and have free health care. Many pension recipients receive more than $100,000 per year in benefits. This is not fair to the hard working citizens of Illinois whose tax dollars are paying for these overly generous benefits.
Illinois families have learned that in lean times they must spend less to keep their household budgets balanced. It is time the state learns to do the same!
During the fall veto session the legislature voted to override a gubernatorial veto on Senate Bill 1652, a piece of legislation that uses rate hikes to fund upgrades to the state’s power infrastructure.
In debate, Duffy raised concerns that campaign contributions had influenced votes on the legislation. Campaign finance watchdogs estimated that ComEd and Ameren spent in excess of $930,000 in campaign contributions to legislators while discussing the “smart grid” legislation. Duffy also opposed the clause in the legislation which guaranteed profits to the power companies for decades to come.
Senator Duffy noted that it may not be the appropriate time to be moving forward with the new “smart grid” legislation. In theory meters may provide better information about how to cut energy use and save money, but the meters are expensive. The cost will be passed on to consumers through rate hikes. Additionally, if consumers want to see the full benefits of the upgrades, they must add complicated in-home displays and integrate home-area networks which will take data from the meters to control appliances and other pieces of equipment.
Duffy voted against the legislation over concerns that it placed an unfair financial burden on Illinois citizens to fund the upgrades.
This year, Senator Duffy continued his crusade against what he calls “Quinn pro quos,” or political appointments to elected officials, their top donors, and their family members.
In the fall veto session Duffy spoke out against the $117,000 a year appointment of Jennifer Burke, daughter of powerful Chicago Alderman Ed Burke and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, to the Illinois Pollution Control Board. Duffy said,
“This is typical pay-to-play politics—the same bad policy of appointing politically connected people to high priced board positions. How would the typical person in Illinois even know how to apply for a position like this?”
In February Duffy introduced Senate Bill 1935, a measure that would prohibit the spouse, child, or spouse of a child of a state official, from being appointed to any state board or commission.
Senator Duffy believes we should do everything possible to keep our roads safe. However he feels red light cameras are all about revenue, not about safety.
The US Department of Transportation statistics show that an average motorist could drive a billion miles – the distance from Earth to Jupiter and back – before being involved in and accident that resulted from turning right on red. [emphasis provided]
In March, Duffy introduced Senate Bill 26, a measure that prohibits a county or municipality from using a red light camera to issue violations to drivers who enter an intersection to turn right on red, where it is a legal maneuver.
Duffy debated that if the issue was truly about safety, municipalities should remove cameras from right turn lanes and install “no turn on red” signs at troubled intersections.
In the fall veto session, Duffy voted against using red light cameras as “speed” cameras.
Senate Bill 965 allows a special feature on the red light cameras to be switched “on”, which in turn allows the cameras to monitor the speed of automobiles as they pass by.
The cameras will then issue tickets to cars driving over the speed limit.
The ticket goes to the car, not to the driver. In debate on the Senate Floor the Senator spoke out against the legislation saying,
“I’m against this big brother piece of legislation.”
State Rep. candidate Dave McSweeney is taking on “Big Brother” in his latest direct mail piece.
This is number six.
Appointed State Rep. Kent Gaffney has not sent out at campaign-financed mailing. Neither has challenger Danielle Rowe.
The content is below (click to enlarge):
McSweeney pledges to follow State Senator Dan Duffy’s lead in fighting red light cameras. Duffy did not support the appointment of Gaffney to fill State Rep. Mark Beaubien’s seat.
PROPOSED CHICAGO TRAFFIC SPEED CAMERAS TO PROTECT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE PENSIONS, NOT CHILDREN
Chicago–The plan by the City of Chicago to install automated speed cameras in locations covering nearly half the city have nothing to do with protecting school children, but, rather, will be used to protect and bolster the lavish, gold-plated pensions of retired city government employees, according to the president of Taxpayers United of Illinois (TUA).
