By Paul Henry ~ RetiredPublicSafety.com
Here is Sgt. Joe Friday again. Joe worked when lawmen wanted just the facts, not just the dollars. Contrast Joe’s famous line (that he apparently never said in so many words) with that of another former lawman at the end of this posting. Click the links for the documentation of my allegations and decide for yourself.
Yesterday, automated for-profit device vendor ATS via their front group the National Coalition for Safe Roads (which is really more accurately described as Need Cash for Selfish Reasons) sent out a news release mentioned in this news story that talked of myths and facts for automated for-profit law enforcement. Seeing as how I have some experience and knowledge on the subject, I thought I’d weigh in with some facts based on my law enforcement, research, and legislative experience.
The below facts are from my 25 years of Florida police experience, to include time spent as a trooper, traffic homicide investigator, and line supervisor as well as personal research using government and published data, and my experience opposing the devices in the Florida legislature.
The NCSR is a front group for the for-profit device vendor ATS. All references herein to ATS apply to their front group NCSR.
The recent Tampa Bay story is not mentioned in the ATS response, one from some time ago in Orlando is. The reporter in Tampa, Noah Pransky, found shortened times to be due to DOT guidelines. That is not addressed in the ATS response.
Speaking of the DOT:
In several cities where I pulled state DOT traffic crash data, there was no significant reduction in actual red light violation (RLV, not “related”) crashes- these are crashes caused by red light running. Some intersections saw a slight decrease, some saw a slight increase, and some stayed the same. The automated for-profit devices are installed to reduce red light running. They are not installed to reduce rear end or failure to yield (angle or “T-bone”) crashes. Judging their effectiveness using rear end and angle crashes is an invalid means. The devices are ineffective for safety. Pay attention, you’ll see this again.
In the 2012 State undocumented survey of local governments using automated for-profit enforcement, between 20 and 30 percent of them failed to furnish any crash data at all, even though the same device law that generates revenue for them requires them to do so. What are these local governments hiding? Could it be that the devices are ineffective for safety?
In this same undocumented survey, the RLV crashes were not mentioned. What is being hidden? Could it be that the devices are ineffective for safety?
There continue to be new videos of RLV crashes posted by ATS on YouTube at intersections- captured by the very devices placed there to prevent this type of crash. The devices are ineffective for safety.
No city in Florida using automated for-profit law enforcement will tell the public how many RLV crashes they had at device intersections for equal periods of time before and after the use of automated for-profit enforcement. Many will tell how many dollars they are making or provide crash numbers such as “a lot” (Longwood Police Chief Troy Hickson, May 9, 2013 WFTV).
Speaking of revenue:
In a May 10, 2013 news story, WEAR-TV documented that as of 2011 25 cities in Florida were using automated for-profit law enforcement, which raised $19 million in revenue to the state. As of 2013, the numbers were 70+ cities and $84 million to the state. The number of cities increased by 280%. The revenue increased by 442%. If the devices were effective, the revenue as a percentage would have remained the same as the city/user growth or been reduced. The devices are ineffective for safety.
The above information was translated into graphs for an easier means of visualizing the data. The first graph gives the actual numbers, while the second shows how much revenue should have come in if the devices were effective as compared to what actually came in.
According to state campaign finance records, ATS contributed over $440,000 (click for Excel spreadsheet summary) to Florida politicians and political groups from 2008-2012.
Automated for-profit law enforcement is a bad idea, and it breeds corruption. The trail begins at city hall and goes to Tallahassee.
“In the future, there is significant revenue to be generated by this venture”- Former Gulf Breeze, FL Police Chief Peter Paulding, who now makes $2,000/month in retirement thanks to an automated for-profit device program he used his official position to implement.
By Andrew Nappi, Alex Snitker and Danielle Alexandre
Some Pasco County Commissioners made their opposition to the Bill of Rights known on March 19th as they voted “no” on a resolution reaffirming those rights on the county level. It was a heated debate, as one commissioner threw a tantrum about an issue with gun rights.
