Aug 16

Red Light Cameras: Ok, we’re shutting them off again…

Update 2: (August 19th, 11pm):

As expected, Council Member Lovell blocked the repeal bill from being voted on.  Since the procedural delay is a one-time option, both items will face a vote on Wednesday.

Update (August 17th, 7pm):

Council Member Sue Lovell used a procedural maneuver to delay the vote on shutting the cameras off.  It is expected she will do the same to the repeal bill at the special session Friday.  This would put both items back on the agenda next Wednesday.

Original Post:

News broke over the weekend that Houston Mayor Annise Parker had placed an agenda item on this Wednesday’s council meeting related to the red light cameras.

Red Light CameraThis is after a packed public speakers session last Tuesday in the council chambers, where citizen after citizen accused her and the council of ignoring the will of the voters by turning them back on.

As the details filled in, it became clear that the issue now facing the council members this week is a vote to shut the cameras off yet again, and “roll the dice” with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) over any termination fees related to the contract.

Today, Mayor Parker issued a call for a special session of the city council this Friday, where she will present an ordinance to repeal authorization of photographic enforcement.  She is pressuring council members to not delay the vote, and get this passed during the special session. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 02

Did someone at the TSA finally wake up?

As readers of this blog know, I have not been a fan of the TSA’s ever-expanding use of questionable technology and procedures to try to screen out threats to the United States’ Air Transportation System.

Transportation Security Officers

As we know, the enhanced scanners and invasive pat-downs have resulted in more complaints than catching people wishing to do harm. Screeners also have a bad habit of “randomly” selecting those who are least likely a threat. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 31

As expected…

The President and Congress has reached a reported deal to raise the debt limit, with some spending reductions over the next decade.

Of course, they promise the cuts, and establishes yet another commission to produce a report (which they have to approve their recommended cuts) before a long-term debt limit increase will go into effect. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 25

How onerous EPA Guidelines to clean up broken fluorescent bulbs are…

Compact Fluorescent Light BulbDo you know what to do when you drop and break a Compact Fluorescent light bulb? The fine folks at the Media Research Center had to find out – by accident:

Video: MRCTV Finds Out How Onerous EPA Guidelines to Clean Up Broken Fluorescent Bulbs Are |

And people wonder why the phasing out of the traditional Edison light bulb is such a bad idea…

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Jul 22

For goodness sakes, it’s a debt limit, not a default…

It seems like every day I turn on the TV and some other talking head from Washington is talking about the impending “default” by not raising the debt ceiling.

To you and me, the debt ceiling is the credit limit on our credit cards.  Once we reach our limit, we have to stop borrowing – we can’t just go like the idiots in Washington and grant ourselves an increase and keep on borrowing.  But those politicians inside the Capitol and White House know what they’re doing, and know when to stop, right? Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 11

Sheila Jackson Lee: Open mouth, insert foot, get sued

Once again, “Queen Sheila” has proved how out of touch she really is.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX18)

This time, a former legislative director, Mona Floyd, is suing the congresswoman, for refusing to recognize and accommodate for a disability in the work environment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 07

Mayor Parker to voters: cameras back on, despite vote

Much as I predicted previously, the mayor has decided to ignore the voters and allow American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to turn the red light cameras back on.

Metro Bus runs a red light

This comes despite the fact that the voters clearly said in November 2010 that they wanted the cameras turned off.  Of course, ATS took days to do so, and was quick to file the federal lawsuit.

Now ATS says they can be back on within hours of the decision, and the city says the tickets will start being mailed as soon as ATS can conclude “testing.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 04

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 01

The INBOX is Full…

Saw this today, and certainly agree with it (Thanks “Weird Al”):

[Hat Tip: This Blog Is Full Of Crap]

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Jun 18

Houston’s Red Light Cameras to start clicking again?

As one of the frequent topics I discuss on this blog, I am not a fan of red light cameras.

Warning Sign for a Red Light CameraContinuing from the story I posted last month, American Traffic Solutions or ATS, filed a federal lawsuit over the charter amendment in the 2010 election that the voters told the city to shut the cameras off.

The city did stop issuing citations, but ATS continued silently collecting observations to use in their court case.  Friday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes invalidated the charter amendment, saying the city at large cannot reverse an ordinance once it has been in effect for more than 30 days (and of course that ordinance was passed clear back in 2004 by then-Mayor Bill “Boss Hogg” White).

The case going to Federal Court versus a state court appears to be a power move, knowing that judges at the Federal Level tend to want to legislate from the bench, since a state court (particularly here in conservative Texas) would have been more in the people’s favor. Read the rest of this entry »

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