FEATURE, MARCH 6, 2008
riverfronttimes.com readers are still buzzing about Chad Garrison's feature story "Red Alert" about traffic-light cameras.
On the blink: The intersection at Hampton and Hwy. 44 has one of these and, given that it is a dangerous intersection, I can understand it. However, the intersection of Kingshighway and Arsenal has one and I see it malfunction almost every night when I'm on my way home from work. Does anyone monitor these to ensure that they are working properly? Of course not.
Hey scofflaws, take some responsibility: Good article. What kills me about these people crapping because they got their picture taken and no proof it was really them driving is that if the title and registration is in your name then shouldn't you be responsible? No one is driving my car without permission, and if you are in Missouri, then you fill out the same forms I do each year to tell the collector if you've changed vehicles. It's way past time for people to grow up and say, "Hey, it's my car so I am responsible." Instead of whining and running to lawyers, I wish there were more cameras in place and at stop signs as well as light-controlled intersections. Do away with right turns on red as well since most people just roll through them anyway these days. My life and vehicle isn't worth Joe Blow saving 30 or 40 seconds by being a self-centered ass in their car.
Stop the money grubbers: One of the things I didn't see mentioned in this article, is that ATS, the provider of the equipment, often charges either rental fees or purchase fees for the cameras and their installation. The cities also pay all fees associated with maintenance, electricity to operate them, upgrades, etc. I believe (but am not 100 percent sure) that Arnold actually is paying off the cameras and equipment totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. So whatever revenue is generated might be lost on the equipment, at least in the first few years. Then it will probably be time to upgrade!
Another factor to look at is MoDOT's involvement, and its unwillingness to cooperate with fixing red lights, timing issues, etc. — until it was offered a share of the profits earned from cameras on MoDOT highways. This is a pretty big money grab by many cities in Missouri, thanks to Arnold's willingness to be the guinea pig. Thanks for taking time to highlight the issue again and again. Without someone daring to expose the negatives, the poor would be most likely be incurring the biggest percentage of this money grab (as they do with tobacco taxes.)
Stage, March 13, 2008
Adam Ribs Dennis
...with shots heard 'round the RFT: I write to take issue with two points in Dennis Brown's review of Assassins, "Shot in the Arms," which I agree is one of the most interesting works in the Sondheim canon. First, I disagree with Dennis Brown's contention that Assassins is one of his "least staged musicals." Frankly, I have seen it twice in Chicago alone in the past three years.
Second, and more substantively, I also disagree with Dennis Brown's comparison of "How I Saved Roosevelt," from Assassins, with "Someone in a Tree," from Pacific Overtures. While it is true that each of those songs involves people singing about historical events, the point of "How I Saved Roosevelt" is to criticize the public's approach to historical events (turning them into spectacles that are worth "every penny that we spent"). In contrast, "Someone in a Tree" discusses historical "fact" being a creation of the memories of the various chroniclers/witnesses and the varied perspectives and filters they each have in shaping how those events are remembered by each of those people and, in turn, through the present day by the public in general.
Adam Levitt, Chicago
In Paul Friswold's Night and Day piece, "Aim High, Americans," we failed to credit the photo of the Assassins cast to its photographer, Michael C. Daft.