Pat Mulieri, as earlier reported, made a scene in the otherwise quiet commission chambers, as she dribbled on about wanting to make sure gun owners would be required to have a background check in all gun sales or as she put it “closing the gun show loophole.” She made a spectacle of a non-issue as the resolution put forth would not have prevented the county commission in any way to make such ordinances. Now, as reports of a verdict against Pasco County come to light, we have to ask the question if gun rights were really the cause of Ms. Mulieri’s disgraceful outburst.
We have uncovered evidence that Pasco County has a history of infringing on the Constitutional rights of the people. In fact, as Ms. Mulieri was flailing around a commission meeting, responding inappropriately to a simple resolution, a judge was deciding if Pasco County was involved in the seizure of property by way of governmental force and coercion.
Of course, it stands to reason that Ms. Mulieri was fully aware of the judicial review of county procedures going on. This had been a battle going on for quiet some time and with the verdict coming so quickly after this outburst it stands to reason that the commission had many briefings on the court case. To think otherwise would be saying that Ms. Mulieri is either completely incompetent as a county commissioner or one of the most ignorant commissioners (and former educator) ever seated in our county.
It seems that in 2005, Pasco County made an ordinance which stated the county could “buy” the property of a landowner for an area that would be needed for transportation improvements (in accordance to the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution), if that land had no development plans. What it also stated was that land with development plans could have their zoning permits held “hostage” until the time that the developer or land owner “dedicate” the land needed for transportation improvements back to the county.
This would mean that a land owner who had plans to develop their own land would have to give Pasco County the land needed for transportation without any compensation for that land. If they did not comply with this “gift” than they would not receive their permits, thus making their land and their plans for such land useless. This would be in direct violation of our 5th Amendment rights.
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.“
The court hearing this case came to the same conclusion when Hillcrest Property, LLC brought a suit against Pasco County for doing this exact thing to their company when it came to an expansion on State Road 52. The developer could ask permission to use the land given back to the county as a bribe for their permit, as long as that use was temporary and removed when Pasco County was ready to use the land.
In the 52 page document outlying the courts ruling on the issue it states:
“Instead of proceeding through eminent domain, in which the government proves a public need and a disinterested fact-finder determines “just compensation,” the Ordinance requires Pasco County to prove nothing and empowers Pasco County to determine the “just compensation,” if any, Pasco County will pay.”
Luckily for the people in Pasco, Hillcrest Property, LLC had the motive and means to fight this ordinance but how many private citizens have fallen prey to our counties “land grab” regulations with no means to fight. What other violations of our rights are buried in the ominous county ordinance books?
In March, as Pat Mulieri, Kathryn Starkey and Ted Schrader all voted “no” to a resolution reaffirming our Bill of Rights, it has to be questioned just what their motivation was. This was such a small and mainly ceremonial resolution.
Is it the outpouring for public safety, as Ms. Mulieri so emphatically stated, or was it the fact that they all knew they were violating the Bill of Rights already and used an emotionally charged tragedy to cover for the lack of concern with our Constitution? We can never say for sure but the facts are starting to point to the latter.
By Tom Rhodes, 4/15/2013
If the Nanny state has its way, we’ll all be sleeping on the ground on grass mats. No product is safe enough, perfect enough, or good enough. This week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned consumers to stop using 73,000 more – specifically, drop-side cribs made by a company called PT Domusindo Perdana These cribs aren’t exploding, don’t spontaneously roll over, and in fact have a perfect safety record. Repeat there has been none, nada, zilch, zip, nil, ZERO, not any injuries or deaths to infants or anybody else using them. Yet the government is warning everybody to stop using them and forcing the company to recall them.
There were three reported incidents where the drop side rails didn’t function properly, no report of how or what the malfunctions were and, let me repeat, zero injuries. Se we have a product with 3 complaints out of 73,000 sold, a perfect injury free record for over 20 years, and our government is telling us it’s not “safe.”