“On Wednesday, the State Senate approved this expansion of cameras in Chicago by a 32-24 vote, and now the legislation goes to the State House,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President.
“Senate President John Cullerton (D-6, Chicago) helped his Democratic buddy, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), by pushing this legislation through the Senate, and now Chicago Machine Boss and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22, Chicago) will attempt to shepherd SB965 through the Illinois House.”
Here is the Senate Votes on SB965:
“This expansion of speed cameras has nothing to do with protecting school children,” said Tobin. “If the purpose were school safety, then the automatic speed cameras would be limited to school speed zones and cover no more than 10 percent of city streets.
“This is a blatant, cynical attempt to pour millions of dollars into city coffers at the expense of Chicago drivers to benefit greedy bureaucrats and city employees.”
“I urge Chicago Taxpayers to contact their State Representatives and urge them to vote against SB 965 passed by the Illinois Senate.”
= = = = =
Tobin, you may remember, asserted that the entire reason for the Democrats’ increasing the state income tax by 67% was to pay for state pensions. Since then, I have read similar analyses in mainstream media.
And, of course, you already know that as a retired state representative I received a state pension.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel needs money.
When Chicago mayors need money, they look for ways to make non-Chicago residents’ pocketbooks lighter.
Think of the Regional Transportation Authority, which exported the CTA’s financial woes to the whole Chicago metropolitan area.
General Fund revenues (to be financed by the new Lottery) and gas taxes for us because the overnight Chicago Transit Authority service wasn’t paying its own way.
This Chicago mayor’s latest proposal is to pull $100 bills out of the pockets of those using Chicago streets via the already-installed Red Light cameras.
He can’t levy an income tax on suburbanites who work in Chicago. That would take legislative authority and the opposition would be immense.
Much more than for a speeding ticket system near the schools of our precious children.
Do any driving in Chicago?
Tempted to go with the traffic flow when it is moving?
Ever try to beat a red light?
If so, this legislation is aimed at you.
I remember well the rants of Danville’s State Rep. Bill Black about how his constituents got Chicago parking tickets when they had never been in Chicago.
Presumably, speeding tickets will go to the right car owners.
Let’s give the technology that.
But, there are going to be a lot of very unhappy people getting $100 speeding tickets.
They will be living not only in the suburbs, but in Chicago.
Well, an idea to raise money for Chicago can’t always be financed exclusively by suburbanites.
You may remember that our own McHenry County Democrat Jack Franks was one of the sponsors of the original Red Light Camera bill.
Without those Red Light Cameras, this scheme would not be possible.
I wonder if he has learned the lesson that his constituents don’t like big brother pulling money out of their pockets.
And, if this passes, did you know that the Tollway’s I-Pass toll tax sucker-uppers can register the speed of vehicles also.
Will this proposal give the Tollway Board, yesterday stripped of critics by Governor Pat Quinn, ideas?
OK. You got me.
It’s July 3rd.
And it wasn’t sweltering hot. I found the shade most of the hour and a half 90-something entry parade.
The biggest political entry was Congressman Joe Walsh’s.
He followed Congressman Don Manzullo and his wife Freda, who rode in a convertible.
Between them was McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren. If one did not recognize the Sheriff, one would not have known that he was in the parade.
Last year at parades there were Sheriff’s Department motorcyclists, a snow mobile, a community service vehicle, plus a convertible with identification signs on the sides in which the Sheriff rode.
There was an unmarked gray car that followed with a female officer. I’m not familiar enough with the patch she wore to know if she’s a Sheriff’s Deputy.
Can’t do a story without mentioning the Grand Marshall. After all she is the mother of McHenry County Board member Jim Heisler and Nunda Township Supervisor John Heisler.
Next came the Crystal Lake Lions huge flag. I only wish I had had a higher vantage point.
JA Frate’s Fallen Heroes semi-trailer paid appropriate honor to those who have defended our freedom.
Then the banner of Congressman Joe Walsh came down the hill.
A man with a bull horn said patriotic things.
