Weatherford Democrat

Obituaries

February 27, 2014

Red-light cameras click less as towns get Orwell off roads

The shutters clicked, the grainy photos were sent to the red-light violators and St. Louis raised $4.1 million last year. Now the vehicular version of "Candid Camera" may be ending, as it has in other U.S towns and cities.

A circuit court judge in St. Louis nullified its camera law Feb. 11, two months after a Missouri appeals court judge struck down a similar suburban ordinance. Those rulings have added to the legal and political blowback across the nation against a system whose safety benefits are disputed while its revenue- generating efficiency is not.

"All it is is a money grab," said Joe Brazil, a St. Charles County, Mo., councilman jailed last year for failing to pay a $100 fine in the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters. "It's almost like racketeering. It's not about safety."

Opponents in Missouri, New Jersey and other states are proving that city hall can be defeated with court challenges and political pressure. Even as advocates promote cameras' ability to save lives, the number of communities using them has dropped about 6 percent since 2012 to 509, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va. Lawmakers in five states, including Ohio and Florida, are considering banning or limiting their use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While drivers have long complained about tickets from real- life police officers, those transactions afford the opportunity for a face-to-face exchange, even if it's often unpleasant. The Orwellian nature of traffic cameras, used in 21 states, has provoked charges they are inaccurate, unconstitutional and fueled solely by the desire of municipalities and camera companies to raise money.

Red-light cameras in Florida alone raised $119 million last year, according to a study released Feb. 7 by the legislatures's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

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Obituaries
  • Grace E. Jones

    Grace E. Jones, 91, died Monday, July 21, 2014.

    July 23, 2014

  • Katherine Faye Daniel Brown

    BRECKENRIDGE — Katherine Faye Daniel Brown, 93, died Sunday, July 20, 2014, in DeLeon. 

    July 22, 2014

  • Kelley Ann Aylesworth Queen

    Kelley Ann Aylesworth Queen, 54, died of natural causes on July 13, 2014.

    July 22, 2014

  • Maggie Curtis Maggie Curtis

    Maggie Curtis passed away Sunday, July 20, 2014, at the age of 80. 

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charles M. Linehan Charles M. Linehan

    WEATHERFORD — Charles M. Linehan, 81, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, passed away Sunday, July 20, 2014.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lyndia Faye Bullock Lyndia Faye Bullock

    FORT WORTH — Lyndia Faye Bullock, 66, beloved mom, granny, daughter, sister and friend, passed away Friday, July 18, 2014, at home with her family.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jewel Allene Williams

    Jewel Allene Williams, 98, of Springtown, passed away Friday afternoon, July 18, 2014, in the local hospital. 

    July 19, 2014

  • Ronald Witt Hobbs

    Ronald Witt Hobbs, age 79, passed away on Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Weatherford, Texas. 

    July 17, 2014

  • Larry Drew Cook Larry Drew Cook

    Larry Drew Cook, 69, of Hudson Oaks, passed away Monday, June 14, 2014. Larry was born Nov. 9, 1944, in Muncie, Indiana, to Mildred and Norman Cook.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ruby Emerson Ruby Emerson

    Ruby Emerson, age 96, entered heaven praising God in the presence of her Savior on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

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