It is this type of oblivious government nannyism that is and will continue to erode the trust the people have in their government. Why should we trust any of their safety notices when they have proven to be demonstrably false. This is just another example of Too Much Government. The reason why a crib costs about $200 instead of $75 isn’t when the cost to manufacture it is somewhere in the $30 range isn’t because of greedy capitalists. The reason we pay 3 to 4 times what we should, and what people in other country spay for similar products is our government. When a company can be forced to recall products produced and sold over 20 years ago, that have a perfect safety record, those costs have to be incorporated into everything they sell.
Our laws protect big companies like GE, GM, and Monsanto small manufacturers can’t afford big dollar lobbyists and huge donations to politicians, and actions like this one make manufacturing in the USA almost impossible. You’d have to be an idiot to keep your manufacturing in the USA, to protect your assets from absurd regulations and law suits by our government smart companies keep small shell companies to resell their product in the USA, but their assets overseas where the US government has minimal access.
This is government run amok. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, at one time existed for valid reasons, to protect people from products sold as safe but in actually where unsafe. Their job is to look for danger, but they have become ridiculous. Recalling a product that sold tens of thousands of units from 1991 to 2008 with a spotless safety record and a mere three complaints is not protecting the public. When a perfect safety record is not safe enough, what is safe enough?
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” Calvin Coolidge
We now have three weeks left of this year’s regular session in Tallahassee and the various committees are wrapping up this week. After this week, the legislature will only be considering bills that have passed their committee stops and are ready for debate and a full floor vote. As usual there are many bad bills being considered and maybe just a few decent ones. At this point we need to take President Calvin Coolidge’s advice and focus on killing bad bills.
SB1666 “Mortgage (Unfair) Foreclosures” (OPPOSE)
Senator Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, filed SB1666 that would expedite the Foreclosure process in our courts, which would deprive property owners the time needed to gather evidence in their defense. This legislation would violate citizen’s right to due process guaranteed in the 5th and 14th Amendment in the US Constitution. Due process guarantees fundamental fairness and acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty and property. With lenders being investigated for possible mortgage fraud, now is not the time to fast track the foreclosure process and violate citizen’s right to due process.
CS/SB1666 Mortgage Foreclosure is On Senate Judiciary Committee agenda for next Monday (April 15) beginning at 1:00PM. Be sure to call the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee first thing Monday morning.Tell them to vote NO on SB1666, this bill violates our right to due process and allows fraudulent activity by lenders.
Click here for the list of the Senate Judiciary Committee members. Then click on each member for contact information.
SB878/HB7027 “Education Accountability” (OPPOSE)
SB878 and HB7027 are education bills for the purpose of implementing Common Core standards. The most disturbing part of these bills is the K-20 Data Warehouse, a national database of your child’s personal and private data that will follow them not only throughout their academic careers, but throughout their work lives as well. The national database will include private information, including religious affiliation, parent’s voter registration, and creates a psychological profile as well as personal health records.
Unfortunately SB878 passed the Senate last week 39-0 and now is headed to the House. HB7027 is the House version of SB878 and is equally dangerous. The House will be voting on these bills and we need to stop the Representatives of passing either of these bills. When you call legislators, they may try to tell you that these bills do not mandate a database, they are either ignorant or lying. Ask them to go to lines 114-115 of SB878 and lines 82-85 of HB7027:
(f) To promote adoption of a common set of data elements identified by the National Center for Education Statistics to support the effective exchange of data within and across states.
Also, please take a minute and read Dr. Karen Effrem’s analysis of these bills. Dr. Effrem’s analysis will give you quick information that you wil need to speak to legislators.
Call your state Representative and tell them with no uncertain terms that they must vote NO on SB878 and HB7027. Let them know that a yes vote will lose your vote when they are up for election!
By Danielle Alexandre
On Wednesday, April 10th, Governor Rick Scott put the final nail in the internet sweepstakes cafe coffin by signing HB155 into law. This bill immediately outlaws the “slot-machine like” video games that have opened up around the state in internet cafes. With that, senior citizens across the state have lost their favorite past time and their place to socialize as middle class families loose their income.
At a time in our state where jobs are desperately needed, the Governor, as well as the legislature, has decided to close down a thriving industry. They also unilaterally decided that they know better where you should spend your money than you do.
