Saturday, February 11, 2017

San Francisco's "predatory government"

David Chiu: Bike guy

A letter to the editor in the SF Chronicle by District 5's Ted Loewenberg:

Regarding “Cameras urged to capture speeding drivers” (Feb. 9): San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu thinks that adding speed cameras to our streets will improve safety. Like red-light cameras, the primary effect is to improve the revenue flow to city coffers and the private companies that make and operate these devices.

Across the country, automated traffic cameras have revealed the corruption of public officials who award these contracts and the illegal practices of handing out tickets to innocent drivers. Traffic safety comes from everyone in the public space paying attention “with due regard for safety.” Fleecing the public by using robot cameras does nothing to make our roads safe.

Ted Loewenberg
San Francisco

Our predatory City Hall supports Chiu's legislation, as Aaron Bialick, former Streetsblog editor, tells us on the MTA's blog. Bialick went from the anti-car Streetsblog to the anti-car SFMTA.

More on David Chiu when he was a San Francisco supervisor. For still more on Chiu, click on the "David Chiu" label below.

A 2014 Chronicle story on traffic cameras: Red-light cameras boost coffers, rile drivers

Of course the city's two anti-car groups---Walk San Francisco and the Bicycle Coalition---like the camera idea.

See also San Francisco has become a predatory government by the City Treasurer:

...According to emerging research, San Francisco levies more fines per capita than most California counties. Also, we assess more fines per capita than Philadelphia, Louisville, Ky., or Nashville, which are comparable city/county localities.

As treasurer, I’ve made a priority of protecting San Franciscans from predatory lenders, working with the Board of Supervisors to ban new check-cashing and payday lending businesses. As a gay Latino elected official, I couldn’t live with a financial system that preyed on people who look like me.

But I’m also the official debt collector for the city. I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable when our local government levies fines on people who cannot afford to pay them. Basically, we are guilty of a form of predatory government...

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At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Gregski said...

Speeding is the anti-car movement's latest imaginary bete noir. Who benefits and profits most from diverting the public's attention from the REAL leading scourge, which is distracted driving, and focusing it on the almost non-existent problem of excess vehicle speed in San Francisco?

I don't know. But I can think of two industries that would likely be pleased by this:
1) The traffic camera industry
2) The ride-sharing industry (Uber and Lyft) whose business model depends upon drivers constantly attending to their gadgets.

I have been riding bikes in SF 3,500 miles every year for years. I've witnessed or been involved in many hundreds of close calls, near misses and collisions. The number in which excessive speed was a factor I can count with the fingers of one hand. Sorry, make that finger.


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