On traffic cameras, relief or retreat?

October 17, 2012

This speed camera on Interstate 395 is among the city’s most reviled. (Daniel Britt/The Washington Post)

Some D.C. Council members want to give drivers some relief from camera-enforced tickets, but do they deserve it? A bill introduced Tuesday by Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) would reduce the fine for going up to 20 mph over the limit and some other offenses from $150 to $50. Under their bill, no fines would be assessed until 30 days after the first violation, and the city would have to spend 50 percent of the revenue on improving traffic safety — including further expansions of the camera system. Wells explained to the Post’s Nikita Stewart: “Our budget was balanced on speed cameras. … That’s what this is really about, restoring public trust.” But regardless of how the budget is balanced, it has to be balanced, so how to fill the gap that would be created by cutting into the $60 million in annual camera enforcement revenue? To be determined. More from ExaminerDCistWaTimes and Greater Greater Washington.

In other news:

In unanimous vote, council votes to force more transparency in OCFO audits (PostExaminerWaTimes)

Wal-Mart foes’ last-ditch appeal is rejected by zoning board (WBJExaminer)

Harry Jaffe: David Grosso is “the best candidate in a field of seven” for at-large council member (Examiner)

Davey Johnson: “Is there some unfinished business? Yeah, there’s some unfinished business.” (Nationals Journal)

Ousted MWAA board member Dennis Martire speaks: “We became a political punching bag” (PostWRC-TV)

Time for some prosecutorial closure, says Tom Sherwood: “[T]he city doesn’t have an ethical wet blanket hanging over us — it has a wet mattress.” (WRC-TV)

New ethics board will probe Jim Graham contract steering allegations (PostExaminer)

The last time Graham was in hot water, the council punted (Loose Lips)

Eleanor Holmes Norton had some interesting debate tweets Tuesday night (HuffPoThe Hill)

Former Wilson High aide accused of sleeping with student (WUSA-TV)

Gallaudet administrator suspended over gay marriage referendum signature speaks: “I am pro-democracy,” not anti-gay. (PostWJLA-TV)

Ex-fire chief admits communications were botched after 2009 Red Line crash thanks to Adrian Fenty’s need to appear in charge (STATter 911)

Now Uber’s got regulatory problems in New York (HuffPoDCist)

Park Police are trying to track down Logan Circle idiot driver (DCist)

Authorities responded to what turned out to be a “practical joke gone awry” at St. John’s College High (WAMU-FM)

Unanswered questions about DCPS “blended learning” pilot program (D.C. Schools Insider)

Police say man was shot from motorcycle in Washington Highlands (Crime Scene)

For H Street, now an upscale cheesesteakery and a Manny & Olga’s (All We Can EatPoP)

Law firms’ manifest destiny: Go east! (Legal TimesWBJ)

Washington Harbour skating rink will open soon (Current via Dish)

How the city’s retail grants for H Street NE make a difference (The Hill Is Home)

Tuesday suicide at Farragut North is first since Metro awareness campaign (Examiner)

You could have been a panda ambassador (Post)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | October 16, 2012