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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Some of Chicago's yellow lights are too short, according to an administrative law judge who said he's thrown out '60 to 70 percent' of red light camera tickets he's come across recently because of the discrepancy," the Expired Meter reports.

"The city uses the state and federal standard of having yellow lights display for a minimum of three seconds at intersections. But an administrative law judge, who hears appeals from motorists ticketed by red light cameras, said during a hearing this week that he has seen evidence that yellow times are slightly beneath that at some Chicago intersections with red light cameras."

To the vault!

"Red light camera vendor uses a spreadsheet to calculate profit based on engineering deficiencies such as short yellow time."

And:

Waguespack, a member of the City Council Progressive Caucus that often calls on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to move slower on enacting initiatives so aldermen can better get a handle on the financial impact to Chicagoans, said he and others have been complaining to city transportation officials for some time about the short length of the yellow lights at some camera-controlled intersections.

"We've already asked CDOT about the yellow lights and they were like 'Don't worry about it, everything is cool,' " Waguespack said. "Well, clearly it wasn't."

Clearly.

"A contingent of City Hall lawyers and officials appeared in a tiny hearing room to defend the city's automated traffic ticket program during a three-hour hearing at which an administrative judge said he is throwing out tickets because yellow light times are too short," the Tribune reports.

"I've been calling up a lot of tickets where the amber times are 2.9 (seconds)," [administrative judge Robert] Sussman told the Tribune on Tuesday. "That's what I said on the record and I stand by that."

Sussman said it is very unusual for the city to send lawyers to his hearings, but four City Hall representatives showed up in the small room at 400 W. Superior.

"I don't know why they were there," he said.

Because they're scared shitless. The red-light camera program is crumbling before Rahm's eyes. First, coming refunds on mysterious spikes in ticketing. Now this.

If only - like with the infrastructure trust - the famously impatient mayor had taken the time to address questions from aldermen (and others) and craft a program that got it right, instead of got it in a hurry.

Can we now acknowledge that being impatient - combined with being autocratic - is not a virtue in a public official?

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"Sussman declined to elaborate Tuesday on his rulings, referring the Tribune to the audio recording of the hearing maintained by the city. The city did not make the recording available."

Let's add that being impatient, autocratic and secretive are not virtues in a public official.

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"Not only are city leaders calling for an investigation and refunds, but several lawyers are now in the process of gathering affected drivers for a class-action suit, or perhaps several suits," Time reported last month.

"That may be one reason why many cities have decided to do away with roadside cameras all together. Several San Diego County cities, for instance, pulled the plug on their roadside camera programs in recent months. The number of U.S. cities with roadside cameras is on the decline too, from 540 in 2012 to 508 this year. Depending on how things play out in Chicago and in other cities where drivers are protesting roadside cameras, that number could keep on falling."

Losing The Lottery
"For the third consecutive year, the private firm hired run the Illinois Lottery has failed to bring in the profits it promised to raise for the state, even as its parent companies continue to be paid more each year to provide games and services," the Tribune reports.

"According to a Tribune review of preliminary year-end data, Northstar Lottery Group posted a net profit of $738 million - nearly a quarter billion less than it pledged to bring in for the 2014 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

"The figure is less than the company raised for the state in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years after it became the first private company in the nation to take over day-to-day operations of a state lottery."

Good. The lottery is worse than the red-light camera program - you can't even pretend it exists for the public's safety.

Fantasy Fix Draft Guide: QBs & RBs
Jay Cutler vs. Josh McCown.

BeachBook
* Chris Sale Flexes His Comprehensive Vocabulary After Starts.

* Family In Court Fight Over Historic Baseball Photos Amid Fraud Probe.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A denial.



Permalink

Posted on August 13, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - Dangerous, Low-Wage Industries Depend On Immigrants, Refugees.
SPORTS - Wrong Foot Louie vs. The Fireball Kid!

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Meet Limo Bob.


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