Illinois red-light camera probe provides convincing evidence why they should be banned

Chicago’s Northwest Side

By John Ruberry

There is a lot of red-light camera news in Illinois. As part of an overall corruption investigation in the state, federal authorities are into looking into the activities of Chicago firm, SafeSpeed, LLC, which installs red-light cameras in some Chicago suburbs.

Last week the mayor of west suburban Oakbrook Terrace, Tony Ragucci, resigned. He is part of that SafeSpeed probe. Federal agents have also have raided the municipal offices of the villages of McCook, Summit, and Lyons in conjunction with this investigation. A state senator who is part of the red-light camera probe, Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) has since resigned.

Last year federal authorities seized $60,000 from Ragucci’s home, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and $51,000 from a safe from Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski’s residence. Tobolski is also the mayor of McCook.

SafeSpeed’s CEO denies any wrongdoing and no charges have been filed regarding the firm.

In 2017, the Forest Park Review called SafeSpeed a “clouted company.”

Something stinks in Illinois. Actually, something new stinks in the state.

Red-light cameras are a cruel cash cow. At best their record in preventing accidents, the prima facie for them, is mixed as evidence shows out of fear of a $100 ticket–the charge in Illinois–motorists often abruptly slam on the brakes but then end up getting rear-ended.

As the nation’s most corrupt city, it shouldn’t be surprising that Chicago has more red-light cameras than any other municipality. Nor should it be surprising that it has endured a bribery scandal involving red-light cameras. John Bills, a former precinct captain in Michael Madigan’s political organization, is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for accepting $2 million in bribes and gifts from a different red-light camera company, Redflex.

Madigan has been speaker of the Illinois House for thirty-five of the last thirty-seven years and he’s been the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party since 1998.

Three paragraphs ago I called red light cameras a cruel cash cow. How much cash? From 2008 through 2018, drivers forked over $1 billion to municipalities. Not a major reason, but I suspect the proliferation of red-light cameras, most of which are concentrated in the Chicago area, as among the causes of Illinois’ six-years-and-counting population decline.

Here’s a personal take on red-light cameras. Thursday night Mrs. Marathon Pundit, who is a limousine driver, called me. “You have to pick me up at O’Hare Airport.” I replied, “Why?” She answered, “There is a boot on my limo.” Yes, one of those wheel boots. When I picked her up at O’Hare she supplied more details. “The city says there are four unpaid red-light tickets, two of them are from 2018, but the office says they were never told about them.”

Okay, you may answer that one of her co-workers could be covering up inaction at the office. But in order for her employer to receive a city vehicle sticker for the limo she drives, all red-light camera tickets must be paid off. But the limo she drives has the latest Chicago vehicle sticker.

Those four tickets cost her employer $988, which included late charges and sending someone out to the car to remove the boot. Not knowing what was coming next, Mrs. Marathon Pundit parked her limo in a short-term lot, so her fee–which we have to pay–was a staggering $77. As it took all day Friday to sort out this debacle, my wife missed a day of work. She’s not on salary.

I’m certain hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans have similar stories.

There is some good news regarding red-light cameras. Last year Texas became the eighth state to abolish them. And in a rare bipartisan push, there is a movement in Illinois to ban them. And Illinois drivers now have a new friend, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. The Chicago Democrat says she’ll no longer assist municipalities in collecting red-light camera tickets. “As a matter of public policy, this system is clearly broken,” Mendoza said in a statement, “I am exercising the moral authority to prevent state resources from being used to assist a shady process that victimizes taxpayers.”

Good for her. 

Red-light cameras should be banned. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Time for Jewish Americans in NY & NJ to Declare themselves 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries

I don’t believe in “hate” crimes. As far as I am concerned you can hate someone all you want, that’s your business between you and your maker. between you and your maker (although I reserve the right to have a low opinion of you for said hatred and act accordingly). I further think all the laws in the world against “hate” crimes are not only going to increase such hatred because “hate” is a relative thing but are unlikely to discourage violent attacks or theft which are the things that such laws are supposedly designed to prevent or discourage. Such as the horrible attacks we’ve seen against religious Jews lately

There is, in my opinion only one way to prevent such crimes and that’s to make the cost of such a crime prohibitive both in terms of punishment and in terms of likelihood of success.

Now a long sentence for attempted murder and/or the death penalty for murder is a good start by making the cost of such a crime prohibitive in terms of punishment. That will discourage all but the most gullible or the most fanatical who don’t care if they’re caught or killed. For that you need to make the likelyhood of success in such an attack so small that it’s not worth trying.

And to do that, American jews, particularly religious Jews need to arm themselves as if they’re a bunch of Texas Church goers.

That fellow waving a machete would not have gotten very far if the law abiding Jews at that house were armed and carrying and I’d wager a lot of those going folks going after Jews would think twice if they thought that the man or woman they were targeting were armed.

The left doesn’t like the idea of increased police presence? Fine loosen the gun laws and permit restricts and let these citizens defend themselves.

If Cuomo & DiBlasio are really interested in stopping these attacks cold, that’s the way to do it. Until they do, it’s just talk and Jewish town, Jewish places of worship and Jewish homes should declare themselves 2nd amendment sanctuaries and act accordingly.

Texans, Meat, and Miscalculation

by baldilocks

Since nearly everyone is talking about the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, I’m going to talk about something else. I don’t like to bore people – at least not intentionally.

Let’s talk about painting targets, since that’s what Rep Joaquin Castro (D-TX) did when he publicized a list of San Antonio donors to the Trump campaign in the wake of the latest mass shootings – in El Paso, TX and in Dayton, OH. Why would Castro do such a thing? You had to be on Twitter this past weekend to see the hurricane of accusations against President Trump – that his “racist rhetoric” and his support for “white supremacy (sic)” spurred these shooters. By the way, most of the Organized Left don’t want to talk about the Dayton shooting because the perpetrator was one of their minions — a big supporter of Elizabeth Warren.

Anyway, following the line of assertion that the president is a racist, Castro decided that certain Trump supporters who live in his district needed to be outed as racists. (Fun fact: at least two of the donors had also contributed to Castro.)

One of these supporters is Bill Miller Bar-B-Q.

Castro must have imagined thousands of San Antonians converging on the barbecue joints armed with torches and pitchforks, terrorizing customers in the drive-thru and staging boycotts. He must have dreamed about literally running the pit masters out of town.

But there are some rules about living in the Lone Star State. You go to church on Sunday. You don’t talk bad about somebody’s momma. And you don’t mess with the brisket.

The day after Castro published that hateful screed, thousands of Texans piled into their pickup trucks and drove to the nearest Bill Miller Bar-B-Q.

Social media reports flooded in showing massive drive-thru lines backing up onto busy streets. Hungry customers patiently waited in lines out the door.

I guess Castro forgot that his district is in Texas.

Line at Bill Miller Bar-B-Q. Cite: Breitbart.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Update(DTG) It’s been a lot of years since our backup site has had an instalanche but with our primary site having problems and in the process of being updated and moved to a new host you’ll find our Magnificent Seven writers on either site for a while. Welcome. Find out why Donald Trump will be re-elected in five sentences but hear a warning lesson for him on the 2nd amendment. Check out Christopher Harper on this site here, and RH the navy man on our main site talking about a rusty problem here and discover why Joe Scarborough apparently doesn’t watch his own show and while why the I think the Clintons had nothing to do with Jeffrey Epstein’s death, but hope you think so and finally what the plan for both sites is.