These sweepstakes internet cafe’s have been a popular recreation activity for many seniors around the state, as well as a place to socialize with friends and neighbors. In fact, many of them made the trip to Tallahassee to have their voices be heard and stop the ban. They were ignored. Apparently working your whole life to enjoy your retirement means you have not learned how to properly spend your money and it must be watched and regulated.
These cafes have also provided countless jobs in a struggling economy and made small business owners out of many middle class families. Now they will be vacant storefronts and more people will be joining the already anemic search for work.
This attack on gambling establishments does nothing to end gambling within the State of Florida, it just provides gambling be in the form that best profits the politicians. Indian Casinos will still be spread throughout the state, with one of the most powerful lobbying groups still holding enormous influence over our legislature. The biggest state sponsored gambling, the Florida Lottery, is still running multiple times per week.
This was in no way a bill to protect the people from the harms of gambling. That is still your choice, although you now have less places to choose it. This was a bill designed to stop you from using a gambling service that competes with the government. We mustn’t enjoy ourselves until our politicians get their cut.
By Tom Rhodes, 4/12/2013
Barack Obama demanded a “national conversation” about gun control. What he didn’t demand was an “honest” conversation about gun control. The reason he left off the word “honest” is because he has proven again and again to use lies to promote his irrational hatred for those who would be self reliant and not depend on the largess of government for protection.
Lets start with the Fast and Furious lie that 90% of the guns recovered in Mexico were from US gun dealers. In sworn testimony before congress, Bill McMahon, deputy assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, swore that only eight percent of the arms recovered in Mexico were from licensed gun dealers, noting: Of the 100,000 weapons recovered by Mexican authorities, only 18,000 were determined to have been manufactured, sold, or imported from the United States, and of those 18,000, just 7,900 came from sales by licensed gun dealers. Considering 2500 were known to have been smuggled into Mexico by the Obama administration as part of Fast and Furious it’s clear the 90% number was a known lie propagated by Obama and company.
Now the more recent 40% lie. Obama claimed that 40 percent of the gun purchases in the nation are conducted without a background check. It is another outright knowing lie. The Statistics he used were not only 20 years out of date but included all transfers not purchases. The survey he used was started before the Brady Bill became law and background checks were required. Even the generally supportive of Obama, Washington Post < a href=http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/obamas-continued-use-of-the-claim-that-40-percent-of-gun-sales-lack-background-checks/2013/04/01/002e06ce-9b0f-11e2-a941-a19bce7af755_blog.html>had to report on this lie, giving Obama three Pinocchio’s .
There are two key problems with the president’s use of this statistic: The numbers are about two decades old, yet he acts as if they are fresh, and he refers to “purchases” or “sales” when in fact the original report concerned “gun acquisitions” and “transactions.” Those are much broader categories of data.
As we noted before, the White House said the figure comes from a 1997 Institute of Justice report, written by Philip Cook of Duke University and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago.
This study was based on data collected from a survey in 1994, the same year that the Brady Act requirements for background checks came into effect. In fact, the questions concerned purchases in 1993 and 1994, and the Brady Act went into effect in early 1994 – meaning that some, if not many, of the guns were bought in a pre-Brady environment.
Digging deeper, we found that the survey sample was just 251 people. (The survey was done by telephone, using a random-digit-dial method, with a response rate of 50 percent.) With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus six percentage points.
. . . .
The Police Foundation report did not break out gun purchases, so in January we asked Ludwig to rerun the data, just looking at guns purchased in the secondary market. The result, depending on the definition, was 14 percent to 22 percent. That’s at least half the percentage repeatedly cited by Obama. (In a recent article for National Review, Cook and Ludwig wrote “we don’t know the current percentage – nor does anyone else.” But they say if the percentage is lower it actually strengthens the case for expanding background checks because it would be less expensive to implement.) Since our initial report on this statistic appeared, The Washington Post in February included a question on background checks on a survey of Maryland residents, asking whether they went through a background check during a gun purchase in the past 10 years. The result? Twenty-one percent say they did not.
Coincidentally or not, 21 percent falls within the 14-to-22 percent range for gun purchases without background checks in the 1994 survey.
