Letters: Red-light runners endanger other drivers

Recently, while stopped at a light in Royal Palm Beach, a black pickup truck pulled up behind me for a couple seconds. I had my dash camera running.

The driver went around me via the center lane, crossed in front of me, and continued accelerating through a left turn and through the red light with impunity. Even more alarming, this is not the first time our family has witnessed this kind of death-defying antics in the past month at a different local intersection. Later, I thought it might have been some kind of emergency maneuver so I showed the video to a local sheriff and was told it was not one of theirs.

Days later, I was talking to a friend about the Florida House’s irresponsible passing of HB 6001. That bill would outlaw red-light cameras statewide starting July 2021. To my amusement, she pulled out what I consider a suitable Florida friendly flavored slogan for this bill, “Red light runners: Shoot ‘em with guns, not cameras.”

Think about it. This way, the “runners” could use the newly revised Florida “Stand Your Ground” law to avoid time behind bars. In this scenario, the runners (ie. the defense) could avoid a trial and walk away unscathed pre-trial by simply offering that they feared being shot by other drivers on the road if they didn’t run that red light.

For anyone who thinks red-light running is a constitutional right, I suggest you search for the video, “Florida’s worst red light runners 2017.” You’ll be shocked and appalled by what these maniacs try to get away with when not challenged with the high possibility of fines and jail time.

Hopefully, the Florida Senate will crash this party with more rational and consistent thinking.


Fla. bans public funds

for needle exchange

A recent letter to the editor wondered why Palm Beach County has acted so slowly in offering a needle exchange program. Unfortunately, the Florida Legislature does not allow counties to implement these exchanges, with one exception: in 2016, it permitted Miami-Dade County to open a single pilot program through the University of Miami.

Furthermore, state law prohibits the state, county, or municipal funds from going to such programs, and it was not until 2016 that the federal funding ban on needle exchange programs was lifted. Therefore, it is also necessary that a stable funding source is identified before a program can be opened.

Palm Beach County is hopeful that during the current legislative session the Legislature will allow for an expansion of needle exchange programs. Several bills have been filed that would permit Palm Beach County to do so. Such programs are vital public health tools in combating the opioid epidemic and reducing the spread of blood-transmitted diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.


Editor’s note: Melissa McKinlay is the mayor of Palm Beach County.

Brightline is just

another boondoggle

I predicted these tragedies after watching the Brightline hurtling through downtown West Palm Beach at 80 mph. (“Brightline trains claim deaths of two in less than a week,” Wednesday)

It brings to mind the Shoreham nuclear plant project in New York, which cost $2 billion to build and then $6 billion to decommission because they realized there was no safe evacuation route for eastern Long Island residents.

Brightline? I can think of another 10-letter word: Boondoggle.


People, not Brightline,

responsible for actions

The loss of a loved one is always heart-wrenching. However, Brightline will never, ever be able to prevent misjudgment or carelessness on any individual’s part, near or on the rail right-of-way.

What of the anguish that the train engineer is feeling, knowing that through absolutely no fault of his or her own, they are indirectly involved in the death of a person?

And what of the tens of thousands of riders who will benefit from Brightline — are the many to suffer because of the poor actions of one person?

The sane and reasonable conclusion to this tragedy is that persons are responsible for their actions and the responsibility doesn’t always lie with someone else or some other entity.


End access to tracks

to ensure public safety

High-speed train warnings, flashing lights, horns, rotating arms are not enough to ensure public safety. Access to the high-speed train tracks must be eliminated.

For example, New York City rail lines are raised or buried underground. European high-speed rail lines are shielded by earthen berms. We must change our thinking, and actions, to move away from “warnings” toward “elimination of access” to the rails. This will ensure true rail safety.

Yes, it will be expensive, and we may argue over who pays for it, but this is the direction needed. A 70-mph train through Boynton Beach, or any town, with a dated warning system, is simply not acceptable.

Think “eliminate access,” not “more warnings.” Otherwise, slow down the train.


Jeter should trade

Marlins sculpture

I just read that the Miami-Dade County mayor and the City of Miami mayor were discussing the future of the colorful home run sculpture at Marlins Park:

“The Marlins have never publicly said that they want the sculpture to go, but there is a possibility the fixture that stands behind the wall in center field could be removed.”

The way Jeter is cutting the payroll by having traded home run hitters Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, I’m guessing that colorful spinning Marlin will not be spraying water and twirling too much this summer.

I think Jeter should trade it for two minor league players and a sculpture to be named later.


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