Next came Congressman Walsh. He was greeting people along the parade route, the only politician besides McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi to do so.
What you see below was not an isolated occurrence. A number of people made the effort to reach out to Congressman Walsh.
Parents seemed please that Walsh did not ignore the future voters.
Marching music was playing from Joe Walsh’s parade vehicle and a line of girls were marching to its beat.
Walsh saw them and stepped over to clap in time with them.
The Congressman who has had his 8th District reapportioned out from under him did not ignore the ladies of voting age.
Some women were as enthusiastic to see him as the men above.
A blue-shirted lady nearby was not to be outdone. She also grasped Walsh’s hands and told him something.
Walsh was not the only member of the family greeting voters.
His wife Helene was pressing the flesh, too.
The truck from which the sound was coming contained that part of a mariachi band that needed a stable platform.
Ever since I heard my first mariachi band in the 1960′s, I always wished I had enough money to hire them for parades. He hired the Ranchitos. I hope he does it for every parade.
But that wasn’t all I noticed in the Joe Walsh contingent.
One of the rejected applicants to replace State Rep. Mark Beaubien, Nick Sauer, introduced himself. Since I didn’t have a picture of him, you can bet I pushed the button.
The Barrington School Board member was waving an American Flag at the end of the Walsh group.
I also spotted past Crystal Lake City Council candidate Mike Shorten. He is now a Nunda Township precinct committeeman.
The next political entry was a bicycle ridden by a man displaying signs for McHenry County Board member Donna Kurtz. (She tells me she and her mother, former State Rep. Rosemary Kurtz, were in the parade, but my eyes must have been elsewhere.)
The only County Board member I saw at the parade was Nunda Township’s District 3 member Mary Donner.
Looking very much as if he will be a candidate in the 2012 elections was McHenry County State’s attorney Lou Bianchi.
The political entry was the PTLAG contingent.
The acronym is short for “Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.” The group is a member of the coalition that convinced the Illinois General Assembly to enact the civil union legislation that took effect June 1st.
The next political group was the Jesse White Tumblers.
Before you get all bent out of shape, do remember that Secretary of State Jesse White did accompany his tumblers in one 4th of July Parade.
Coming near the end of the parade were the McHenry County Young Republicans.
McHenry County State Rep. and GOP Chairman Mike Tryon walked with the Young Republicans.
While State Rep. Mike Tryon marched with the Young Republicans, I didn’t see State Sen. Pam Althoff.
If newly picked State Rep. Kent Gaffney was in the contingent, I did not recognize him.
His new district will contain more votes in McHenry County than anywhere else. About a third of Crystal Lake is in it.
A surprise addition was West Dundee Village Trustee Allen Skillicorn.
As I look at the contents of the photos, I see a delightful tee shirt.
“Honk if you hate red light cameras.“
That is relevant to McHenry County because Democrat Jack Franks was one of the sponsors of the bill to legalize this form of highway robbery.
And, although it has no political implications, the South Shore Drill Team brought up the rear of the parade.
The team was worth waiting for.
Almost forgot Crystal Lake’s politicians.
Mayor Aaron Shepley was not present, but City Clerk Nick Kachiroubas was.
So were two of the three women on the City Council, Ellen Brady Mueller and Cathy Ferguson.
And, finally, Councilman Ralph Dawson was seated comfortably in the back of a pickup truck.
By the zingers that flew between McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren and his Democratic opponent Mike Mahon, you could be excused for thinking there was a real contest going on.
In the last debate, the one in which the incumbent said the biggest problem was traffic while Mahon said it was heroin, Nygren hardly engaged Mahon.
Not so this time.
After Mahon reminded people he’d “walk in and save the taxpayers $1 million,” he cited the Deputy Chief of the jail.
“Why do we have a deputy chief, taking a vehicle home. It’s a waste, another crony job.”
Green Party candidate Gus Philpott provided a buffer this time. He said, “I’d probably spent all of it. If I can trim expenditures, I will. Have to look.”
