I’ve actually started listening to NPR on the drive to/from work, simply because I wanted to get caught up more on news. This morning, while listening to KUHF news, I heard a piece that frankly made me boggle.
A local political action committee says it now has proof Houstonians are in favor of having red light cameras at intersections. A survey paid for by the group “Keep Houston Safe” shows a majority of Houstonians are in favor of the cameras. Bill Stamps has more.
The survey finds that sixty-five percent of highly likely voters support the use of cameras at Houston intersections. Whether or not that number would be different if it included people who weren’t likely to vote is unknown. Regardless, Mayor Parker remains a strong supporter of the cameras.
“Our Houston Police Department is very much in support of it. We see the red light cameras as a force multiplier that allows us to keep our streets safer and allows us to deploy our police officers into other areas.”
Chris Begala represents Keep Houston Safe, the group that paid for the survey. He says the survey shows there’s widespread support for the cameras.
“Sixty-five percent of whites, sixty-seven percent of Hispanics, sixty-percent of African Americans support these intersection safety cameras — conservatives, liberals, across the board. People want to drive in a safe community and these intersection safety cameras make Houston safer.”
Civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen doesn’t buy it. Since the survey was paid for by a pro-red light camera group. He believes they got exactly what they paid for.
I’ve got two different takes on this whole mess.
- Considering this is from a “pro-red light camera group”, I’m reminded of when I read on Roger Ebert’s site about when movie theater chains claimed most people didn’t mind ads before movies, yet everyone Roger and the question submitter knew absolutely hated them. (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t detest them either.) The KUHF article also points out that when the public is given an option, they vote down the cameras.
- They claim that it makes streets safer, yet the evidence shows that red light cameras actually increase the number of accidents at intersections.
In the end, I’m getting the definite feeling that this is more about astroturfing. The red light cameras do not increase safety; they increase revenue for the city. So, this PAC is trying to make it look like the rest of the public supports the cameras… when their study is questionable and is not supported by evidence. We’ll see what happens, but obviously I’m calling “unbelievable bullshit” on this one.