So Obama wants a national conversation, but his actions clearly dictate he wants the conversation not to be based on logic, reason, and practical solutions. His actions clearly demonstrate he wants the conversation to be one sided, based on lies and emotional rhetoric to the exclusion of truth and substantial debate.
When the President has deliberately chosen to distort facts, and lie to the people to promote and instill further restrictions on fundamental rights he has in fact destroyed the ability of “moderates” to effect any meaningful discussion much less change. The clear exposure even by liberal supportive media, of the lies and distortions by the government make any honest debate impossible. Obama’s brief 5 years in office is so filled with clearly demonstrated lies and deceptions that no rational person could reasonably consider the arguments he or his representatives present on any topic as truthful or trustworthy. Not just on Gun Control but on oil, healthcare, immigration, spending, in fact virtually every major issue, the default position of the Obama and his Whitehouse is to lie, and distort the facts. The reason compromise is so difficult with Obama, is because he and the entire Democrat party have proven that they are not trustworthy.
Having been caught in multiple lies, especially concerning gun control, how can anybody reasonably work with the Democrats in an honest conversation?
By Jacob Sullum ~ NYPost.com
‘This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence,” President Obama declared Monday, promoting his “common-sense gun safety reforms” in a speech at the University of Hartford, where the audience included parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December. “This is not about politics.”
Unless you disagree with him. “There is only one thing that can stand in the way of change,” Obama said, “and that’s politics in Washington.” Members of Congress have a simple choice to make, he explained: “What’s more important to you — our children, or an A grade from the gun lobby?”
This crass attempt at moral intimidation, contrasting Obama’s benevolent motives with his opponents’ child-endangering partisanship, is the essence of his case for new gun restrictions, which relies on emotional manipulation rather than logical argument.
Two days after the Sandy Hook attack, at a memorial service for the 20 children and six adults killed by Adam Lanza, Obama said people who don’t support his gun control agenda are in effect saying “we’re powerless in the face of such carnage” because “the politics are too hard.”
Since then, he has repeatedly cited the Newtown massacre as a reason to enact the same gun controls he has always supported — including “universal background checks,” a renewed “assault weapon” ban and a 10-round limit on magazines — even though these policies could not possibly have prevented that horrific attack. He calls this “common sense.”
Obama cites the careless, confusing gun-control bills hastily enacted in New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland as models for Congress.“We can’t stand by and keep letting these tragedies happen,” he said on Monday, as if strong resolve is all that’s needed to stop mass shootings. “If there is just one thing we can do to keep one father from having to bury his child, isn’t that worth fighting for?”
Contrary to Obama’s implication, the question is not whether preventing the murder of children is desirable, but whether the policies he supports would do that.
Instead of explaining, for example, how background checks can thwart mass killers, who typically don’t have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records and who in any event can use guns purchased by someone else (as Lanza did), Obama simply assumes his plan will work and insinuates that anyone who opposes it does not care about children as much as he does.
Even as he claims to be troubled by a lack of empathy in the gun-control debate, Obama refuses to entertain the possibility that his opponents, like him, are doing what they believe to be right.
On Monday, he described them as “powerful interests that are very good at confusing the subject, that are good at amplifying conflict and extremes, that are good at drowning out rational debate, good at ginning up irrational fears.”
This from a man who says mass shootings, which remain thankfully rare, are becoming “routine”; who falsely asserts that Lanza used a “fully automatic weapon” and habitually conflates military-style semi-automatics with machine guns; and who claims background checks have “prevented more than 2 million dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun” — when in fact we don’t know how many of those people were actually dangerous or how many were actually prevented from obtaining firearms.
Obama’s idea of “rational debate” involves trotting out grieving parents and presenting their pain as if it were an argument.
‘‘There are good people on both sides of this thing,” Obama said in Denver last week, “but we have to be able to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.” He worried that “both sides of the debate sometimes don’t listen to each other” and wondered, “How do you build trust?”
Here’s one way: Stop trying to claim the moral high ground by clambering onto the bloody corpses of children.