Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is removing some of the money-making traffic cameras from the city’s intersections. But, as David Kidwell of the Chicago Tribune writes, the mayor has:
… denied the moves were designed to help him in his intensifying election battle with challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
So it is purest coincidence that:
The announcement comes just days after Garcia, who faces Emanuel in the April 7 runoff election, promised an end to the program altogether, calling it Emanuel's “red light rip-off.”
The cameras have long been unpopular and the claims for their utility as safety devices were pretty thoroughly debunked when a:
… scientific study of the program concluded that the cameras offered no benefit at those intersections. The report also suggested those intersections might even be more dangerous because of an increase in rear-end crashes attributed to the cameras.
The cameras are, however, great at raising revenue from the helpless Chicago citizens they routinely entrap, with a recent Tribune investigation revealing that:
... Emanuel's administration quietly lowered the threshold for issuing red light tickets last year, tagging drivers for an additional 77,000 citations despite the fact that yellow light times in those cases were below the federal minimum of 3 seconds. Emanuel suspended that practice following Tribune inquiries but declined to refund drivers the nearly $8 million in revenue captured by the six-month change in ticketing standards.
But installing the cameras was not about confiscating money; nor was taking them down about politics.
Legendary investor Warren Buffett was asked this morning in an interview whether he'd still bet money on Hillary Clinton being the next president of the United States. Yes, he said, he still think it's "very likely" she'll be the next president. But he warned in the CNBC interview: "things could always happen in politics, including illnesses or something of the sort."
Dozing off as we pored through a raft of mostly meaningless polls this week, we were startled awake by one set of findings. The CNN/ORC survey released February 18 was The Weekly Standard’s own little fire bell in the night.
President Obama knocked "constant fundraising" in his State of the Union address delivered tonight from Washington:
I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for – arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.
Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.
Coming on the heels of a spate of revelations regarding corruption in the Israeli government – as well as worrisome signs of dysfunction in Israeli governance, exposed during last summer’s unresolved campaign against Hamas – the Israeli public was shocked again recently by yet more revelations of pervasive corruption in high places. Now a dark cloud on the political horizon, corruption (as well as its neglect by the authorities) shows signs of developing into a major political storm.