Skidding halt can't stop red-light ticket In response...


September 02, 2001

Skidding halt can't stop red-light ticket

In response to Jack Fogarty's Aug. 24, 2001 Letter to the Editor entitled "Cameras Are for Safety Not Highway Robbery," I agree that red-light cameras have improved traffic safety in Howard County. However ... [it is] incorrect ... that screeching to a halt before an intersection will prevent the wrath of a red-light ticket. The county's policy is if a car's back tire is over the white stop line and you were going at least 18-miles-per-hour when crossing the magnetic strips, which are located before the stop line then you get a $75 ticket, apparently, no ifs, ands or buts. I got a ticket when I skidded in the rain just past the stop line but not into the intersection. Of course if a police officer were there, I would not gave gotten a ticket, but neither Judge C. James Sfekas nor the Automated Enforcement Office afforded my case such treatment. Mr. Fogarty is incorrect to say that the police take two pictures when you cross the line. They only take one picture once you cross the line.

I challenge the county to be more careful in issuing red-light tickets and use improved technology to make sure the tickets are being issued to stop the danger of people running red lights rather than the mistake of skidding past a white line in the rain. I challenge the state to rewrite the overly restrictive red-light camera law that allows a ticket to be issued if the front end of a car penetrates the stop line as if it were a football goal line.

Brian Perlberg


Time to put to rest council's `two-hat' myth

Each year when the Columbia Council is elected, they have a "retreat."

Since the Council terms overlap, this is an occasion where, ideally, the veteran members and the staff orient the new members on the way things work in the Council. Such a meeting can be a real help in learning the procedures of the Council, or it can be an indoctrination by the staff and older members in the way they believe the Council should function.

One prevailing myth has been passed on and is often cited at public meetings. This is the argument that each Council member wears two different hats. That is, that he or she is an elected representative of his or her village in the Council, but that as a member of the Board of Directors, to which they annually appoint themselves, they have a different fiduciary responsibility to the corporation. Further, the myth states, these responsibilities may not coincide with their responsibilities to their villages and to the lien-payers who elected them. The myth is easily exposed by looking at the Charter which defines the purpose of the corporation. It says: "To organize and operate a civic organization which shall not be organized or operated for profit, but which shall be organized and operated exclusively for the promotion of the common good and social welfare of the people of Columbia and its environs. ..."

Since this is the purpose and charge of both the Board of Directors and of the Columbia Association Council, no clash of values can legitimately exist.

The distinction can only serve to construct another wall between control of the Association and the people whom they are supposed to serve.

Henry D. Shapiro

Columbia (Wilde Lake)

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