2009-08-22 / News

Lighten up: Some suggestions on how Heath should spend fines

By Dawn Weber

Please, Sir, if you're giving me a traffic ticket, give me lights! Give me sirens! Give me rubber necking motorists! I want the whole parade.

Sadly, looks like cameras are spitting out traffic tickets these days, instead of actual, breathing police officers. That fact hit home recently here in Beautiful Downtown Brownsville, where we received a lovely photo of my husband's speeding Ford Taurus from the Heath City Police Department. Yes folks, it's official: Heath's new cash-sucking-stoplights, er, ''traffic enforcement cameras'' have hit the Weber wallet. Hard. To the tune of $100.

It's all good, though. We're not alone. Thousands upon thousands of others received pictures like these in the first few weeks of the cameras' installation. And thousands upon thousands of others will be $100 poorer.

With ten Heath locations - conveniently located to snag you - these cameras snap photos of motorists either allegedly running red lights (Yikes. Don't try that at home!) or cruising faster than the achingly slow 35 m.p.h. limit.

Songster Sammy Hagar says it so well, so I'll say something similar: I can't drive 35. Sue me. I tried to drive 35 the other day. Just to see what it was like. The car doesn't even want to coast that slowly. Instead of giving gas to accelerate, I had to apply brakes to maintain the lethargic pace. Bicycles raced by me. Pedestrians passed, pointed and laughed, and I sprouted two new gray hairs. All before I arrived at Wal-Mart.

OK. I can see why 35 m.p.h. is a safe limit: It's dang near impossible to wreck at that speed. Unless you fall asleep - out of boredom

And now for the standard Public Service Announcement: Safer streets are an honorable and worthwhile goal. We should all obey the (ugh!) 35 m.p.h. speed limit posted by our fine public officials. We darn sure shouldn't race through any red lights.

But please, catch our traffic crimes the old-fashioned way, with a genuine policeman. When I get pulled over by an officer, sure, I'm annoyed. But mostly I feel guilty because I know I was caught, in an honest, honorable way by a well-trained, professional human being. Receiving a computerized photo-ticket of my vehicle in the mail makes me feel violated, betrayed and angry. And we all know just how reliable technology is…

The Big Guy - not a camera - should be the only one watching from above. And I don't mean Big Brother.

Also - one hundred dollars, no matter the magnitude of the camera-violation? Let me say that again, in case you didn't hear: ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Who has an extra $100, especially these days? Not me. I have a spare kidney the City could have... perhaps a spleen. Here - take my car. It doesn't drive 35 m.p.h. anyway..

They say fines from these tickets could soon generate the City more than $800,000 in revenue. I feel so much better. The City of Heath: What a great cause! With its business district, nice streets, smooth sidewalks and awesome parks. Why, it's just screaming for financial help.

And since the money comes from us - the renegade outlaws driving 42 m.p.h. in the 35 m.p.h. zone - I figured maybe the city officials would like a little help deciding what to do with it:

1. Help America with the national debt.

2. Bail out the Big Three.

3. (EDITOR'S NOTE: THE THIRD SUGGESTION HAS BEEN REMOVED. THIS IS A FAMILY PAPER, WEBER! SEE ME IN MY OFFICE.)Dawn Weber is a Brownsville wife and mother of two pre-teens who commutes daily to Columbus for her full-time job.

Return to top