Ban Red-light cameras

Opinion: Editorials

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Three years ago, before everyone was on to the con of red-light cameras, Wednesday Journal, Forest Park Review and the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark did a deep dive that made clear these cameras have nothing to do with traffic safety, how rapidly small towns and cities had become fiscally addicted to this grift revenue, and how corrupt the politics of red-light contracts were at their core.

To its credit, Oak Park never fell for this scam. Now everyone is on to it. State legislators and municipal officials are resigning, being indicted, getting raided, lawyering up. The Sun-Times and the Trib are in the chase. Federal prosecutors are wiring and flipping weasel politicians. And down in Springfield, the dirty town on the prairie, momentum is building to attempt once more to outright ban red-light cameras. 

We're all for it.

Red-light cameras are a scam perpetrated by greedy con men — elected and otherwise — on overtaxed drivers just living their lives. The cameras cannot be justified as an advance in traffic safety. There are more serious traffic worries than a slightly rolling right turn on red. If the scoundrels behind this technology are so determined to save lives, if the town trustees hooked on $100 fines to pay their underfunded pensions want to argue it is all about safety, then just leave the cameras pointed at bad drivers actively running red lights. That could do some good.

Otherwise we are in support of state Sen. Mattie Hunter, quoted in the Sun-Times saying, "Traffic laws should be driven by safety, not bribery, shakedowns or the need to boost revenue." 

And we'll urge Oak Park's own state Senate President, Don Harmon, to take seriously his pledge: "It's becoming increasingly clear that we need a full review of the red-light camera program in Illinois."

We need a review before the exorcism.

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