Then, Nygren took a shot:
“You’re a Deputy Chief (of the Cook County Jail with 10,000 inmates). Why don’t they cut your job and save big money?
“Your solution is to fire people.”
Nygren said he wouldn’t do that.
He again said he would bring more revenue, rather than getting rid of people
There was applause from the Sheriff’s supporters such that the moderator admonished,
“I would ask that you restrain yourselves.”
In discussions about the $61 million that Nygren has said renting out the jail has brought into the county, Nygren never answered the question of what the net revenue was, even though the question was asked directly.
Twice Mahon pointed out that Nygren had not answered the question.
“We haven’t seen it broken down. What does does it cost?” Mahon asked.
“How much is it really bring in, Sheriff? You’re just not clear on that. That’s just your being a politician.”
“What happens if the Feds move the detainees to Thomson?” Philpott added.
In discussing training prisoners for work in the outside world, Nygren went off topic to point out that the Crystal Lake Police Department had announced Halloween trick or treating hours on the Nixle system. Mahon had criticized Nygren for using this community alert system to send out his press release about the food training program that is scheduled to start the day before the election.
One of Nygren’s supporters undoubtedly put in the question asking if any of the candidates had been arrested. It was the same one that Brent Smith repeatedly asked at the McHenry County Fair in front of Sally Wiggins’ tent.
“Have you ever been arrested for anything?”
Mahon said he had been arrested for drunken driving 19 years ago.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to my life.
“In 19 years, I haven’t picked a drink. I pleaded ‘No Contest.’”
Philpott revealed he had been stopped for a broken headlight ten minutes after it went out by a Woodstock policeman.
He said that he had heard that there was a $100 bounty “out on me.” The first officer was writing him a warning ticket when a second one came up and told him to issue a ticket.
“Two and a half years later, he told me he wrote the ticket because he had been told to write it.”
Nygren said he had never been arrested.
A shot across Nygren’s bow came twice about Nygren’s spending a lot of time out of the office.
When asked about community outreach, Mahon said he would “get rid of cronyism.”
“I’ll be at work everyday,” he emphasized.
Talking about the most important accomplishment or goal, Mahon added, “I’ll put my hours on the web site.”
In his concluding remarks, he repeated the theme,
“I also think it’s very important for the Sheriff to spend time here. I don’t believe he spends the quality amount of time in McHenry County he should.”
Nygren bragged about his “professionalization of the Sheriff’s Department.”
And his experience:
“I handled dog calls. I’ve handled homicides. Each time I’ve been promoted, I’ve learned,”
said the former Crystal Lake Police Chief.
Philpott said he would strive for openness. He complained about not being able to get information about McHenry County Crime Stoppers, whose calls are answered by Sheriff’s Department dispatchers.
He showed his sense of humor by pointing out that he was “guaranteed to come in no worse than third.”
He also said he would drive his own car, a 1999 Volkswagen, to work.
“I’m not going to ask the county taxpayers to pay for my gas,” he added.
Mahon taunted Nygren for having had the Chicago Tribune endorsement in the primary election.
“But he lost it (for the November election).”
Asked about community involvement, Mahon had an interesting answer.
“I have four children. I work 16 hours a day to support my family.
‘I’m not very involved with my community.
“I’m very involved with drug abuse.”
Philpott spoke of his involvement in special education and mental health.
Nygren was proud of his work with the Shop with a Cop program, which buys needy kids toys for Christmas.
Asked about red light cameras, Philpott’s response was, “I’m absolutely in favor of red light cameras,” explaining that many people “scoot through on a yellow light. The habit needs to change.”
Mahon said it was a legislative issue, but pointed out that vehicles were being rear ended because of stopping too fast.
Speaking last on the issue, Nygren came out flatly against them.
“I won’t hedge on the question. I’m absolutely against them.”
Outside the auditorium was judicial candidate Gordon Graham and State Rep. candidate Robert Kaempfe.