Cloaked as a public safety measure, Thursday’s red-light camera deposition reaffirms what motorists have always known: from its inception the City’s corrupt Red Light Camera program has operated as a predatory revenue-producing tool that has also served to fatten the pockets of the politically-connected.
According to news reports, City Hall preyed on motorists with red light cameras when it “accelerated the determination of liability on the front end, sped up late penalties on the back end” and only changed the law when questioned.
Troubling, as well, was the revelation that City Hall finds it acceptable to issue tickets for speeding in “school zones” even when the cameras themselves cannot discern whether children, or anyone, for that matter, were anywhere near the “speeding” vehicle at the time.
These acknowledgements come just months after a former city official was found guilty of taking up to $2 million in gifts and bribes in another red light camera scandal.
Corrupt and predatory governmental programs that place the City’s financial woes on the backs of those who can least afford it is simply reprehensible.
City Hall holds on to the Red Light Camera program because it is a cash cow that keeps bringing in money to the city’s coffers. But it has been exposed, repeatedly, to be no more than a false idol.
The city of Chicago needs to fund schools, pensions, and infrastructure, but to depend upon income through trickery and sleight of hand is not right, it’s not sustainable and may not be legal.
Mayor Emanuel and his administration should never treat its citizens this way and Chicago should be forced to refund fines and late fees to each scammed motorist.
Cook County Clerk