The Citizen’s Stop Sign
What an election year. It’s not just the drubbing dealt to many statist incumbents that warrants a little triumphalism. We can also cheer about ballot measures whose passage means the defeat of very specific attacks on the citizenry.
Several local referendums targeted all those ticket-triggering red-light cameras that have been popping up. The main purpose of the gotcha-gizmos seems to be lunging for the wallets of hapless motorists, not enhancing anybody’s safety.
Voters are rejecting this fancy tax on driving. In Houston, a group called Citizens Against Red Light Cameras pushed for a ballot question to chuck the cameras. Voters passed it, despite the apoplectic opposition of the city council and the company operating the cameras, American Traffic Solutions. Camera ordinances were also felled in two Ohio towns, Chillicothe and Heath, and in College Station, Texas. In Anaheim, California, 73 percent said Yes to banning red-light cameras.
It was a tougher battle in Mukilteo, Washington, where ATS tried to stop voters from deciding on the cameras. Citizen activist Tim Eyman, who also has a slew of successful tax-limitation initiatives under his belt, led the effort to combat that obstructionism, and the state supreme court ordered ATS to back off. The kill-the-cameras measure went on to pass by 70 percent.
It’s great whenever voters call a halt to political predation. By no method can they do so more directly and effectively than via the right of initiative and referendum.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.