The Washington Times Editorial Board seems to be made up of fast driving, climate change denying, anti-democracy residents of Virginia and Maryland or so it seems based on this horrendous Editorial they published last week: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/9/washingtons-camera-craze/
As a bike riding, climate change believing, pro-democracy and pro-Statehood lifelong resident of the District of Columbia I found this editorial to strike multiple nerves all at once. First, speed cameras catch people who are speeding. If someone is not speeding the camera won’t take a picture because you’re not breaking a law and don’t deserve the ticket (as a liberal I must concede that these cameras don’t always function properly and might give faulty tickets or enforcing agencies don’t issue tickets properly but in general they work). So why should a law and order conservative rag like the Washington Times be against actual law enforcement? Oh, maybe because one of their editors while high-tailing it out of the city filled with bicycling and walking liberals, got a ticket for speeding from one of these cameras. If you don’t break the speed limit, Mr. & Ms. Editors, you won’t get a ticket.
The second thing that raises my Irish in this Editorial is that the paper basically calls us “uppity” by saying “the District must now think it’s untouchable.” Simply because we’re installing more speed camera doesn’t mean we’re getting too big for our britches, it means we’re trying to fulfill our obligations as a local government to keep safe roads and yes, to raise revenue by doing it. No one is writing editorials about Virginia State Troopers lined up on I-95 or I-81 on holiday weekends or the first weekend back to school (as a Virginia Tech grad I know the routine on I-81 in August). Of course they are trying to keep traffic moving at safe speeds but they too are raising revenues, just like our speed cameras. We don’t think we’re untouchable, but if we were a state we would be…so piss off, Washington Times!
The third major transgression in this horrible editorial is it criticizes Council Member Mary Cheh for allowing members of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council and the DC Bicycle Council for being part of a Task Force assembled to determine whether or not speeding fines should be lowered. I’m assuming if the Task Force was made up of motor vehicle commuters from Virginia and Maryland the Washington Times would have remained silent on this Task Force. Instead because walkers and bikers are on it they jump to the conclusion that they hate cars. As a walker, biker, and yes owner of two cars I can say unequivocally that all bikers don’t hate motorists (many of them are motorists) and the same goes for pedestrians. In fact, I think it’s great that Mary Cheh included those folks on the Task Force because they provide a different perspective on how speeding can adversely affect other users of our roadways, bikers and walkers. Mary Cheh is getting all perspectives to an issue, a noble trait by a legislator, so maybe the speedy Washington Times should slow down and draft more thoughtful analyses in the future.
And last but not least, their call to have Congress intervene and remove the cameras is a similar colonial call to Jonetta Rose Barras asking Congress to remove the Mayor. Come on people, come on Washington Times! We have a right to self-governance, a right to Home Rule and ultimately a right to Statehood! Asking Congress to intervene on speed cameras is the biggest call your mommy moment of the year! Congress should not and will not intervene on this matter. They have wars and a struggling economy to worry about (although they don’t). If the Washington Times wants to speed there are race courses around the area but the roadways of the District are and should remain open and safe to bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians, from DC, Maryland, and Virginia who both love and support preserving, protecting, and EXPANDING American democracy.
I can’t wait until the State of New Columbia sends Reverend Moon a speeding ticket! It will be as sweet as making Steny Hoyer pay a commuter tax!