Regarding the article “Longer yellow lights at traffic signals soon” and the editorial “Finally, a flashing yellow”: As an ACLU member I am opposed to red-light cameras operated by contractors who profit from citations and aghast that government entities are regressing to Old South law enforcement for funding.
I’ve always heard the complaint that taxes would have to raised unless this revenue is available, so we add that burden to out-of-area lawbreakers and our local scofflaws. I’ve always viewed this as horse hockey to the highest hosanna. Surveillance cameras and similar equipment used to establish road use, traffic patterns and even as documentation in accident cases are civic operations, not revenue generation.
Some Wal-Mart entrances have cameras. If the company wishes to monitor traffic, let it install the cameras elsewhere, not on public traffic signals. Another hazard is the increase of rear-end collisions, as some slam on brakes to avoid fines. The uniform yellow-light duration is a great idea that benefits all. A warning sign that the next light is a red light light would increase public safety. Alas, things like this generate little revenue for operators or government.
West Palm Beach
Diversionary courts could be a fiasco
The new red-light camera law reportedly will create diversionary courts for those accused by an automated camera of running a red light. These courts will be modeled on code enforcement hearings within municipalities.
The Florida Constitution calls for such code enforcement courts to have resident volunteers or retired lawyers or judges serve as a special magistrate. But many municipalities, such as Ocean Ridge, have granted themselves the power to select, pay and retain such magistrates based on their conviction record, while also being the plaintiff in such hearings.
If the new red light courts are anything like Ocean Ridge code enforcement, defendants have less than a one percent chance of winning their appeal. On the other hand, in traffic court the magistrates are paid by the state. I have seen other reporting which suggests that people who challenge the red light tickets in traffic court have a 50/50 chance or better of having the ticket thrown out, especially if they have a good record.
Gov. Scott should have vetoed this bill. Our legislators should be working to enact fair laws with fair fees and taxes without relying on privatized schemes like red-light cameras to raise money.
Red-light runners endanger us all
It is not an exaggeration to state that we have an epidemic of distracted drivers, and that our legislators show no inclination to address the problem. The only positive action is the introduction of cameras at busy intersections to catch drivers running through red lights.
Why anyone thinks that he should be able to run a red light with impunity is hard for me to understand, when we have lived with radar, air surveillance and speed traps for all of our driving lives. Sitting at an intersection waiting for the light to change when a car speeds through to beat the light gives all of us a There-but-for-the-grace-of-God sensation.
I would much prefer to share the road with a driver who has a few tickets for exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph than with one who is a serial red-light runner. In the photo that I received a few years back, it could not have been much clearer that I was guilty as charged.
Drone-wielding CIA is top terrorist
A letter-writer concludes that very few Muslims are terrorists, but then adds that “almost all terrorist acts are committed by Muslim extremists.” No data is cited as a basis for this categorical assertion, but in the absence of any corroboration furnished by our government or reported in our mainstream media, I dare to speculate that the world’s leading terrorists are the assassins of our very own drone-wielding CIA, whose innocent victims have been shamefully characterized by the Bush and Obama administrations as “collateral damage” and “guilty by proximity.”
Negativity irks proud New Yorker
Regarding recent letters to the editor: I cannot believe all the negativity against New Yorkers. How do they know that the people who left the Kravis early are from New York?
I am the proudest person to call New York my home. I was born and raised there, and had the most wonderful friends and neighbors. Great place to raise your kids. Now I’m here most of the year, since my kids are now on their own. They were taught not to label people or think they are better than anyone else. I suggest that people read the articles on visitor and snowbird business and what it saves us in taxes.
Palm Beach Gardens
What constitutes radicalization?
Since the Boston Marathon bombing, the term “radicalization” has been tossed about so much that I along with a few of my friends are confused as to the meaning, and what thoughts and actions are radical.
Is it Christian vs. Jew? Jew vs. Muslim? Is it freedom vs. doctrine? Is it the rights of men vs. women? What “Western” thoughts are bad in the radicals eyes? Why do not the leaders of the mosques speak out? If they do, why do we not hear of it?
Palm Beach Gardens
Fla. won’t benefit from Obamacare
I find it mind-numbing that Republicans in the Legislature are now trying to blame the Affordable Care Act for any increases in health insurance costs. The Legislature is the problem, not the solution, and Gov. Rick Scott’s virulent anti-Obamacare rhetoric was the hatred they fed on to end up sabotaging the people of Florida by not expanding Medicaid. Obamacare will flourish, but the people of Florida will suffer, because of the Legislature.
Abuse should cost Vitas its license
Regarding “Hospice firm Vitas accused of bogus Medicare billing”: This is one more example of how corporations exploit the system.
Vitas operates 51 for-profit hospice programs in 18 states. Federal officials allege that Vitas bilked Medicare by charging for people who were not terminally ill and sending “crisis care” bills for patients whom nurses said were at church, bingo or the beauty parlor. Further, an investigation by The Palm Beach Post last year showed that Vitas, based in Miami, billed the government for local patient stays that averaged 40 percent longer than those at non-profit competitors licensed in Palm Beach County. The newspaper’s reporting also showed that hospice care was marketed at assisted-living facilities as a service for people who might get better. Federal law requires hospice patients to have been diagnosed as having six months or less to live and to give up curative treatment.
The federal government began paying for hospice care in the early 1980s. The idea was that some dying patients might choose to give up often costly last-ditch treatments to spend their final days in as much comfort and dignity as possible. When companies such as Vitas abuse the hospice premise, their license should be revoked. Medicare and Medicaid fraud will continue to be rampant unless we eliminate the companies contributing to it.
Congrats to top students who beat odds
I did some tallying with your feature of the top area high school students. Of the 157 grads honored there, 112 of them (71 percent) listed two “parents” whose last name was the same as theirs, 33 (21 percent) listed one parent sharing their name, and the remaining 12 (eight percent) indicated no parent with the same last name as theirs.
My guess is that the percentage of all students in our area who would list two “parents” with their same name would fall far below 71 percent. While realizing that such a simple tally cannot predict the complexities of family and social interactions and their effects, it nevertheless seems that excellence is fostered within a household where two committed adults share a child’s name. And if that is indeed the case, special congratulations to those top students who rose in the absence of such an environment.
West Palm Beach