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The [Thursday] Papers

"A fired executive of Chicago's beleaguered red light camera company alleges in a lawsuit that Redflex Traffic Systems doled out bribes and gifts at 'dozens of municipalities' in 13 other states and says he is cooperating in an ongoing federal investigation," David Kidwell reports for the Tribune.

"The explosive allegations, accompanied by few specifics, suggest investigators may be examining Redflex's business practices around the country in the wake of the company's admission last year that its flagship camera program in Chicago was likely built on a $2 million bribery scheme."

Thankfully, the city is switching from Redflex to Xerox.

"Baltimore's speed cameras likely charged motorists for thousands more erroneous tickets than previously disclosed, according to data from a secret audit conducted for the city last year and obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

"Consultant URS Corp. evaluated the camera system as run by Xerox State and Local Solutions in 2012 and found an error rate of more than 10 percent - 40 times higher than city officials have claimed. The city got those findings last April but never disclosed the high error rate, refusing calls by members of the City Council to release the audit.

"The city issued roughly 700,000 speed camera tickets at $40 each in fiscal year 2012. If 10 percent were wrong, 70,000 would have wrongly been charged $2.8 million."



Still, while Xerox has the new red-light camera contract, the speed camera contract is in the hands of American Traffic Solutions. So we should be good to go.

"More than 81,000 citations worth $10.2 million were issued in New Jersey through red light camera programs that were not in compliance with state law," The Newspaper reports.

"Rather than fight a drawn-out class action battle to defend the money it collected, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) last week filed a proposed settlement in federal court designed to limit the firm's liability to a sum 'not to exceed' $4.2 million."

Yes, but those are red-light issues, not speed-camera issues.

"Speed cameras are magnets for corruption," the Maryland Drivers Alliance argues.

That's because speed cameras - even more so than red-light cameras - are better than printing presses for making money.

"Speed camera contractors lobbied heavily for statewide speed cameras, even buying lawmakers steak dinners. In Prince George's County, the county's speed camera contract was awarded to a company with questionable technology which had made substantial contributions to the county executive."

Go read the whole post from the good drivers of Maryland.


See also: "In a series of stories beginning in 2012, the Tribune has exposed a questionable relationship between Chicago's red-light camera vendor and City Hall."

Shock The Monkey
"Former Chicago mayor Richard Daley says he's 'absolutely shocked' his name appeared in the 6,000 pages of internal documents released by the Archdiocese of Chicago Tuesday regarding sexual abuse by priests," NBC Chicago reports.

He's absolutely shocked because he thought he had absolutely covered his tracks.


"Daley is currently out of town on business, but said through his spokeswoman Jackie Heard that he 'didn't call anybody,' and 'has no recollection of calling anyone,' and finds the whole thing 'absurd.'"

So he had time to call Jackie Heard but not to call the actual reporter, who presumably would ask follow-up questions including the evidence presented in the documents. He's right, that's absurd.


Reminder: "Underage drinking parties in [Father Robert] Mayer's room at St. Stephens rectory were brought to the attention of the Des Plaines Police Department, and the documents show that then Cook County State's Attorney Rich Daley called the Archdiocese to say the 'police captain is not held in high esteem.' No charges were filed in the case."

Mayer later went to prison for sexual abuse.


Daley is similarly shocked that anyone would think he knew anything about Jon Burge during his time as state's attorney. He deemed that scenario so absurd that he did everything possible to escape being deposed despite repeated promises to make himself available for questioning under oath.

Journos & Obamacare
When the personal is political.

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

Why Tanaka Rejected Chicago
Another Beachwood Special Report.

Uncle Fun Leaves Smiling
Our goodbye to a purveyor of whimsy.

Requiem For The Rock
A mighty fine line. Plus: Requiem for the passenger pigeon, an amazing story of Amazing Fantasy #15 and one woman's quest to rebuild CPS's libraries. In Local Book Notes.

Human Ken Doll vs. King Of The Nerds
Chicago vs. Grayslake.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Human tip line doll.


Posted on January 23, 2014

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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