After moving to the extremely impossible to pronounce city of Puyallup from the extremely impossible to afford city of Seattle, I’ve begun to accrue a steady pile of tickets from the local law enforcement. These tickets are new to me. I’ve had a clean driving record for years and still do, but a steady stream of tickets continues to pile up in our mailbox. Normally, I would happily pay for any speed based transgressions, but these aren’t from the police. These are from Polaroid.
The city of Puyallup is littered with traffic cameras. Here in the city of Puyallup, officer Kodak and his polaroid pals loiter around every major traffic corner indiscriminately shooting away at every conceivable object. This trigger happy and punitive paparazzi has hassled the loyal citizens of our city for years now. Their long lenses of the law entangle many an unwary, curse prone traveler. Many times have I been that traveler. To this day flashes of light illicit immediate cursing which has been problematic at most family outings involving cameras of some sort.
They do this under the guise of public safety, but safety comes with a signing bonus. Infractions for photographed offenders average over a hundred dollars each offense. The city claims they barely break even with the overhead on their camera system, but according to data compiled by The Olympian these cameras have paved their cities in gold.
The city of Puyallup earned 1.1 million dollars between July and December of 2009 with only 445,000 dollars in total expenses. Unless this overhead involves an overlay of Armani based police uniforms these numbers represent profit and lots of it.
If capitalizing off of these cameras wasn’t enough our tale comes with a corrupt coup de gras. They’re illegal.
According to Washington state law cameras can only be used at an intersection with two arterials. Despite this, a camera in an area marked on the city map of Puyallup as a ‘driveway’ found on South Hill drive continues to illegally capture thousands of dollars worth of revenue for the city of Puyallup. How does the city of Puyallup get away with something like this? Easy, just change the definition of arterial.
After getting ticketed one citizen went to question the court and the previous designation driveway was changed to its new designation of arterial to match both Washington state law and the need for more money. This designation comes despite lower than normal traffic and two speed bumps. Speed bumps can only be used with speeds in excess of twenty five miles per hour and because of this speed bumps are more commonly reserved for residential areas and NOT arterials. So how can a main arterial road have two speed bumps. It can’t!
Cameras lack the discretion of human beings and often lead to increased accidents when profits overpower public safety. It’s time we crushed Kodak. We need less cameras and more cops. Cameras suck! Cops rule!